Kris Martyn: Young, Free, Alright!
The Rad and Creative Youth of Australian Surfing
Presented by Arnette
Interview by Dan Caban
To be an aspiring photographer whilst still the age of 15 is no easy feat. South Curl Curl's Kris Martyn is a well-spoken and genuine grom with a passion and talent behind the lens that totally stokes us out, perfect for Young, Free, Alright!
CW: Dude! Tell us who Kris Martyn is, that is, other than the lead-singer of Coldplay obviously.
KM: I’m an almost 16 year old guy from South Curl Curl on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I grew up living just up the road from the beach and my whole life has revolved around it.
I go to Manly Selective High and love takings photos. I’ve lived in Curly my whole life and I’ve been surfing as long as I can remember and life around the beach is all that I know.
Having relatives on the other side of the world, I have travelled to more countries than the average teenager, most of which were before I took photos, regretfully. I don’t really call myself a photographer, as I have only just started; I got my housing about 8 months ago, and my first DSLR around a year and a bit ago.
What are your earliest memories of working with a camera?
Earliest memories… ahh... I remember way back when I got a disposable camera as a present. I probably wasted half the film on accidental shots, but it was mine and I got to choose what I took photographs of.
And you were immediately into it?
To be honest, it was that long ago that I wouldn’t have known why people would take photos. I just remember asking my mum constantly when the film was going to be processed and when it’d be ready.
Since then, it was definitely a long time until I started getting into cameras. The progress has been slow, but lately, since I got my housing, I have really been getting into it. I know some older photographers and the knowledge that they have passed onto me has been amazing, giving me honest criticism and some pointers.
Do you remember the first camera you used? Or your first personal set-up?
First camera would have been that little disposable cheapy, then sometimes using the family’s point and shoot digital cam. I got my first DSLR in Year 8 for my birthday, a Nikon D3100 and that would have to be my first personal setup.
What kind of equipment have you been through since then?
Since then, I have upgraded to a Nikon D90 and along with that I bought a housing for it. I have bought a new lens, tripod and all of the equipment worn in the water, but that’s pretty much it.
Just by scrawling through your Tumblr, I feel your photography has radically progressed over the past year, are you're beginning to explore new areas with your photography.
Yeah, definitely. I have really started to see photography differently, whether it be in the water or out of it. I have started to explore different settings on my camera and have been trying to capture unusual views of the world. I focus on surf photography but I lately have been getting some landscapes and seascapes.
Your shots have a real Clark Little feel about them. Is he an influence on you?
Clark definitely is a huge influence on me and he is probably the main reason I bought the housing for my camera. Of course, I don’t get 20 foot shories where I live, but it’s a thrill being out there and trying to get the shot. Probably the best feeling, when I’m in the surf, is seeing a great shot on my little LCD screen after a set.
Do you have any other particular influences?
I definitely do. There are so many amazing photographers out there and photography in the surf has really sprung up lately and so many people are doing it. To name a few, Willem Ungermann, Ray Collins and Trent Mitchell are also huge influences and I enviously scroll through their blogs and Instagrams. There are also a lot of local boys that are big inspirations, including Mark Clinton and Harrison Dancaster. The list goes on and on and I am constantly on the web getting inspiration from them.
Do you think you would like to shoot with high performance surfing more, or do you dig the ability to capture the ocean at its purest?
I would love to shoot more high performance surfing, but I don’t really have the people to shoot. I love taking photos of the ocean though and just environments that don’t have people in them. When I get in the water, I always try to think of composition and backdrops for waves and when I finish school will be travelling to find new locations to shoot at.
Are there any little spots you love shooting?
Yeah, I love going on adventures with mates and finding little waves that haven’t been surfed, it’s a vibe and I love capturing those moments. Taking photos with other photographers in the water is also really sick, comparing photos and trying to get the shot.
Are there any goals you have that you want to pursue in photography?
I just love photography and would love to go down that career path. I know that it is so hard but that’s my goal. I can’t wait to try out new equipment and with that, mix up my photography. For now, it’s just trying to get better at what I do.
I have so many extra-curricular activities that I am a part of and it’s hard to get time to take photos. But when I get the chance to have some time with my camera, when the waves are pumping, when there is a mad sunset or when I know I have the chance to create a stunning image.
Rad. Any final words?
Young, Free, Alright! is a fortnightly editorial series presented by Coastalwatch and Arnette showcasing and profiling young and up-and-coming photographers, filmmakers, bloggers, artists, musicians, shapers, surfers or whatevers that we've been digging. The rad and creative groms of Australian surfing. Alright!
To follow the developing talent of 15 year old student photog Kris Martyn, and not the singer of Coldplay, check out his blog.
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