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"Returning from a shoot, late at night, I came across a nearby beach and was struck by an arrangement of poles in the sand. I didn't know how I wanted to photograph them or what they meant, but I liked the idea that my perception of that space, at the time, seemed to enter a different register. In that place where sea meets land and where both dissipate into nothingness, if felt as though I were having a glimpse of the edge of the universe." —Edgar Martins


And so began Edgar Martins's work on one of his most acclaimed series, The Accidental Theorist, for which he was awarded best fine art photography series at the 2008 New York Photo Festival. Here, long-exposed images of beaches at night challenge the viewer's perceptions.This previously unpublished photograph from the series features artful composition and rigorously controlled framing; Edgar Martins creates sublimely beautiful views of often un-beautiful sites. Minimalist nighttime beach scenes, forests ravaged by drought-fueled fires, and Iceland's stark terrain have all served as subjects for his large-scale color photographs. Certain themes recur throughout Martins's work: a sense of place and a sense of alienation from place, a sense of mystery, and a sense that something unsettling has just happened or is about to happen. As he states, "My work is a journey of recognition: space, as our object of understanding, is changing and because of this one needs to find a new critical language that supports it, and a new system of knowledge from which to derive our glossary of life. In my work there is a permanent ambivalence between poetic failure and the promise of success."


Edgar Martins (born in Portugal, 1977) grew up in Macau, China; he has lived in Eng­land since 1996. His first limited-edition book, Black Holes and Other Inconsistencies, was awarded the Thames and Hudson and RCA Society Art Book Prize; his second, The Diminishing Present, was published in 2006. He is represented by the Photographers’ Gallery, London; Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York; The Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles; and Galeria Graça Brandão, Oporto, and Lisbon, Portugal.

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