Casanave graduated from the Monterey Institute of International Studies with a degree in Russian Language and Literature and began her working life as a translator in Washington, DC. She began to focus on portraiture and began to teach photography while building on her personal work in Monterey. I mainly looked at two of her series. Kitchen Kama Sutra is based off of the the love teachings of the kama sutra. It displays shameless black and white sex scenes in the background and the foreground is composed of a colorful food still life. She represented the shamelessness of sex by comparing and contrasting it with the food in regards to appetite and nourishment. I think the compositions of her subjects interest me the most in her use of muted tones in the back and the juxtaposition of the bright colors in the foreground. Also, the play between movement and still life. However, before reading her notes on the series I interpreted the images as ironic in that the distasteful scenes in the background be further pushed there by the elegance and precise beauty of the foreground. It reminded me of the sculptor Ann Wood who decorates taxidermy in order to comment on the public’s enjoyment of violence and sick sense of entertainment by covering these animals in bright colored frosting and flowers with pools of blood coming out. http://marthacasanave.com/kama.htm
I also really enjoyed her pinhole narratives which she created using a 4x5 camera and addressing women’s experience and memories in our society. I love how she blurs the figures and imagery while keeping some clarity. It gives the photos a ghost like quality to represent an idea , the past, motion, or repetition. The anguish in the second photo and the movement created in the blurring creates a dynamic composition and subject matter.