Martin recently sat down with PetaPixel to talk about his photography career, his “Close-Up” portraits and offered some advice to young artists. We have included an excerpt below but head to PetaPixel to read the whole conversation.
PP: Do you think these close-ups are something you’ll continue doing for the rest of your career? Will they stick with you?
MS: Yeah, you know, I made a mistake and stopped doing them for a while. A friend of mine said ‘Oh, you got to reinvent yourself, you’ve done a lot of those.’ Then I started doing them a little bit differently. I even started shooting with an eight-by-ten-inch camera. But I will keep on doing them now. I think It’s important to have one style. There’s no reason to stop doing it, really, because Richard Avedon took all of his pictures in front of a white background. With an eight-by-ten or something and a medium-format camera. I mean he never changed his style, ever.
He barely showed a color picture. So why would I [stop taking them] now? After I’ve been doing them for fifteen years, why would I think ‘now I’m going to start doing some self-portraits’?
Magazines like them, people like them. That’s telling. Why would Diane Albus now all of a sudden start shooting color or change up her lighting? She did the same thing all of her life. Weegee did the same thing all of his life.
It doesn’t mean I can’t do other bodies of work that I can light differently, or that are very differently conceptually. I’m still in the same position I was fifteen years ago. You get an assignment, and you have very little time with somebody. You’re in a location that you haven’t chosen, they’re wearing something that you might not like. But [with] the close-up you’re in this fortunate position of always walking away with something where nothing else but the person matters.
It doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re wearing. So it feels like an honest portrait that sometimes is impossible to take given the circumstances that you’re handed.