Featured Film Photographer: Johnny Martyr

The Man and his Leica...

The Man and his Leica…

Johnny Martyr has been shooting for over ten years. He has come to identify most with available light 35mm photojournalism.

Leica M6 TTL .85 Leitz 90mm f2 Summicron E55 Kodak New Portra 400

Leica M6 TTL .85 Leitz 90mm f2 Summicron E55 Kodak New Portra 400

In his own words:

Amidst all the deception in modern imagery, I take comfort in straight-forward, un-manipulated documentary photography. I love film for it’s compelling ways of rendering a scene realistically yet with an edge and feeling that digital will never have. I love classic manual film cameras like the Pentax K1000 SE, Nikon FM2n and Leica M6 TLL for their rugged, graceful simplicity. These cameras are tools that one can make an emotional connection with, regardless of what side of the camera you’re on, and that helps me feel comfortable and confident while shooting. There is also a discipline to shooting on a fully manual camera that builds my commitment to the shot as well as the readiness of my reflexes.

Leica M6 TTL .85 | Leitz 90mm Summicron E55 | Kodak Portra 400

Leica M6 TTL .85 | Leitz 90mm Summicron E55 | Kodak Portra 400

Johnny Martyr’s photography has been featured in several progressive Baltimore art galleries including St. Paul Pavilion and Balance as well as Gallery 61 in Buffalo, New York. He has photographed autism advocate Sarah Stup for book covers and website art as well as investigative journalist, Sonia Shah to promote her current book. You can find him in local music clubs shooting bands like Hangdog and PromiseLab. He’s also active on the political scene, having photographed noteworthy persons such as Ralph Nader and Bill Clinton. Martyr shoots almost exclusively on 35mm film with classic manual cameras, some hailing from as far back as the 1950′s, that he has refurbished himself.

Leica M6 TTL .85 | Voigtlander Heliar 75mm 2.5 or Nokton 50mm 1.5 Aspherical | Kodak Ektar 100

Leica M6 TTL .85 | Voigtlander Heliar 75mm 2.5 or Nokton 50mm 1.5 Aspherical | Kodak Ektar 100

Martyr firmly believes in a photojournalistic approach to the image. Even his posed photos contain elements of improvisation and documentary.  He finds that shooting on film helps him stay in The Now, looking for the next photo instead of studying an LCD screen of the last shot.The organic quality of film requires little editing in order to create a compelling atmosphere, which allows him to remain dedicated to the moment, even “in post.”Natural light contributes to the sense of sincerity and honesty in Martyr’s body of work. He doesn’t use a flash or additional lighting.

Now let’s take a look at some of his black and white work:

Nikon FM2n | Nikkor 105mm 1.8 AIS | Ilford XP2 @ 1600

Nikon FM2n | Nikkor 105mm 1.8 AIS | Ilford XP2 @ 1600

 

Nikon FM2n | Nikkor 105mm 1.8 AIS | Ilford Delta 3200 @ 6400

Nikon FM2n | Nikkor 105mm 1.8 AIS | Ilford Delta 3200 @ 6400

 

Asahi Pentax K1000 SE Brown | Pentax SMC K 50mm 1.2 | Ilford XP2 rated at 3200

Asahi Pentax K1000 SE Brown | Pentax SMC K 50mm 1.2 | Ilford XP2 rated at 3200

Pentax K1000 SE | SMC 50mm 1.2 | Ilford XP2 @ 3200

Pentax K1000 SE | SMC 50mm 1.2 | Ilford XP2 @ 3200

Asahi Pentax K1000 SE Brown | Pentax SMC K 50mm 1.2 | Ilford XP2 rated at 3200

Asahi Pentax K1000 SE Brown | Pentax SMC K 50mm 1.2 | Ilford XP2 rated at 3200

Please contact him for concert photos, weddings production stills or promotional shots of any kind. Gallery-quality prints of everything that you see here and on his website are also available. You can connect with Johnny via:

All images © copyright 2013 by Johnny Martyr and are protected by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

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