Artist: Peter Martens (1937-1992)
Fine art pigment print d.d. 21.07.2015, format 49x40cm, edition 1/30
Peter Martens (1937-1992) was a photographer who portrayed the hypocrisy of life painfully clearly. Wherever he came, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, Calcutta, Kenya or New York, everywhere he recorded individual suffering. The crippled, praying, morally broken or even murdered people he photographed crawl or lie on the ground, but they remain people among fellow humans. They are flanked by those who are still standing upright: policemen, the army or the church, ambiguous figures of power and authority who both support and suppress, dominate and support. What sets itself on Martens’ stage is nothing less than life itself, the struggle with death, the victories and the defeats. The work of Peter Martens occupies a unique place in Dutch photography. In 1969, he became the first photographer in the Netherlands to be admitted to the Fine Art Arrangement. This was not only recognition for his own work but also for the medium of photography as visual art. As one of the few Dutch photographers, Martens was nominated by Magnum for several years and in 1977 and 1979 he won several prizes at World Press Photo. In 1984 he was awarded the Capi-Lux Alblas Prize for his entire oeuvre and in 1988 the Silver Camera Foundation proclaimed him Photojournalist of the Year. He died in 1992.
In 2012 Martens’ work has been exhibited in several exhibitions under the title ‘Mensen van Martens’ (People of Martens). Shortly before his death he produced two workbooks ‘Few Loving Voices’ and ‘American Testimony’, are published in that same year, twenty years after his death.