Behind the Martinos’ Lens

Author: Theo Fok Tat

Editor: Saki Arimoto

Translator: Kotoko Fujita

Jaida’s New Beginnings at Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine, Saitama 

Jaida Martino and Austin Martino, our current TIU students, are both talented photographers; born in South Carolina and Hawaii respectively, they have moved across states growing up. The siblings also share a passion for martial arts, but this interview reveals that those might be all that they have in common… 

As a hobby, Jaida had begun with taking candid shots of her friends with a small ¥1,300 camera. Although she might vaguely remember the fun episodes in her life, these snaps allowed Jaida to crystallize and physically store captured memories. They enable Jaida and her friends to reminisce about the meals they have shared and the colourful evenings they have spent together. Jaida also loves to combine her photography skills with her other hobby – travelling – as she has recently begun monetizing her craft in the form of stock photos.

For Austin, he never intended to get into photography and videography, but a chain of events had led him to pick up his first camera, and he explained that he was glad that it happened. Austin enjoys documenting the lifestyles of people; he believes that as social beings, we all have normal struggles and it is important to acknowledge them. As a freelancer, Austin is working on commissions that paint the genuinely of familial and romantic relationships. 

To illustrate some of their motivations, Jaida and Austin shared some interesting stories behind their work.

One morning, as the maternal side of her family was preparing for family portraits, Jaida decided to snap some candid “behind the scene” shots. Her album captured the sincere homely moments as “the girls were fixing their hair and the boys were chattering about something or other.” Jaida wishes that in the future, she and her family can immerse themselves in nostalgia and treasure their bonds as they flip through the album.

To Those Also Looking for Their Passion – one of Austin’s recent videography projects – is a cinematic that follows Ayush and his voyage. The narration captures the university student’s honest endeavors as he continues his journey to discover his way of life. Through this piece, Austin hopes to inspire and convey that there is nothing wrong with being lost in life, and that it is important to face forward and keep going.

Towards the end of our conversation, I asked how they were able to balance the hobby aspect and the work aspect of their crafts. The Martino siblings believe that it is inauspicious to have an employer as an artist, since when a third party regulates your art, it is no longer “your art.” They insist that it is crucial to pursue projects that you enjoy and feel inspired doing. Furthermore, Jaida asserts that “when you define yourself as something you do, then that’s where things get dangerous.” She maintains that although it is difficult to find the balance, take it easy because there is so much more to life than just identifying with one thing.

Indeed, passion and its values are different for different individuals. Especially for Austin, he believes that “nowadays, we tend to just do photography for the colours and Instagram clout, but at the end of the day, photography is really about remembering the moment and the meaning.”

Jaida has been working on product photography. You can find her on Instagram at @jaidakins 

Austin is currently honing his skills as he works with a professional videographer. Visit Austin on Instagram at @auz_martino 

Published by

Theo F.

Fiction writer