Tell us a bit more about your series A Boxing Child.
“A Boxing Child” is the perfect example of one of those projects that chooses you. Let me explain: I was in Thailand for vacation with two childhood friends. I only brought minimal of gear as I’d planned to only capture simple memories of my travels with my friends. While I was already aware of the issues surrounding children in muay thai, I hadn’t planned any projects about it at that time. At the tail-end of our trip, intense rain trapped us in stadium where a muay thai show was in progress. The first fights were children and I remember being really surprised. I was immediately touched by so much power, sadness and loneliness. I started to shoot, but away from the few other tourists and finally followed the fighters and their trainers to the locker room. I think it my interest in the subject (which was totally different from other westerners in attendance) allowed me to gain their trust. No one paid attention to me and I quickly became invisible.
How long has photography been a passion?
Photography is a recently acquired skill. I started to play with cameras only around 2005 but since childhood I’ve always been sensitive to lights and momentum of life. At a young age, I already understood the idea that these moments disappear forever, I was afraid to forget them and so wanted to stop time.
Do you have a particular genre that’s your favourite to shoot?
Travel photography with a documentary approach is my favourite style. For me, it’s the perfect blend between my personal vision of life and photography, the aesthetics and the power to tell stories. I like to capture what I live, the people I meet, and the emotions I feel.
How did you get your start?
After attending a photography school in Québec, I decided to live in Montreal to find work in the photo industry. I chose to become an assistant, and I worked for photographers whose I admire the work. It was a good opportunity to learn more about the photography business and this allowed me to continue my photography work only with personal projects.
What is your background/education?
I did a french baccalauréat in sciences of life and then get a higher degree study in computer programming in order to integrate an engineering school…I finally decided to give up this future office work to learn photography.
What inspires you?
My main inspiration is always the subject I’m shooting. If it’s a person in front of my lens then it will be my relationship with our shared emotions. If it’s a landscape it will be more a personal feeling questioning the beauty of our world.
Do you have any favourite photographers?
So much, everyday I fall in love with images from photographers I never heard before.
What has your greatest career accomplishment been to-date?
I recently did a 3 month travel in west Africa, traveling through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso in a small truck. I still don’t know how strong the project will be, but I know that I became a better person because of it. This project changed my life and it’s most important of any career goal.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My goal is to be able to do only documentary photography and to work on important, human issues.
Tell us a little about some of your favourite photo gear.
I’m used to shooting with a full frame DSLR and prime fixed lenses but had always found the gear too big, too heavy, too visible. I’m really impressed by the new generation of mirrorless cameras. I also fell in love with the cameras from Fujifilm. In my opinion they found the perfect ratio between quality, discretion and design. It will probably be my main gear for my next travel.
Tell us about the last piece of gear that you deemed important enough to buy. How about the one that’s been most important in your career?
My Canon 35mm f 1.4 is stunning, I use it all the time !
What is your favourite photo accessory, other than your camera?
My Domke F-10 shoulder bag, indestructible, always ready.
What would be your advice for a photographer who is just starting out?
Shoot ! Shoot ! Shoot !
Can you share with us anything that you’re working on right now?
I’m actually working on a full-length film as cameraman, it’s a crazy project and I’m really excited…we will shoot 1 month in the jungle with real people from a tribe living in trees. Their houses are between 20-30m from the ground, I started a special climbing training for this movie.
A Little Bit About Martin:
Martin was born in the Reunion Island in 1985, and therefore grew up in the Indian Ocean. Martin came to Québec in 2006 to study photography at the CEGEP (secondary school of general and professional education) of Matane in Gaspé Peninsula. After the course, Martin moved to Montréal where he now lives and works as a photographer and cameraman.
You can see Martin’s series A Boxing Child in it’s entirety below (click a thumbnail to open the full gallery) and at Vistek Mississauga until the end of May as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography festival.