“Photography is simple. Just put yourself in front of interesting stuff.”
My work doesn't give answers, hopefully it raises more questions than answers. Thats a good thing. With so many images in the world today, my work does not intend to compete, it merely should contribute to our understanding of our 21st century visual world.
About / Biography
Guy Martin graduated with a first class B.A(HONS) in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales, Newport.
Guy began pursuing long term personal documentary projects while studying at Newport. Inspired by regions that are in periods of transition, he went on to pursue a long term project on the re-birth of the Cossack movement and Russian nationalism in Southern Russia and the Caucasus from 2005 to 2008.
From January 2011 he began to document the revolutions sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa, photographing the revolution in Egypt before documenting the civil war in Libya from the east to the besieged western city of Misrata.
His work has appeared in the Guardian, Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, Der Spiegel, D Magazine, FADER Magazine, Monocle Magazine, Huck Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, ARTWORLD, The New Statesman, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Le Monde, M Magazine, Time Magazine, Bloomberg Buisness Week, The New York Times and the Economist.
In 2012 his work from Egypt and Libya formed the basis for joint exhibitions at the Spanish Cultural Centre in New York, HOST Gallery in London, the Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff and the SIDE Gallery in Newcastle. He had his first solo show “Shifting Sands” at the Poly Gallery in Falmouth in January 2012.
Since 2012 he has been based in Istanbul, Turkey, where he is beginning a new long term project on the rise of Turkish soft power. The first part of which, “City of Dreams”, received much critical acclaim in 2014, inc. The Project Launch Award at CENTER, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1st place Current Affairs, Sony World Photography Award, Finalist in the LensCulture Award, The Farujah International Photo Competition, The China International Press Photo Competition, Finalist in the Photographic Museum of Humanity Award and a St.Breiuc Photo-Reporter Festival grant awardee. Select group international exhibitions have been had at the Zagreb International Photography Festival, and Istanbul’s first international photography festival - FotoIstanbul.
Commissions / Image Galleries
Recently a report stated that cities that ‘play together - stay together’. Bristol in the South West of England is one of the cities at the forefront of this thinking. After a little research Guy found that Bristol was to host the UK’s first ‘Hot Tub Cinema' - an event that pitted perfect strangers in an outdoor hot tub and made them watch a movie on two giant outdoor screens. These images are an attempt to explore the little moments and relationships that occur in a outdoor hot tub in the UK in winter. Reflections, moments, details of the human form, awkward glances lit by the light from a classic film. Brits may have a reputation for prudishness, but based on this event, we seem to be developing a more ‘Scandinavian’ approach to the human form.
Describe the moment you knew photography changed your life.
It was early – too early if you ask my mother. I was 17 and at that time all I wanted to do was work in the sports industry. I really wanted to be a sports injury physiotherapist. I was studying biology, psychology, physical education but then I took a small course in photography. I was shooting film, and then processing the images in the darkroom. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before. I remember spending weekends with my uncle and his friends who were all Oyster fisherman working off coast where I lived at the time with my family. Having a camera gave me an excuse to hang out with salty sea dogs, have conversations and experiences that I would never have had. Then I got to see the pictures magically appear in the darkroom. It changed everything. In the end I dropped the science subjects and studied photography full time. I got a place at the prestigious Newport University and studied documentary photography. I have now been a professional photographer for almost 10 years. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Although I wish I got to hang out with salty sea dogs more often!
If you could sum up your work in one word or one sentence, what would that be?
If I could do that, I’d be too old, it would be time to put down the camera and take up golf or fishing!
What is the most remarkable person, place or thing you have ever photographed and why?
Now in 2014 we look back at the last 3 years since the start of the Arab revolutions and think what a mess it has turned out to be. But as I stood in Tahrir Square on the 12th of February 2011, having watched the previous 3 weeks of protests, civil organization and sheer will power of the Egyptian people to overcome the many obstacles that were put in front of them to force Hosni Murbarack resign, I really thought that it was the start of a new, less autocratic and peaceful future in the Middle East. That night was filled with celebration and hope. I often think back to that night and think how things could have worked out differently.
Talk to us about your bucket list... what is on the top of that list of things to photograph?
Every year The New York Times Magazine has an Oscars Portfolio. They commission one photographer who gets to make portraits of all those actors and actresses who have been nominated. I would love to do that. Jeepers that would be a challenge, but it would be so awesome as well.
The second is to photograph Syrian and Iraqi Soap Operas who are currently satirizing the conflicts in their own countries.
Third, my family. I’m just too scared and shy to do it at the moment. But I will do it.
If you had not become a photographer, what might you be today?
A professional surfer and chef – or both.
Give us your thoughts about the Global Imaging Ambassadors program?
Sony is a new player on the professional (stills) camera market. But with that comes the opportunity to try out and use equipment that will make our lives as photographers filled with new possibilities. I truly believe that the new equipment Sony is bring out will change the way professional photographers approach subjects as an example, while working on my long term project about Turkish Soap Operas, I can now photograph silently on set with the α7S and RX1. For me or anyone who has been photographing on TV and film sets, that’s a game changer and something that I cannot wait to get stuck back into! Also to be involved in a global project with my Panos Pictures colleagues documenting such an important issue as what the ‘Future of Cities’ will be, is something that would not have come about if Sony were not involved. Everything about this program is exciting – damn, I don’t want to ever leave!
What is your favorite Sony camera of the moment?
I have been using the Sony α7R and besides the awesome image quality, it’s how I actually use the camera that has been a game changer for me. I now no longer look through the viewfinder. I hold the camera at waist level and treat it as I would an old medium format camera. I’m getting amazing quality images, people interact with me differently, change their behavior less and I get closer to being invisible! Plus I LOVE the sound of the shutter. The Sony lenses are out of this world as well. I have only ever owned a 35mm and 50mm so to have this amazing camera and two lenses and fit everything you need for a day’s shooting in your jeans pocket is out of this world!
2x Sony α7R
35 2.8 Carl Zeiss E Lens
55 1.8 Carl Zeiss E Lens
24-70mm F/4 Carl Zeiss E Lens
5 x 16GB Cards
Cheap Chinese made flash gun bought from some dodgy bloke off Ebay
Copy of the New Yorker and Surfer Magazine