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.
Describe your views on hot tub cinema in three words.
Should have packed my swimming shorts. (ok, thats double)
Why focus on hot tub cinema specifically, particularly in Bristol - a city known for its community feel?
I liked the idea that a city could organize an event that brought strangers together in their swimming shorts in winter. I used to live in Hungary and the popularity and national identity of the famous Hungarian thermal spa and bath houses was so special, unique and added to the identity of Budapest that I could see how the basic concept could be re-created in the UK. Bristol has a big university population, lots of young start up companies and entrepeanieurs that it seemed if there was going to be one city in the UK to start this off in, it would be Bristol.
Do you have any fun/quirky anecdotes from the shoot worth sharing?
The film showing on the night that I was there was the ‘Lion King’ and it was amazing how the crowd really got going when the big musical numbers came along. Everyone in that cinema must have remembered the songs from childhood and started singing along as soon as it got going. Another thing that would never happen in a normal cinema was that the crowd were a lot more animated, shouting at the screen standing up and rooting for Simba. It was like they were children again.
Between the UK and Turkey, I imagine you see your fair share of urban shifts. Obviously it is difficult to directly compare Bristol and Istanbul, but would you say there are any striking similarities? Anything one city can learn from the other in terms of adjusting to population growth?
Well, Turkey up until about 12 months ago was a huge success story for the Middle East. Its construction boom and strong economy was headline news. But with that came the downside at investing too much in grand urban growth projects and forgetting how important communal areas and green spaces are to the people that live in cities. Where I am based in Istanbul, there is very, very, very little green space. And of course there is the famous Turkish Hamam - there is one just next door to me. Now I have seen how visual a dark, crowded space like hot tubs can be and the life and interactions that go on. Maybe I should ask if I can photograph next door when back in Istanbul!
When considering the concept of future of cities, what is the most notable factor that affects your own life?
It has to have space. I am not actually from a city at all. I was raised in rural Cornwall, UK, by the sea and with so much space around me. For me, the future of cities lies in the ability of the planners to give each person large recreational spaces to interact and enjoy the place that they live.
Can you comment on your thoughts of the Future of Cities programme in general?
It's awesome! It's great that a company like Sony is getting behind a social and documentary orientated agency like Panos. Out photographers have been finding ways to deal with planning, urbanization and population growth for years, and with the support of Sony, it's now going to add to a story that is close to everyone at Panos.