sunny


It's Always Sunny in Africa, Dakar, 2018


My Name is Martin Dixon and for over forty years I have been making images for corporate, editorial, and advertising clients. During my personal time, I managed to produce five books over twenty years and spanning thirty-two countries.

I came of age in the 1980s. I learned photography by shooting with '4x5' inch sheets of film and black cloths over my head. We learned to meter light by eye, gauging the sun's intensity by instinct. We learned color theory by shooting Kodachrome64, the most unforgiving slide film ever made. And we flipping loved it.

The 'Eighties' were at once exciting and terrifying times. Grafitti artists were handcuffed and sometimes beaten to death. AIDS and HIV become the talk of the day. The Roxy, The Tunnel, and Studio 54 were in full swing. New York City nightlife resembled the cult film, "The Warriors." Note to self, be careful if you "go out to play."

After completing my undergradute degree at The Cooper Union in 1988 and my graduate degree from The University of Michigan in 1991, it was time to step into the light and make my voice heard. My study abroad experience in Paris gave me the travel bug -and I've had this intense fever ever since. Traveling makes us look at things differently. What we think we know is often wrong, or simply not culturally relevant. Have you ever seen someone sweep the desert or mop a pool? I have. In the Gambia I watched a buxom woman lose her wig while diving in the pool. I was going to help her but I needed my more camera. Unfortunately, my disobedient son dove down and retrieved her hair before I could grabb my medium format camera. My wry sense of humor does not shy away from the sillier, or uglier sides of life. Nothing is off-limits, nothing too taboo to discuss and film. Art demands courage.

When I tell people I don't make pretty pictures, I am basicly saying that I don't believe photography was meant to be cute and light-hearted. Certainly I make beautiful images but they pack a punch, and sometimes those punches hurt the soul. You don't need to be Bruce Willis in the 'Sixth Sense' to see dead people. I have lived in various parts of Africa for ten years. You see death. Sometimes you see it often. I have as much respect for Agence France Press and Magnum photographers as I do Demarchelier, Leibowitz, and all the top commercial artists. We don't get to pick where we were born, our parents and siblings, or our complexions and hair. We either learn to become comfortable in our own skins or continue to live a tortured existence.

And so I am pleased to open my archives to you, one and all. My book outtakes and personal have been made available. See the world through my eyes. Step into my shoes and walk a mile with me. You will find that I have a very distinct and unique photographic vision. Do you see what I see? Every week I will add more images to the product pages of this ecommerce shop. (The image watermark comes off when you purchase a print. I have to keep you honest). And my hope is that you will find something you must have. Dixon / Deux Yeux was created because more often than not, when I am not on assignment, I tend to use a Leica rangefinder. And when I began shooting forty-one years ago, it was with an old Leica M3 with the 35mm Summicron bug-eyed attachment over the viewfinder. Looking at me back then one would have thought that I had one eye that was organic and the other mechanical. And I think they were right.

Today's digital prints offer fantastic longevity if properly stored and displayed. The first rule for anyone displaying prints is to ensure the glass you use is to use UV-Filtered glass from a reputable company. The sun's harsh UV rays can reduce and even destroy a beautiful print in a matter of months. Visit any gallery from the Modern in New York to the Tate Modern in London and you will see they display their classic B/W and Color prints in subdued light with adequate ventilation and UV protective glass.

The second rule for any artist selling work is to create demand by being original and inventive. People don't want want everyone else has. Client demand the unique, the sublime, the risky. The photograph 'Death of a Day Worker' is a very powerful and personal image because it happened right before my eyes. A young Ethiopian man, working in the rainy season, slipped from scaffolding three stories up and landed in a mix of wet mud, gravel, and cement run-off. I watched in horror as his friends and co-workers tried in vein to dig him out and resuscitate him. I am not ashamed of making this image. I even shared it with a photographer from the local press, something I never, ever do. I wanted the story told and the working conditions these men endure made known. But business concerns and censhorship laws forced my image to the back page. They ran an alternate image with the body being carried up the hill. The caption read something to the effect of local man carried to hospital by well-wishers. This memory will never leave me. My archives were designed to make some of these memories accessible.

Some clients in the past have told me that the saturation of their prints faded over time. I assured them I was using InkPress's Metallic Satin paper - some of the best paper on the market. When I inquired where they were hanging the prints, it was in full display of open sunlight. They had made no provisions for protecting the images from direct UV. So please, protect your investments.

I strictly use Fed-Ex and DHL carriers because I add some insurance for the prints against damage in transit. The images are gently rolled and placed inside a carton tube with end-caps. Then the tube is placed inside another carton with suitable padding like popcorn, foam, or air bags to minimize movement. Every effort is made to guarantee a safe and timely delivery of your product.

As a small, independent studio, I have limited the print sizes to '12 x 19' on '13 x 19' paper. Some larger landscape photographs have been printed on photographic canvas. They measure roughly '39 inches by 27 inches'. As such, they are priced accordingly and treated with a light UV protective spray. I have added a contact form below for anyone interested to contact me about producing larger files or having the files emailed to a local printer. I will review these requests on an order by order basis. But as I don't want to saturate the market with copies of my work, please understand.

I sign each edition print on the back and incrementally raise the price after every sale. You will receive a signed print out to accompany your purchase with your unique edition number.

I am proud of the many wonderful clients and Art Directors with whom I have worked throughout the years - some for nearly two decades before I found myself living abroad. A partial list includes: The Ford Foundation; United Way of New York; United Way Worldwide; The Commnwealth Fund; Lipman Hearne, PR; Towers Perrin; Rockefeller Bros. Fund; The Carnegie Corporation; Prime Access, McCann Erikson, and Young and Rubicam advertising agencies, UNICEF New York, Ethiopia, and Swaziland; World Food Program, Senegal; European PressPhoto Agency; TrustAfrica; The Francophonie Organization; The King Badouin Foundation; The New York Times and The Village Voice.

My book publications include: 'Brooklyn Kings: New York City's Black Bikers; 'Dakar Noir: Africa in the Black'; 'The Kingdom of Original Man', Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 'Small World'; and 'A Month of Sundays: Easter Photographs 1983-2020'; 'Feeling the Spirit: Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy'; 'The MAAFA Suite: St. Paul Community Baptist Church'

You might say I get around. Cheers, M

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have