Photographer Mark Martelly (left) with Christian Mansana at Photo Caraibes SXM in Marigot. (photo by Robert Luckock)

MARIGOT–Professional photographer Mark Martelly is currently showing an exhibition of some of his stunning landscape photos at Photo Caraïbes SXM, Marigot, through May 1, 2022.

Martelly, graphic designer for The daily Herald, came to Saint-Martin from his native Guyana in 2000. He chose images from his collection for display in collaboration with Christian Mansana, owner of Photo Caraïbes. The images of the exhibition were shot on the French side between 2020 and 2022.

“The French side tends to lend itself better to landscape photography, seascapes, sunrises and sunsets, with so many beautiful locations and a stunning coastline,” says Martelly. “From Cupecoy to Lowlands, Long Bay, Marigot, and all the way to Friar’s Bay and Happy Bay, there are plenty of opportunities for sunset photography.”

Martelly has been a professional photographer for six to ten years, but has been photographing in the field since 2006. This is his first exhibition in Saint-Martin. Photos were taken using a tripod; only one was taken by hand: a black and white image of an elephant’s ear at Pic Paradis.

“At art school I took photography courses and workshops, and in the army in Guyana I had the opportunity to participate in a photo and graphic design course for six months”, says -he. “There is a beauty in doing portraits with humans, but I love landscapes, it’s my passion. It allows you to capture much of what we take for granted. I try to bring out normality in an extraordinary way.

Capturing the perfect shot hasn’t always been easy and has sometimes been preceded by bad luck or an unexpected element of danger. Take, for example, his image of the underside of the old Grand Case pier.

Taken around midnight, subtle strobe lighting effects bathed the image in golden light. But after taking down one of the light fixtures, he was nearly knocked unconscious when a heavy piece of concrete fell from the roof on his head, causing bleeding. “Blood, sweat, but no tears,” he joked of the experience.

On another occasion, preparing to take a picture at sunset, he dropped his camera and broke a lens. Some time later, after buying a new lens, he returned to the same location to take the picture again. It turned out to be one of the best images in the exhibition. “I think I was really rewarded for losing that goal,” he smiled sadly.

Martelly is on 13and photographer to exhibit at Photo Caraïbes SXM. Mansana explained that he invites professional or amateur photographers to exhibit every month and a half, depending on the subject. He will soon invite photographers to present images by country; for example, Cuba, New York, etc.

Martelly’s images are on sale for 149 euros, including the frame. They can also be autographed.

Photo Caraïbes is located at 115 Les Amandiers, Marigot (entrance also via the alley leading to the seafront), tel. (0590) 87.32.98. Opening hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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