An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Martha Slaven

Artist Statement

I wanted to do a project that encourages myself, my models, and the viewer to think about what it is they do to present themselves to the world.  Intimacy and vulnerability have never been a large part of my life.  I’m always nervous to open up to people.  In my work, I hope to create an opportunity to open up those exposing topics, or at least prompt a form of self-reflection for both those who agreed to participate and those viewing the work.  

I take mostly portraits because I think people are fascinating.  Everyone feels so different from each other.  It goes further than what they look like, its the little motions they make and the different voices they use when talking about different things.  I care deeply about all the people I take portraits of, and I hope that shows in my photographs.  I try to spend enough time on each person for each series that any awkwardness from being in front of the camera goes away, and we can just talk openly.  Which I hope shows some of their personality in the final photo. 

Ophelia Triptych, Pigmented Ink Print, 2019

Anjali, Pigmented Ink Print, 2019

Nina, Pigmented Ink Print, 2020

Tina, Pigmented Ink Print, 2019