I am primarily a documentary photographer, working in the broad field of social and cultural study, with an emphasis on alternative and socially disadvantaged communities and ways of living. Central to my practice are the artistic principals of narrative, emotive resonance and overall aesthetic appeal brought about through the study of light, colour and composition. It is from this place that I produce my work, rather than simply through an intent to document.
And it’s in this way that I have crafted my story on the Femme Fatales of Northbridge. In this body of work I have infused a fictional element into the narrative. For ethical reasons in my previous work I maintained a neutral perspective as a documentarian, but as the subjects in this series have the privilege of choice in their vocation, I have, with their consent, employed the privilege of creativity and fiction in my work.
There is no set up involved. I have simply documented what they do as they do it, but through creative use of available light, composition and editing have created a fictional narrative that draws on the age old idea of the ‘femme fatale’, or fatal female: one who uses her feminine prowess to ensnare and emasculate her male counterpart.
Photography is a passport to other worlds. Being a privileged person, I want to understand the life of those less privileged. Being a female I want to try to understand the lure of a woman from a man’s point of view. Being conservative I want to witness sleaze. It is this desire to dabble in, to experience and try to understand things other than what I know that informs my work.
Whether employed with a social and ethical conscience, as in my journalistic work; or as an indulgence in my own curiosity, as with this work, my camera is my ticket in.
CLAIRE MARTIN began her career by pursuing a degree in social work, however she changed her focus to photography when she realised that change can also be effected through this medium. Her ongoing documentation of marginalised communities within prosperous nations has recently won her the Magnum Foundation 2010 Inge Morath award for female photographers under 30 years of age.
Since beginning her career pursuing personal projects in 2007, Claire has rapidly earned praise for her unique style; gaining support from Getty images as an Emerging Talent in Reportage in 2009 as well as representing Australia’s emerging female photojournalist for FotoFreo in 2010. She has recently joined the renowned Australian documentary photo collective Oculi and her work is distributed through Agency VU in Europe and Redux in the USA.
Claire lives in Perth, Western Australia where she works as a freelance photojournalist and socially concerned documentary artist.