Not in Kansas
+September 15, 2019
Vicky Martin (@vickymartinphoto) is an award-winning fine art photographer living in the UK. Vicky’s work investigates identity of the characters she creates. Scenes created are inspired by both reality and fantasy. By setting up visual realities for her characters where their conflict is evident, she explores her own deep interest with identity. “Vicky seeks to encourage the viewer to ask questions of her work to which ultimately the answers depend on the viewer’s own personal identity and perceptions.” Since 2008 her work has been exhibited internationally in the US and around Europe. Vicky is the winner of several prestigious awards including the Professional Fine Art Category at the 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards in 2018 and Finalist at the LensCulture Art Photography Awards in 2019.
The project Not In Kansas was inspired by the character Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Vicky grew up not only a fan of the film, but with an admiration for the pertinacious Dorothy who takes a journey to an unfamiliar place and discovers an unknown strength in herself. Dorothy’s conflict is figuring out a way to get back home to Kansas despite feeling frightened and alone. Vicky creates narratives that are inspired by both truth and fantasy, sharing different scenarios in which her character struggles with conflicting feelings. That visual push-pull of confidence and uncertainty is evident throughout Not In Kansas. The intent is for viewers to interpret their own narrative of this character.
Something that remains constant throughout Not In Kansas are the red shoes worn by the protagonist. These sparkly red heels represent qualities of the character Dorothy. She starts out unsure and fearful or her new surroundings but by the end of the film Dorothy has become empowered and assertive. Each image appears to occur just before or right after some ambiguous instance of conflict. Vicky composes each scene to feel emotional enough that the viewer takes interest in the protagonist’s struggle, allowing them to imagine a further narrative or resolution to the story.
Use of color in Not In Kansas does not go without notice. Contrasting colors add to the emotional uncertainty of the protagonist. There is an image where the protagonist wears a blue feather dress, standing behind a white and red striped curtain. It appears to be a moment where the character pauses and peeks out from behind the curtain, perhaps before a performance of some kind. In a single image Vicky manages to entice the viewer emotionally and engage curiosity to further the narrative of our own accord.