'What Matters Is How You Use Your Influences': Meet Photographer Matt Martin


Written by Dont Panic
26 Thursday 26th May 2016

Matt Martin is the photographic mind behind The Photocopy Club, a platform for snappers around the world to exhibit their work in print, and curator of Dalston’s Doomed Gallery since 2013. We discussed creating working directly and curating, plus his American ambitions... 

Hey Matt. How’re you finding 2016 so far?

Hey, yeah it's going well. Been shooting a new project out in LA at the start of the year and been doing a bunch more zine fairs and exhibitions. It's been good, keeping busy.

Over time, how do you think your style - if at all - has changed?

When I started shooting it was all about documenting youth and friendships, like most young photographers you start out photographing what they know. Once I had done my time assisting and working for studios I took the way that I photographed when I was younger and tried to adapt it into a way I could live off, by shooting more fashion, and portrait work. That has now moved on to a mixture of more documentary and fine art based photography.

Do you ever feel constrained by your style, format? How do you challenge yourself?

I'm always finding new ways to show my work. I guess I have been working with photocopies since I was 18 when I would do wheat pastes of my photos around my home town. With making zines, photocopies have always been a part of my work. My new project is now moving into colour and working with the layers of a city. LA is a place where the colours just pop and the shadows give it these amazing layers. It's a project that I'm going to be working on for a few years.

What do you think are the effects of sharing your work online?

I'm not sure. I used to use Tumblr and blogs a lot, but I feel those are dying off as a place to really get your work seen. Instagram obviously works well but it doesn't really give your photography justice when you see it so small. I think I might just move on to only showing new work in a gallery or on the street. I want people to see every inch of the image clearly and be able to feel the paper and get lost in it, rather than on a screen.  

Could you expand on Photocopy Club’s background?

I started TPC to make an exhibition that was affordable to me, my friends and young collectors of photography. I just thought how I could make a submission exhibition process simple for everyone and leave total control to the artists with how their work looks, but giving myself the control of how it is displayed. I started it in 2011 and I can't believe where it has taken me. I'm so thankful for everyone that submits as if it was not for them I wouldn't be able to do it. 

What would you most like to shoot that, for whatever reason, you haven’t managed to and why? 

I've done a few road trips of the states but with my friend driving. I love being on the road and shooting but I always have to do it with someone else - which is still really fun - but I'm learning to drive at the moment so I can do roads trips alone. That's what I really want to be doing. Just jump in the car and go find things. To do a whole 3 month trip of the states alone is something I haven't managed, but let's hope I pass first time so I can get on it and see what situations I get in. 

What projects do you lined up in the foreseeable?

The Photocopy Club are out in Poland in June for a new exhibition called HIT THE ROAD. We have Offprint coming up at the Tate Modern and hopefully we will be at the New York Art Book Fair in September. Then we have a show in Belgium that is yet to be announced. Then I hope to be back in LA for the start of 2017 for more work on this project. 

Anyone you’d like to shout out?

Doomed Gallery, BOTY, Snoar Press, Meanwhile Press, Donlon Books, Dharma Tattoos.

Cheers Matt

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