Mika (Michelle) Martinez
With more than 20 years of experience, Mika is a visual storyteller using media to transform ideas of possibility and foster positive change. As a Queer Chingona and second-generation Mexican American, Mika is passionate about sharing bold and authentic stories that challenge traditional ideas around gender, identity, beauty, and social expectations. Their work aims to inspire a more inclusive world and invites people to see themselves as valued and reflected within it through their collaborative projects. They present a broader narrative of people and ideas that are lacking authentic representation throughout mainstream media.
Mika’s work encourages people to break down the boxes that society often expects people to occupy. Taking on roles of changemaker, educator, and a recorder of history, Mika is part of a vibrant and rich international community of mindful and ethical storytellers working to change the world one story at a time.
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.
“ "Being an artist is a privilege and a responsibility that I take very seriously." ”
Lifetouch School portraits 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.
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we could work together.
Based in Portland, OR
Frequently in the California Bay Area
Frequently in the Chicago, IL Area
Frequently in the Dallas, TX Area
**Will Travel For Collaborations
M.MartinezPhoto - Instagram
MMartinezPhoto - Facebook