“At 14, I’ve been taken out of a boarding school and put into a council estate in Croxteth, an area known for gang violence. I spoke differently, was well educated; I felt as an outsider. Because of peer pressure, wanting to be accepted by the others, I start knocking around with the wrong people.”
“My daughter being born has changed my life. The fact that I’ve seen so many people fail in life due to their parents, not knowing them; me not knowing my dad, the impact that it has is immeasurable. I want to give her a better life than I had.”
Martin was released from prison about 6 weeks before we met him, where he spent the last 3 years on robbery charges. He used this time to reflect on his life and think about what he wants for the future. He has been off class A drugs for nearly 3 years now, the longest period he has ever been clean.
While in prison, Martin felt it was time to change. But he struggled to get the support he felt he needed. His lightbulbs theory explains waht it is like to have multiple complex needs, and to not fit neatly into the categories services have designed to people.
“I’ve waited a long time to get here, I’ve gone through quite a lot… I have no other options. I can’t continue down the street that I’m on. I need to change. I hope to specialise through photography. You can show so much with an image, it’s emotional.”
Now clean, and starting an Arts Foundation course, Martin speaks with great enthusiasm about his passion photography and the determination he has to not fall back into addiction again.
Martin’s story is best told in his own words, but especially through his powerful images. Photography became the way he tries to understand and deal with the world around him, and it is the way he would like to communicate his experience to others.
Here are the insights that relate to Martin’s story: