My Other Life with Ali Martin

PM360 recently spoke to Ali Martin, Clinical Specialist and Marketer, Genentech, about her passion for photography that tells a story.


PM360: Ali, I hear that you love photography. How long have you been involved in it and how does it personally fulfill you?

Ali: I’ve been taking photos since I was a child. My first camera was a Polaroid and I got a shot of Tammy Wynette at a performance she did at Knott’s Berry Farm, I think. I’ve been seriously taking pictures for about 15 years. I guess I started right after my mother-in-law gave my husband and me a Canon SLR for a wedding present.

Photography offers the opportunity to truly share how you view the world and is a great creative outlet for me. Being able to show people the world as you see it, as well as see the world how others perceive it, is such an amazing thing.

How has your involvement in photography evolved over the years?

I’ve had the great fortune to be able to share my photographs with more than my family and friends having participated in a couple of shows. I was also the “candid” photographer at my friend’s wedding, which was great fun.

I think the biggest change came a few years ago when I started traveling to New York regularly for work. I started bringing my camera with me, but was overwhelmed by the possibilities. So I gave myself a couple of themes: Look Up, Bicycles and Decay. I was amazed at how much this helped focus my work.

Were you inspired by someone to get involved?

My grandfather was secretly an avid photographer. He worked for the state of California in the ’40s and ’50s building roads. He would take pictures of Southern California before there was extensive development—they were amazing to see. He also took many pictures of my grandmother, who died before I was born. I felt a connection to her through his pictures.

Wow, that must have been such a wonderful experience for you. What kind of photography do you enjoy and what are some of your favorite shots?

I love street photography and lately, I have been totally captivated by the story of Vivian Maier. Personally, I enjoy taking photos that tell a story. Last year, I was in a local art show and the theme I illustrated was called “Beautiful Decay.” It was a collection of 50 photographs of objects that were showing their age—doorjambs with peeling paint, worn shoes and old bicycle seats. I love imagining the history of an object.

Besides photography, what else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my husband and two great kids. Together, we love traveling, being outdoors, camping and sailing. The kids are great travelers, so this summer we are heading to Turkey, Greece and Italy.

What other interests would you still like to pursue at some point?

Before we had kids, my husband and I used to race our Moore 24 sailboat. I’d love to get back to that as soon as the kids are big enough to be crew for us.


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