The photographer from West Beverly launched a Go Fund Me campaign June 21 to help pay for framing, printing and other costs associated with unveiling the local project as part of the annual Beverly Art Walk.
"I’m so happy, humbled," the owner of Maplewood Photography said Thursday via email.
He further encouraged donors to continue to support the fundraiser, pledging that additional funds will be given to a women's organization. He has yet to choose the charity.
The "Women of Beverly" project consists of portraits of 35 influential women from the Far Southwest Side. A short video profile of each subject is also included in the project.
The seed for Martirena's project was planted when he began photographing artists from Beverly in their home studios. Many of his subjects are part of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, which coordinates the annual art walk.
From there, the native of Argentina began searching for other influential women from the neighborhood. He relied on nominations from others to cast his subjects.
Thus far, the list includes some familiar faces, including former 19th Ward Ald. Ginger Rugai and state Rep. Fran Hurley (D-35th) along with others such as Audrey Peeples, who was an early advocate for bringing diversity to the neighborhood, Martirena said.
"This is really something that is for the community. It is not for me," said Martirena, who works most weekends photographing weddings and other special events.
He said his project was inspired by the work of Annie Leibovitz. Thus, Martirena worked to perfect the lighting, make up and clothing for each of his subjects. The other elements in the photographs remain the same: including a chair, ladder and apple box.
"I am really proud of the project," Martirena said. "I like the way it turned out."
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