Mimi Torchin Photography - Martha's Vineyard and Manhattan

Artist Statement

I live on two islands, the pastoral paradise of Martha’s Vineyard and the man-made steel and concrete wonder that is Manhattan. You could say I have the best of both worlds, and as a photographer, I would have to agree. Although I have taken many more images of the supremely photogenic seas, shores, wildlife, and landscapes of the Vineyard, I’ve also captured some interesting shots of the city, both human and structural. Riverside Park and Central Park, especially during Christo’s monumental exhibit The Gates (in February, 2005), have afforded me some especially wonderful photographic opportunities. I remember as I was madly snapping away at The Gates one sun-kissed winter afternoon, a woman said to me, “You can’t get a bad shot of this.” I feel pretty much the same way about Martha’s Vineyard: Just point and shoot.

Two things that make the Vineyard so magical are its largely unsullied and surprisingly varied natural beauty and its maritime culture, and these are the things I photograph the most on that island. New York City is so much about the millions of people who have come together there from all over the country and the world, its architectural landscapes, and the often-surprising way these two elements combine and sometimes conflict, and in most of my New York photos I concentrate on people and their relationships to the city and each other. You’ll see cityscapes, architectural shots, and some “traditional” landscapes shot in my neighborhood parks, some pictures of "city animals," and some photos of surrounding areas and other boroughs—like Brooklyn’s Coney Island, one of my favorite spots in the city and, sadly, one that is slated to be gentrified and homogenized.

I'm pretty much a homebody, but I do some traveling and, of course, take photos wherever I go. You will find some photos taken in places other than Manhattan and the Vineyard. Already on the site are a few pictures taken in Brandy Station, a tiny hamlet in Virginia that was the location of a famous Civil War battle. I've recently added an entire portfolio of  photos shot  April 2009, in Mexico (the towns of Puebla, Taxco, and Queretero) during Semana Santa (Holy Week). Taxco, in particular, is the staging ground for week-long religious processions of astounding mystery and beauty — featuring statues of Christ, children dressed as angels, barefoot and hooded penitents and worshipers, men carrying bundles of thorns on their bare backs, and other visual wonders  — that wend their way through narrow, winding streets. Over time, I’ll add more travel photos, and images in all the portfolios will be updated and changed periodically.

Although my style is evolving to include more portraits, mostly candid, and shots with a graphic sensibility, landscapes (and seascapes, of course) are my forte and will always be my first love. I’m especially drawn to the often moody, fog-shrouded scenes that are so much a part of life on an island, perhaps because I love mystery and have a strong streak of melancholy. My favorite portraits tell a story or suggest something unknown to the viewer. Children and animals are the exception — their innocence and purity are straightforward and emblematic; they hide nothing.

All the photos are available for purchase. Be sure to check the Process and Printing section (click next to View Cart) for a description of options, including choosing black and white prints of photos that are shown in color.

I'm also happy just to share my pictures with you and hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Please visit often.

Mimi Torchin