It was great to see a submission such as yours that had a really interesting approach to both the subject matter the context that surrounds it and also the way in which you have approached the lighting and composition of the forms within your imagery.It was interesting to read how you had turned a very hard personal experience into a positive outcome through the process of creating a series of images. I think there is something that has quite a sombre mood within your images and of course this is down to the subject matter itself. The still life genre and its representation throughout art history always reminds us of loss. So I think it’s very appropriate that your images contain this type of subject matter that speaks of Momento Mori in a classic sense.What I find particularly successful are images such as ‘lost love’ and ‘inception’ and ‘also cast off’, in these particular images I’m really aware of your creation of space within the frame and within the image there is a sense of depth and perspective - of entering a world within your images as a viewer and this is a really interesting and exciting process. I’m not sure how you’ve done this as a photographer and again this leads to a really interesting outcome, your images cross the line between still life studies and constructed landscapes. This is intriguing and really successful. I find the ones I’ve mentioned more successful than the image titled ‘random start’ for example or ‘culmination’. These images feel more typical of a traditional still life type photograph, something more generic. The ones I find more successful have a more interesting narrative and create a space where the viewer is challenged to create an understanding of what they’re experiencing and that for me is where an image becomes very successful. I think it really boils down to a sense of seeing something new and unexpected, with a narrative that feels original and fresh in your work. I think the title of the series ‘Twilight’ is also successful, clearly it references the backstory and also the methodology behind your photographic process.I think that as a series the number you submitted could be increased to create a wider sense of narrative and space within your images. I think it’s important to remember that a series is a world that you as a photographer create.Your images have a real impact and remind me of some of the images taken by Irving Penn and Karl Blossfeldt but they also have a very contemporary feel and I think that’s very interesting and add strength to your submission. I wish you good luck for the future.
What separates a good photo from a great photo is a feeling somewhere between what I feel physically and what I would call an ‘aesthetic experience.’ It’s almost like the beginning of a love affair, you are just drawn to the image, you are lifted off your feet, you are moved. You just have to have it. You want to ask them to dance.
When looking at photographs I listen foremost to my intuition, but this is subjective, of course. I find that I am drawn to work that is layered—visually or conceptually—and capable of communicating multiple stories depending on the life experience of the viewer. A series of pictures needs to convey a multifaceted story, with irony, humor, or formal complexity.
These pictures make me think of an updated take on Edward Weston’s pepper, and they also remind me of the aesthetic of Karl Blossfeldt. I am drawn to the variety of compositions—Martens does not employ a formulaic approach but rather responds to each vegetable as it comes before the frame, responding to and drawing inspiration from it. There is a painterly or hand-made quality to many of these images which is the result of his use of texture, giving the photographs a worn, antiqued look.As a viewer I am most intrigued by the images where the vegetable, or subject, seems to float in space, drawing me in for further observation. An image like ‘Broad Beans’, with depth and layering of imagery is particularly effective, the formations and texture in the background setting off the subjects.The play between scientific observation and aesthetic interpretation results in the singular voice behind this work, which is well-composed and skillfully rendered. Something like ‘Basil’ feels relatively more clinical, while ‘Beetroot’, with the way it is cropped, has a more artful feeling. The play between these two approaches—and the potential of a scientific approach to also have artfulness—is very interesting. In ‘Leek Sprouts’, the form of the sprout almost references a matchstick that has been deformed in some way. This dynamic interaction between reality and perception is most intriguing.
"Inception", from the series "Twilight".
This is a fascinating and compelling idea. I love what it says about how we see and how it so vividly illustrates the subjectivity of photography. That is, how open things become when photographed by different people at different angles. In the end of course they are linked by the moment but also by the black and white. The black and white from different angles for me evokes a sense of surveillance. I was struck by how much these images reflect a kind of voyeurism. Somehow the idea that not just one person is taking a picture of someone unknowing, but three people brings it to a new level. I am not talking about any kind of ethical issue here but just about the ideas that come through when I see the pictures. Interesting and I’d love to see more.
"Overwhelmed", from "the Singularity Project" series.
"Beet root", from the "Form over Function" series.