The Photographic Journal

Not In Kansas

Essay 537 • Oct 29th 2023

Not In Kansas is a series of constructed narratives, inspired by the tenacious, self-reliant character Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Her particular narrative resonates with me on multiple levels: she exudes strength and independence but, is also vulnerable and willing to accept and admit to experiencing feelings of self-doubt.

Dorothy is not a one-dimensional character, and it is her nuanced personality, created not just in Baum’s original text, but also in her near-mythical status in popular culture, that I seek to explore and convey to the viewer. In particular, her journey of self-discovery overcomes fear and loneliness to become empowered and assertive in a strange land, inspired me to create narratives which blur the boundaries between fantasy and truth, offering scenarios within which the protagonist wrestles with feelings of confidence, determination and boldness but is conflicted with ideas of isolation, detachment and fear.

The series is photographed in a variety of locations and contexts, specifically chosen to explore, illustrate and emphasise a protagonist that struggles to find her ‘home’ not in Oz, but in the equally bewildering and disorientating reality of the modern world.


Vicky Martin is an award-winning British photographer with a background in art and design. She is best known for her conceptual portraits depicting the conflict between themes of fantasy and reality and strength and vulnerability, especially in relation to the female experience.
Her work has been widely published and exhibited nationally and internationally, from Europe to the USA in solo and group shows and her work continues to garner many awards and nominations which include Portrait Photographer of The Year 2020 at the Minimalist Photography Awards, Finalist at the Lensculture Art Photography Awards 2019, Winner of the Professional Beauty and Fashion Category at the Chromatic Awards 2018, Winner of the All About Photo Magazine Colors issue 2018, Winner of the Single Image in the Professional Fine Art Category at the 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards 2018 and Winner of the Professional Fine Art Series at 2016 Fine Art Photography Awards.
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