A Multimedia Presentation of

MARTY'S EYE by Frank Smyth
I have worked alongside dozens of shooters in all sorts of places for most of my adult life. They each have their own eye and every one focuses differently. Working with Marty in Cuba last year, I often wondered what he was doing. While many photographers shoot their subjects in order to capture a still-frame of drama, Marty focuses on a drama's subtle ironies in order to capture a timelessness that transcends it. This is not the kind of skill that one can easily learn from another. Instead it comes from a silent voice guiding his eye that is self-taught. 

Marty focuses on people --victims-- from Bosnia to Rwanda, from Guatemala to India, from Liberia to Sierra Leone. The scenes are painfully intimate. In the wake of his subjects' individual traumas, Marty manages to break down their defensive walls. The funny thing is he rarely says much to them while he works. Instead he compels them through the unspoken compassion that they see clearly in his eyes. And they speak to us through his. 

-- Frank Smyth,
Writer, www.franksmyth.com

Introduction by Martin Lueders

Through the years, from Bosnia to Rwanda, I've seen, heard and breathed the aftermath of man's brutality. I work primarily in the area of documenting relief efforts and development programs for international charitable organizations in post-conflict situations. Because of the nature of this work, I rarely cross paths with other journalists. I'm generally in one of these places after the "media value" of a genocide, civil war, or famine story has dissipated.

Sometimes things work out, and the bureaucracy is cast aside and by the strength of  people committed to helping, the work of aid is accomplished. Suddenly, you have lives being saved or families returning home.

Knowing what I know today, if I hadn't become so obsessed with features and documentary photography, I'd be running a charity for a children's cause in Africa or India.... and I still might give that a shot. Of all the charities I've worked with, both big and small, I'd say that Scottish International Relief, which is also the smallest one I've worked with, has really gotten it right--  that's to say that they spend very little on administration, they send out a lot of aid and fund a lot of really effective, long-term projects. All this comes from a few people who get contributions from Scots, many of whom live in urban areas where unemployment rates reach up to nearly 40%.

For every individual you see, I have images of hundreds more. For every victim around the world that gets any attention whatsoever, there are millions more who never get noticed. The flipside to cruelty is compassion. My experience is that it (compassion) can thrive in the most horrific conditions. 

My heroes include people who rise to the challenge of helping others. Many of them are the family or friends of victims. Others try to improve the lives of people they have never met. They are out there by the thousands in places like Africa, Central America, South Asia, the Balkans, Washington, DC.
These photographs are dedicated to Jen, my wife, who for so many years has endured my frequent long-term absences and my occasional, short-term memory lapses.

--Martin Lueders
  January, 2000

Martin Lueders with Captain Gregorio Fuentes, on whom Ernest Hemingway based his story of "The Old Man and the Sea"; in Havana, Cuba.
RealAudio Commentary
by Martin Lueders

How he got started...

From Greenpeace to Bosnia...

Shooting the "Hands" project...

Marty, the ultimate freelancer, describes
working on international documentaries.

Enter "Playing For Keeps"
Enter "Hands"

View Martin Lueders' previous feature:
Hope and Horror in Sierra Leone

Contents Page Editorials The Platypus Links Copyright
Portfolios Camera Corner War Stories  Dirck's Gallery Comments
Issue Archives Columns Forums Mailing List E-mail The DJ
 This site is sponsored and powered by Hewlett Packard