Photography Is For Lovers {Part Two}

Thanks for coming back to read the second part of Photography Is For Lovers! I loved all the feedback on PJ's interview and here is what her husband, Martin had to say!

Who got into photography first?
I got into photography back in the 80's as a teenager growing up in the industrial North of England. I took it seriously all through high school and college but was discouraged from taking it up as a profession as family and friends were afraid I wouldn't be able to make a middle-class living for myself in the field - I guess that shows how much faith they had in me; I didn't really find that faith in myself or from anyone else until I met Patti.

During the 90's photography took something of a back seat while I established a career as a software engineer and then emigrated to the US. It was only with the advent with reasonably affordable digital cameras at the end of the millennium that I rediscovered photography - digital's greatest contribution to enthusiasts was allowing them to shoot like a pro (i.e. the equivalent of several rolls of film a day with instant feedback). I learned more in a couple of years of using digital cameras than I had in a decade of using film.  When Patti became inquisitive about what I was spending all this time on and started to take to photography herself I leaned even more from teaching her the ropes.

How do you inspire and challenge each other?
We have both been shooting and posting at least one image a day to Flickr for the last 3 years. Without the support and encouragement Patti provides I would never have lasted this long. When we take our turns at periods of self-doubt we are there for each other; there's no substitute for having someone to talk to about your art and craft who knows you better than anyone else and is totally empathetic to what you're doing.

We also set each other challenges. Going into the fourth year of the photo-a-day project we have spiced things up by setting ourselves a challenge subject each week. We both agree on a topic or technique and then use that as our theme for seven days. It really helps to narrow down a subject for the day. Sometimes the biggest challenge of taking a daily shot is deciding what to shoot - if you have a theme to work within it helps to narrow down a subject much more quickly than wandering around the house or the neighborhood, camera in hand, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Do you ever get competitive?
Of course but it's usually a healthy, good kind of competition. Where ever we go, especially if we're together, we both want to get THE shot. We can also get competitive via Explore; Patti has more explored images than I do which I think is criminally unfair as I've been on Flickr much longer than she has. Right now we're having a little friendly competition about who can be the first to get a million views; I'm a little ahead but Patti is coming up fast.

The good thing about competition in art is you can both win. Usually we are much more supportive than competitive though; you need a critical eye, your first viewer, your domestic editor to help refine you vision - that has to be someone you trust intimately and you question their motives; Patti is that person for me.

What are your favorite photos of each others and why? 

It changes weekly but I'll pick a few that consistently are in my top 10 faves of Patti's work in no particular order:
My Three Nuns 
I love that she saw this on the street and chased it down until she got the shot - the essence of street photography - she was also so excited to show me this shot when I got home in the evening the day she captured it.
Patti does some pro-bono work for a local neighborhood association and she has come back with a lot of great shots from here days there but, for some reason, this one just sticks with me 
it seems to capture childhood and play perfectly.
Patti tracked down a warehouse that stores mannequins and got permission to shoot there - I can remember being really jealous that she got that gig while I had to go to work but I was doubly jealous when I got home and she showed me this shot 
it's so beautifully strange.
Patti took this portrait of me while we were waiting to pay the bill for brunch at a local eatery - 
I think it's so cool I use it as my avatar everywhere.
This shot was taken when Patti was still getting into photography and wasn't even using a DSLR yet 
we have it framed and displayed in our hallway and it looks fantastic.
As a bit of a joke against the people who take pictures of themselves everyday on Flickr Patti posted a picture a day of our dogs for a year 
this is a great shot of our beloved Babalu, smiling, she managed to capture during that year.
I had so much fun reading how they take a favorite pastime and bring it into their relationship. I love their support and admiration for each other, not just as partners, but as artists. 
Thank you, Martin! To discover more about Martin, check out his website, his flickr, and his twitter