Martin has been one of HarmonyWishes’ favorite guest artists since his initial introduction to our site in 2008. We’re delighted to learn a bit more about him through our Artist Q & A.
1. Your images range in theme from landscapes to architecture to industrial – many photographers tend to specialize in a specific theme. What inspires the type of image you are going to make?
My work tends to have two main themes: nature and what I call “machine-scapes”, which often include architectural elements. Overall, I’m attracted to light, tones, textures and lines more than any specific subject matter. There’s also an element of worship in my photography. I believe God wants us to see and enjoy the beauty of His creation, including what He inspired man to design and build.
2. Some of our favorites are the images that focus on past technology (old railroad, silk mill, etc) which provides a romantic view of our industrial past. Is this an area you are interested in exploring as a larger theme? And if so, what is it that fascinates you about it?
I grew up in a small town – Cumberland, Maryland – that experienced its most prosperous period when the railroad and glass, tire, and textile factories were the dominant local employers. My father, my wife’s father, and just about all my relatives worked in factories or for the railroad most of their lives.
Now those factories have all closed, but the railroad is still important to the town, including as a tourist attraction. So the industrial foundation of my youth, even with much of that foundation now in decay, still resonates with me and attracts my photographic eye. My image, “Station 126 – Lonaconing Maryland” was taken in an abandoned silk mill near Cumberland. The factory literally locked its doors one night in 1957 and left everything…the machines, supplies, employee time cards, calendars on the wall…frozen in time. For me, it’s a haunting place — not romantic, but visceral — because I understand how hard the employees worked and what a devastating blow they felt when the factory closed.
3. Do you generally seek out specific images or are they ‘found’ along the way?
I go where the light and my mood take me, so most of my images are discovered, rather than planned in advance. I admire photographers who plan their photos to the Nth degree, but that’s not me; I’m more spontaneous and some would say more lazy! Although I appreciate the Ansel Adams’ approach to pre-visualizing your image, I’m wired more like my favorite photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who was prepared for anything but reacted to the moment as it presented itself.
To find out more about Martin and his work, you can visit his website here and experience his work through a HarmonyWishes e-card here!