Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a keen photographer, having recently taken early retirement after 34 years working so that I could indulge myself pursuing my passion; obsession with photography.
What drew you into Photography?
From a young age I loved taking photos. I bought my first “proper” camera whilst at university so that I could share my caving / potholing experiences with my parents. My photography got a real boost when I first moved to Bristol and joined a camera club. Being competitive gave me the impetus to learn, improve and develop my skills.
What do you want to say with you photographs and how do you portray this within your work?
I’ve always been a bit of a collector of stuff and photography is no different. My philosophy has been “if it moves, shoot it; if it doesn’t shoot it”. I like to challenge myself within different Genres but the over-riding focus has always been to produce something that has some artistic merit.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job? And what is least enjoyable part?
Job, what job? The best bit is being in the position where I could afford to take early retirement to spend time with family, friends and my camera(s).
Who inspires you?
A mix really. Its Angie Wallace’s fault that I started photographing people! I knew her from one of her frog / reptile photography workshops, when she put out a call for someone with a car to get her to a model shoot. I volunteered – and ended up to my waist in a river, trying not to fall over – whilst photographing out model! It was fun, challenging but provided an opportunity to express my creativity… I was hooked. Vicki Boulter gave me the next push, organising a weekend of photography and opportunity to see someone challenge the “established norms” of what a portrait should be.
Other names jump out – Miss Aniela, Lindsay Adler, Kirstie Mitchell, Bella Kotek with their fantasy / beauty / creative portraiture. And, not leaving out the blokes; Von Wong.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started?
How to find models 😊
What motivates you to continue taking photographs?
Creating the next (first) masterpiece; striving for the next best image I can produce.
What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?
I could say when the subject or model loves the image I’ve created.
But being a bit competitive I guess it’s either having images accepted into the prestigious London Salon, winning Judges Ribbons in exhibitions or more recently winning a Bronze Medal, winning Best Portrait by Natural Light in Amateur Photographer magazine or other published work.
But in reality, its seeing people that I shot building in confidence and going on to do better and better in what they love.
What’s your experience of different gender in the photographic business? Are opportunities all pretty equal and unbiased towards gender?
Too many models have bad experiences, albeit with a very small minority of GWC (guys with cameras) but more worryingly, also with very experienced and capable photographers – the latter making it very difficult to call out. If in doubt, please reach out to any of the support groups, in private – social media is not the place to air concerns – and report to the Police if appropriate.
I have noticed an increasing number of female photographers and perhaps their gender gives them a bit of an edge when approaching new models to work with.
From a model perspective, females definitely have more opportunities, but it is very look dependent in part re-enforced by media. Also, there are more female models, which makes it more competitive.
If there was one thing you could change about your industry, what would it be?
People confuse “equality of opportunity” with “equality”. We’ve all seen talent shows where people are encouraged by friends and families to have a go, but where they have no real skill / aptitude. People should be supportive of each other, but sometimes the right thing to do is suggest trying something else rather than building false hope. And, the same is true in modelling… doing it for fun, or as a hobby, is fine, but doing it as a business is a lot of hard work.
What’s next for you?
More photography 😊 and hopefully more awards. And, possibly look at doing photography as a business, thought that will need a lot of consideration as I don’t want to diminish the fun and enjoyment I get from it as a hobby…
Anyone interested seeing more of my work or shooting with me can contact me via
Facebook , by e-Mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), PurplePort or via my website www.mikemartinphotography.smugmug.com