Martha first joined us on a safari to Yosemite. During that time, we knew right away she had a really good eye for composition. Then, during our time in Ireland, we really saw her blossom. It seemed every time we looked at the back of her LCD, we were impressed with what she was capturing. It was during our image review night of Ireland that she showed an image of a road through the lush green landscape that she had worked on with Photoshop instructor Adam Furtado. It was a beautiful composition and we realized right away that she was already understanding not only capturing an image, but finishing it in post-production to make it complete.

Recently, Martha shared a very transparent and from the heart post on her Facebook page with some graphic designed images that caught our attention. Sharing her passion for those affected by what she had seen in war, the tragedy she has witnessed, and how her outlet was coming through photography and creating something beautiful out of tragedy through Photoshop design, was incredibly powerful.

It is fitting that as we close out the month of May with the Memorial Day remembrance, we honor Martha for her service to our country as well as all the Men and Woman who have served out Nation. Thank you Martha and thank you to all those that have given, sacrificed and fought to keep us free.

MPA: Why do you love photography?

MB: I love photography because I have a creative spirit without a lot of creative talent. I’ve explored all sorts of creative outlets – writing, quilting and photography a few. Photography is the one that provides the most satisfaction (at least currently – these things go in cycles) because of the immediacy of the process. I see the beauty around me and want to record it so I can remember what it looked like on days when I’m not feeling particularly creative. I love the editing and post-processing because I can pick out details of photos that my eye may have missed (but I know my spirit was seeing) and enhance those things into a picture that no one else has taken.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA? 

MB: The instructors explain the creative process (camera settings, leading lines, focus, lenses, composition, etc) in a way that is easy to understand and enjoyable. Creativity isn’t all about inspiration; it’s about hard work and practice.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

MB: I’ve only done two so far – Yosemite and Ireland. I learned a lot from each trip, but especially enjoyed Ireland with its friendly people, green landscapes and history. Italy is coming in the fall!

MPA: You aspirations as a photographer / artist?

MB: My aspiration as a photographer is to leave a legacy that others in future years can enjoy, but even more I would like to create a body of work related to my war experiences so that future generations can see, through my art, how horrible war is, but that good can eventually come from it.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

MB: When I came home from my Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, I went through serious depression / PTSD to the point of being suicidal because of the things that I saw and did as an emergency physician over there. Photography has helped me regain my equilibrium and reminded me, through the beauty of his creation, that God has purpose and a plan for me. I am learning to express my emotion through manipulation of some of the photos that I took overseas, blurring the details into works of art.

PS Fractal designed images:

The following excerpt from Martha’s Facebook page is used with permission. It is graphic in content. You may choose to read or not it you prefer. It is however, very powerful and we applaud Martha for taking the steps in her life to deal with what she has done for our country and what she still must go through.


The first pic is a work called, “Medevac” because if you look closely, you can see that the basis of the fractal is a medevac helicopter. Medevac is a military term that means medical evacuation, evacuating injured or ill soldiers (or civilians) from the battlefront to the closest medical facility or from one medical facility to another. This was a mutilple-time-a-day occurrence in Iraq; less frequent but no less intense in Afghanistan. We would be awakened two or three times in the night sometimes by the medevacs landing at the CSH (Combat Support Hospital), and would be summoned to the hospital to stabilize and treat whatever patients were brought in.


The second pic is called, “Mascal” which in military-speak means, “mass casualty incident”, when the hospital would be inundated with multiple casualties at the same time. That could range from 3-5 wounded soldiers (or civilians or Iraqi police) to 25-30 (the most I worked was 26). It is a chaotic scene, with shouting and helicopters and patients screaming or moaning (it’s the ones who didn’t make any noise that we worried the most about). The floors would be slippery with blood; patients were usually horribly injured.

The basis of the second picture is a photo of a critically injured young Iraqi woman whose leg was blown off. The Islamic culture dictates that if a Muslim person dies, he/she must be buried with all if his/her body parts. Consequently, this young lady was brought to the hospital with her blown-off leg tucked onto the stretcher upside down (with the foot at her groin). That image has haunted me for the last 6 years and creating this piece of art is one way of excising it from my brain. Don’t bother to look closely at the second pic; I’ve obliterated all traces of the original photo.