It was back in 2013 that our sister magazine ProPhoto featured a portfolio by Ray Martin alongside Bruce Usher’s interview with him, revealing that although best known for his award-winning reporting and interviewing skills, Ray Martin has spent almost as much time taking photographs.
Now Ken Duncan’s Gallery is hosting ‘Ray’s World’ – Ray Martin’s first major photographic exhibition, featuring an eclectic compilation of images that include dazzling landscapes, haunting portraits, bustling European street scenes, graphic aerial shots and tranquil Asian temples.
The exhibition opens today, 14 July, and runs until 23 July, and Ray Martin will be there in person both this weekend and next (July 15th & 16th, plus July 22nd & 23rd), available to chat with visitors and sign copies of his books on the weekends.
These days will include special one-hour audio visual presentations “In Conversation with Ray” – bookings are essential for these private sessions, cost $40, click here for details.
There are also screening of the ‘Chasing the Light’ documentary (preview above), where Ken Duncan and Ray Martin venture into the Kimberley region of W.A., discovering a connection with the land he never expected – and a view of the Australian landscape his camera will never fully capture. Screenings are daily at 10.30, 12 noon, 1.30pm and 3pm, subject to availability, price $10.
“What excites me about Ray’s photography is that he doesn’t allow himself to get bound up by technicality,” says Ken Duncan. “He keeps it simple and gets stunning shots. I believe we can all learn – as even I have – from his simple approach.”
As ProPhoto’s article back in 2013 revealed, one key influence on Martin’s photography was George Silk, who died in 2004. Silk was hired as a combat photographer for the Australian Ministry of Information, before working for Life magazine from 1943, and Martin met him several times while on assignment.
“He was wonderful, talking about his exploits in North Africa and Papua New Guinea,” Martin recalled in his interview with Bruce Usher. “But he had to be asked. Like the diggers themselves, he didn’t volunteer too much. He talked a lot about shooting for Life and for Sports Illustrated which were obviously a labour of love… and his pictures reflected his special talents.
“I used to sit at the feet of the great man and ask him lots of questions about cameras. He was generous in listening to my youthful opinions and looking at my snaps. He often suggested how to improve them.
I knew from the outset that he was a legend and treated him accordingly. He was free of airs, graces or bullshit. He was also very dapper, always colour co-ordinated in his dress and distinguished-looking with his sweptback grey hair. He looked more like a surgeon, or perhaps a corporate lawyer.
“Once he took my cheap Konica camera and snapped half a roll off with it just to show that it wasn’t all about ‘having expensive gear’. He proved his point unquestionably. I don’t know where those photos are now, probably somewhere in one of my boxes. After the Konica, I went up to a Contax – and I chose that over the Leica – then I started to take a lot of pictures. I used to soak up all the things I could get from him.”
After George Silk, Ray found himself gravitating towards the cinematographers he knew who were also good photographers, among them Dickie Malone and Andy Taylor.
And photography fans may like to note that Epson tells us all the displayed images have been printed to archival quality on an Epson SureColor P9070 printer with Ultrachrome HDX inks. The SureColor P9070 is a large format printer designed for premium photo, fine art and proofing work, supporting a wide range of standard and specialist media in roll and sheet formats. More info: www.epson.com.au/Prographics/
Entry to the Ken Duncan Gallery is free, the address is 414 The Entrance Road, Erina Heights, NSW 2260: click here for more details.