Martyn Thompson is a fab photographer. He shoots the most, repeat the most beautiful pictures. He is also an artist, a brilliant author and has very recently launched a textile collection. Everything he touches has a tactile painterly effect – the spaces he captures blur into darkness, the shadows are as intrinsic and important as the subjects, and as the viewer you are drawn into this world of intrigue. His work makes me curious, and makes me linger longer. I have been a fan forever, and am really excited to share this interview with Martyn for you.
In a nutshell, how would you describe your photography style?
Painterly and tactile — I like to convey a mood in my photographs, an emotional quality. When photographing an interior I’m more attracted to the spirit and the details of a place than a floor to ceiling description.
What has inspired you most?
Early in my interiors career I worked with Elsa Peretti, Tiffany’s jewelry designer. We spent a week at Elsa’s property in the spanish village of Sant Marti Vell. She really taught me to focus on the heart of things.
What makes a place feel like home to you?
I like a place that feels “lived in”, with familiar objects that feed my nostalgic tendencies. I also need a combination of designated neat and messy areas!
Favourite place in NYC?
I tend to seek out “old” New York. The other day I discovered a Downtown restaurant in the Woolworth building, that looked like it had been there an eternity. Really kooky, and a bit rough around the edges. I love that sort of thing.
Film or digital?
I like both. Part of me still loves to shoot film on a 4×5 camera with a cloth over my head — there’s an element of mystery to it, and it makes me really feel like an old school craftsman.
Digital is more democratic and brings multiple new realms of possibility. It has made photography a really accessible medium, and everyone can have a go.
Colour or monochrome?
I love color.
What’s your most important trick for achieving beautiful photos?
It’s the light that defines a great photo for me. I work mainly with daylight — it has an unbeatable quality.
I’m off to Mexico next week to do a shoot for W magazine. Longer term, I’m about to begin work on two new book projects, and I’ve also spent a lot of time recently developing a fabric and wallpaper line based on my photos. This is totally new territory for me, and really exciting.