Hartley, Martin. (1 of 7). Oral History of British Photography.
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2013-10-08, 2013-11-21, 2013-12-10
The British Library
Hartley, Martin, 1968- (speaker, male)
Read, Shirley (speaker, female)
Part 1:Martin Hartley [MH] born in Manchester in 1968. Description of childhood and family life just outside Rochdale, the profound effect of living just on the edge of the Lancashire Moors, time spent exploring, favourite place making dams and dens, walking the Pennine Way with school friends at 12 and across from west to east coast, wanting to be a vet, first camera at 5, inherited an interest in photography from his father, enjoyed school (Norden Primary and Shawfield Middle School). Comments about a grandfather who lived in Paris, family holidays camping and walking in Europe, athletics and cross country running. Description of his bedroom covered in pictures of wildlife and geological specimens, his siblings, his parent’s divorce and its impact on MH. An anecdote about his mother bringing chocolate home from work. [00.49.40] Comment about his ideas for a career working outside then, after an inter-railing trip to Italy, entering the young person category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and winning special commended and deciding to become a wildlife photographer. Remarks on his perceptions about photography, his first camera and use of Kodachrome transparency film, his father’s interests and MH being a ‘film snob’. [01.02.23] An anecdote about the prize presentation in the National History Museum. [01.08.45] on making a portfolio, Rochdale art college, applying for photography courses and deciding on Bournemouth & Poole, the photographs he was taking and an anecdote about his interview. Comments about the college, not being able to learn enough about the business of photography in the absence of commercial pressure. They were encouraged to do their own thing, mention of other graduates including Richard Ansett and Tim Bret Day and tutor Anne Prahl, their reunion a few years ago when MH was in the Arctic, loss of the darkrooms and his thoughts on not wanting to lose film. [01.26. 00] Description of leaving college and starting as a scientific photographer at the Atomic Energy Authority in Warrington. [01.26.55] His photographic interests at college, technical experiments, his understanding that you have to have some chemistry with the person for portrait photography to work, well equipped darkroom, his interest in plate cameras, theft of his Pentax, learning about how film makers work, the climate. [1.35.30] The impact of a washing up job which became cooking and excitement of the restaurant compared to college. A short anecdote about showing a print to a tutor. [1.40.02] a description of living in Warrington with his college girlfriend, their routine and the routine at work, his first photo there and an anecdote about photographing bubbles, his realisation he couldn’t work in an office, their policy of throwing stuff away, an anecdote about an accidental over-ordering, applying for other jobs and leaving. [01.51.41] Description of finding a job at Graphic Eye [GE] in London after seeing an amazing photo using Quantel paintbox by Phil Jason and being there for seven years. MH’s interest in and problems with the job, his role there, his ideas about work and his father’s influence, mention of the other people who worked there.
Life story interview with photographer Martin Hartley, 1968-