"All We Have Is Now" by Matthew Martin


Hi Matt, thanks for sharing your work with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Matthew Martin. I'm based in Chester, UK. I've dabbled with photography on and off throughout my life, but it's only the last few years where I've woven it into my everyday. I suddenly decided I needed to document my everyday life, so I started to take a camera everywhere I went. Last year I released my first zine entitled 'All We Have Is Now'.


What is "All We Have Is Now"? And what does it mean to you?

'All We Have Is Now' is a feeling that I sometimes get with photography. It refers to the nature of the snapshot capturing and freezing a moment to preserve it. It also refers to the onward march of time, in which us humans are merely along for the ride. Never going back, never going forwards, endlessly stuck in the present. It sounds a bit depressing to some but I actually find it comforting. That being said, whilst the zine appears to be a linear story, each image when paired with the next has a tendency to mangle time and reality and to create new memories. Ones that never really existed.


Where were these pictures made and over what period of time?

They're all from the UK. I wanted to keep a consistent backdrop to the series. I never really shoot with a particular project in mind so when I decided to start putting the zine together I just went through my photos from the last few years and tried to find images that I felt worked alongside each other. Most of the images are from 2016-2017 and feature family and friends.


I’ve somehow always thought of you as a film photographer, but I don’t know if that’s actually true. Were these pictures made on film?

A few people have assumed they were film photographs. There's one photo in there from a disposable film camera, the rest are digital. I've used a bunch of cameras in the last few years so there's some from the Sony A7R, Fuji X70, and a little 8 megapixel Sony point and shoot that I got for £10 on ebay. Most of the photos are from the Ricoh GR though. That tends to be my go-to camera for colour photography. I tried colour film but found it to be unpredictable in terms of results and the colours weren't always to my tastes. 


Why have you decided this was the time to put the work together?

I've been trying to get a sequence of images I was happy with for a while now. Probably a year or two. I just overthink it, spend too long on it and end up hating it. With this one I had a deadline and asked a friend to help with the edit. I think that not having too long to procrastinate was key to getting it done. I am very much a person that suffers with 'paralysis by analysis'. 


I think many of us suffer from that! And what do you hope to get from putting it together?

Well, it's the satisfaction of having produced something. Books and zines have always been the end goal for me. I like the feeling of having your best work displayed in a tangible object. I also like that it freezes the sequence so that it can't be messed around with anymore. It feels final. It's hard to describe but it just feels like the right thing to do. Like that was always going to be the final destination for my photos. I think I decided on that long before I really understood the camera, my style or really what I wanted to say. It's always been my intention to publish my photos in this form. I'm sure there'll be more to come, but for now I'm deciding whether to continue with more of the same or to try something new.


Why do you think it’s important that the pictures be told in a series and not just single images?

To me it's important to see the images as part of a series. Prints and single images are fine and all, but with a carefully curated series of your best work it can become more than the sum of its parts if that makes sense? I like to think of the photos as lyrics to a song, it needs to flow and tell a story over its duration. There needs to be a rhythm to it. You just move around the photos in the sequence until it feels right. I know that's a bit of a wooly statement but you have to use some of your brain to assess the image's worth and place in the sequence but there's also a lot of 'gut feeling' involved too. It's a chance for me to put my stamp on it, get my personality across to the viewer and realise the vision. More than anything I just get a huge kick out of producing something real. A lot of the time our photos are just languishing on a hard drive or in a negative folder. For me, they aren't real until they can be seen as the finished product.

Thanks a lot for your thoughts! Matt's zines have sold out, but he is always working on something new and you can follow them on his BLOG and INSTAGRAM 

And don't forget to follow RAMBLES on Instagram as well!