“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. 


If Martin’s story has touched you, let him know.
Take 2 minutes to send Martin a message.


Here are the insights that relate to Martin’s story:

Coping with love, rejection & trauma

icons3Unaddressed childhood trauma and rejection from a loved one, linked with a lack of support to cope with this trauma are often at the source of many of the issues people experience later in life. Access to therapeutic support is key.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz Zeb Natasha Tex Martin Karen Stuart Colin
Coping with love and rejection Society’s expectations of you shape you


Change: “the hardest thing you’ll have to do in your life.”

icons2Acknowledging traumas and learning to be vulnerable are part of the recovery journey. It can be challenging to adapt to a “stable” life, especially when it means giving up on old relationships and environments, or when people then have to face universal services that don’t recognise how far they have come. We need to recognise that recovery is a journey, not just a step.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz Zeb Natasha Tex Martin Karen Lee Colin
Building a new me – Part 1 Building a new me – Part 2


Recovery is a social journey

iconsExperiencing addiction, abuse or homelessness can be very isolating, and people experiencing those issues have often had to follow their own independent path from a young age. The system sometimes reinforces people’s isolation and sense that it is all their fault, while the circumstances they are in are in fact the result of a set of interdependent relationships. We need to support people to build positive relationships and social networks, and to be part of “recovery communities.”

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz Tex Martin Lee Colin



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