Today we speak to an amazing photographer, Martin Castein.
Would you like to introduce yourself?
I’m a portrait photographer based in London, I shoot traditional and fine art portraits and artistic family photos.
What’s your photography history?
A few years ago my girlfriend had an accident and nearly died. It took a couple of years for her to recover and she decided to take up photography as a kind of occupational therapy. In the end she wasn’t too keen and the camera sat there for months not being used. Once day we took a trip to the beach and I took the camera with me and loved it. I did some research on how to use the camera on the Internet. I started to use it on a daily basis. I took endless pictures, some good and a lot not so good. I also started reading more about photography online trying to understand all the camera functions. After about a year I finally felt comfortable in putting myself on a photography course to see what else I could learn from others. And since then I have continued to shoot, read and learn from some of the best photographers in the world.
What sort of shoots have you done?
I do modelling shoots, shoots with actors and a lot of fine art portraiture. I’ve done gangster themed shoot, several film-like shoots where I try to make images look like move stills.
What’s your favourite medium to work with? Colour? Location?
I love to shoot on location; I get to experiment with different textures, as well as looking for the interesting shadows and spots of light. As for the picture itself I tend to work in colour as I find that technology has advanced to allow us to make colour look both subtle and expressive. Done well it can be a very powerful. But, this does not mean I do not work in black and white too. Some of my best work has been black and white.
So what drew you to portraits? Is there anything you do differently in them?
I needed to practice a lot of photography techniques and the easiest way was to have my friends sit for me. I did not want them to feel embarrassed, so would just ask them to relax and sit patiently while I tried out my camera and lighting ideas. People saw my work, liked what they saw and would book me to shoot their own portraits. Do I do anything differently in them? Maybe, I’m not sure what other people do exactly.
What make and model of camera do you employ and why?
I have been very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to use many different models and brands of cameras in the past. But right now I am using a Canon 6D. I use Canon because of the colour, it is unsurpassed in this area.
What sort of lens do you use and why?
Right now I’m mostly using the 50 1.2, it’s not that sharp but it draws a beautiful image.
What sort of lighting do you prefer?
I like to use natural light, I am happy using flash too, so for me it’s a bit of both really.
I enjoy what I do and in five years time I will still doing what I do, only a lot better.
So how’s the photography scene in the UK? And the E.U?
The photography scene in UK is good. New, interesting photographers are appearing all the time. The standard has improved so much in the last few years.
What advice would you give to someone who is taking up the lens?
Start shooting. Shoot everyday, even if it annoys your partner. Read, learn and read some more. Knowledge is everything. Practice leads to great things.
So do you think Rick Deckard was a replicate?
Been a while since I watched Blade Runner but yeah, I thought he was a replicant and a very cool one at that.
Any last words?
Work hard and don’t stop.