Have you ever tried to fit yourself into a box? I bet, despite trying your best to fit you were left feeling uncomfortable. My name is Mika Martinez, and I am a facilitator of memories and a creator of experiences. I’m a visual storyteller using photography to transform ideas of possibility. And truth be told, fitting into a box is something that I’ve never been good at.

I spent years trying to conform to ideas of who I needed to be by shaping my identity to fit the kind of person society found acceptable. I worked so hard to be considered a 'real' photographer', an idea formed from being told that a formal education was the only way to success. I knew that I had to start somewhere so, I began my career as the picture lady for schools. It was an entry level seasonal job that gave me access to learn the fundamentals of photography. From there, I moved on to photographing families at the mall for both Sears & JC Penny portrait studios. I traveled the Pacific Northwest, expanding my knowledge and skills as a photographer through these companies. In 2009 I became a guest on the land of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and started exploring a more collaborative style, before establishing M.Martinez Photo.

The boxes that we’re expected to live in are created in so many ways. One of the most significant, is mainstream social media. It shapes ideas of who we should be, how we should look, and what we should be striving for in life. Without alternative perspectives people get stuck living in boxes that they were never meant for. I believe that being one's authentic self is so much more important than just fitting in. Now, I live my life unapologetically, and embrace the things that were lost or denied to me while fitting into an ill shaped container. I do this by sharing my experiences and supporting others in sharing theirs, together we uplift and encourage more healthy communities. I'm interested in connecting with people who are open to possibility, ideas, and growth in ways society has stifled. Together, by presenting different possibilities we will create a spark for change and break down the boxes intended to contain us.

Mikaela Martinez