Fellow Resident

Toggle navigation

Fran Mart

Photographer, Brighton

Google Image search the English seaside town of Brighton and scenes of overcrowded beaches and dazzling pier-side amusements will no doubt greet your eyeballs. But behind the deck chairs and donkeys lies a much moodier side to this part of the world, something that lifestyle photographer and coastal-dweller Fran Mart knows all too well.

Armed with his signature Panama hat and a brimming sense of wanderlust, Fran's work seeks to press pause, celebrating the quiet in the everyday and relishing in the natural simplicity of our surroundings. His scenes of mysterious dreamscapes and never-ending vistas have the ability to transport, each one providing a visual exhalation amongst an often frenetic Instagram feed.

We caught up with this wistful wanderer, to ask how he slows down.

  • Joseph Perry

    Words

  • Fran Mart

    Pictures

  • 12 Oct 2015

    Published

  • 6 min read

    Length

Back to top

Tell us a bit about yourself and briefly describe your path to now.

I grew up on the coast of Spain in Andalucía. About a year ago, I ran away to the British Isles in search of new experiences, inspirations and colours. Having spent many years working within my family business, life threw me into a situation that forced me to address some basic questions about who I was and what I was doing – the most important being “what is happiness for me?”


How did you get in to photography? Talk us through your process and strategy.

All of my photography has been self-taught. At first, I was using the camera to express my feelings but over time it became my passion. I’m a very demanding person by nature, which helps me learn something new every day. I will always try to look for that little bit extra in an image – a feeling, an expression or a state of being.

Themes of nature and slow-living are highly prevalent in your work, providing a much-welcomed calmness in an age of information overload. How do you maintain such a slow way of life whilst working in a digital industry?

I’m a great believer in finding balance and walking slower through life. I enjoy the simple things around me – a good cup of coffee, a conversation with friends, a walk in the countryside. This is where I find my energy to do what I do. Anything is possible if we learn to divide our time wisely.


You often attach a song title to each of your Instagram images. What role does music play in your life?

Music! It’s in my veins. I’d literally be dead without it. Is there life without music? I could not imagine a life divorced from it. Music teleports, inspires creativity, enlarges the soul…you get the picture!


You often travel with your partner Dave. How is he involved with your work and what is it you look for when you travel together?

Finding Dave has been one of the best things to have happened in my life. Although we’re professionally different (he divides his time between being a doctor and a barista), we share the same values about how we want to live our lives. I’ll often use him as a sounding board which keeps me grounded. We learn from each other every day. Finding a connection and freedom within nature is the main reason for our travels.

Tell us about your experiences growing up in Andalucía. Do you still feel a connection to your hometown?

Andalucía is placed between the sea and the mountains so as a child my head was always full of dreams and ideas. I was curious about the world around me and sensed that where I grew up would not be my home for life. I guess I never felt any special connection with my hometown until I stepped away from it. Nowadays, home feels less to do with geography and more about a sense of security and belonging.

Nowadays, home feels less to do with geography and more about a sense of security and belonging.

You currently live in Brighton on the South Coast of England. What brought you to Brighton and why did you choose to settle in this area over another?

There were several cities that caught my attention when I thought about moving to the UK but Brighton is quite unique. You can enjoy everything about being in a big city whilst also being close to the sea and beautiful countryside. It also has this amazing ability to make you feel at home, whoever you are and whoever you want to be.


Your love affair with the British countryside is clearly evident in your Instagram feed. What are some of your favourite places to go in the UK to be creatively inspired or snap the perfect shot?

The first thing I did when I arrived here was buy a pair of hiking boots and start walking. I discovered some incredible countryside right on my doorstep. If you look at my pictures you’ll see that Seven Sisters is my favourite bit of East Sussex. I feel a such special connection to that place. The fields and rivers around Lewes and the South Downs are also two of my favourites.

What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts at the moment?

How long have you got? Right now, I get really excited by Beth Kirby. Her use of light and shadow when photographing food is genius. I really admire Alessio Albi and Chuck Lang for how they perfectly capture the human form and John Dunfee for his creative eye.


Are you associated with any gay communities?

I think it’s such a gift for people to feel a sense of belonging together, no matter where they’re from. I’d love to exist in a world where our sexuality doesn’t define who we are or who we feel accepted by. I suppose I’m just trying to live that out, in the hope that it becomes easier for everyone in the future.

 

How do you feel social platforms, like Instagram, are influencing the way gay men and gay communities interact with one another?

I really like how social media allows us to see the creativity and vision of gay men which may not necessarily be showcased by mainstream media. There’s been a tendency for gay communities to be stereotyped and our differences to be sidelined rather than embraced. For me, platforms like Instagram allow us to interact with so many other ways of being which hopefully allow us to feel more accepted by ourselves and others.

Social media allows us to see the creativity and vision of gay men which may not necessarily be showcased by mainstream media.

What are your future aspirations, both personally and professionally? How do you see your work developing?

I still feel at the beginning of an incredible journey with photography. What started with exploring my own feelings through self-portraits has turned into capturing the lives of others in a variety of styles. I’ve recently shot a few weddings in Portugal, England and Montana, so that’s where the immediate future lies. I’m also working on some editorial shoots. There’s a real sense of adventure in what I’m doing, so naturally I’d love to travel more with it. I’ll always have a special connection to nature and if I can combine the two, then I’ll feel right at home.

Follow Fran