Please could you give an overview of your background of yourself and your career?

After failing the majority of my A-Levels I attended a foundation course which is where I first discovered photography as a creative language, from there, I went on to study at Middlesex University where I focused on British subcultures and self-published my first book Mini Golf.

With an impressive list of clients, awards and exhibitions, how did you start out in the industry and how did this develop into making a business from photography?

After graduating I struggled to find work within photography but carried on shooting personal work and chasing local commissions within arts funding. Eventually, I managed to get a teaching position which slowly led on to me moving back to London and allowed me to start working in various e-commerce studios through friends connections. This steady income meant that I could then focus on my own work and editorial commissions. I find freelancing motivational in the respect that it keeps you moving, if you’re not making work and chasing new clients you risk the possibility of losing momentum and missing out on the next opportunity.

How do your documentary ideas originate and how do you set about making them happen? 

A lot of ideas come through my own interests in a subject and a lack of knowledge about them, photography is a great excuse to explore and educate yourself. All of my projects have expanded from a solid contact within the community, from there I can communicate openly with them and begin to work. In the early stages of a project I tend not to bring my camera with me, I feel this helps to open more natural connections with the subjects.

How did your Bearing Fruit project come about? What made you want to do Bearing Fruit and how have you become part of this community?

Sittingbourne is where I grew up, a lot of my friends and my close family still live there, I owe a lot of who I am to growing up there. When I came back from university I understood that even more so, and the proposed development of the town worried me. Would this place change into somewhere I wouldn’t recognise? 

As time has gone on, and I have grown up and moved away, my feelings for the town and my idea of ‘home’ has changed and so has my language within the project. 

What is your aim with this project in the future, as it is ongoing? 

I’m slowly hoping to gather interviews, portraits, photos, models and renderings of the town as it is now, like a type of visual time capsule; I don’t think it can be done with just a photo book.

When on a portrait shoot, what is your general process of working?

A lot of the time I won’t have an assistant and I arrive at a location I’ve never seen before, which means you need to think on your feet. I try to have at least one base aesthetic for the shoot to go with but this can all change. 

Have you got any ideas for things in the future?

I hope to publish a new book soon from a separate body of work which I have been editing for quite a while now. I also have a new series in the pipeline which is very different from anything I’ve worked on before conceptually.

Simon Martin – Photographer 



Article by Collective Photographer Kate Wolstenholme.

If you enjoyed this piece by Kate, check out another Collective interview with Photographer Donald Weber:

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