Shutter Hub member Kit Martin is a photographer whose work is inspired by and sometimes actually made from the natural world. She enjoys collaboration and works with natural history collections in museums as well as on her own out at the seashore and experimenting in her garage darkroom.
Kit is very concerned about biodiversity loss and is a member of various invertebrate conservation groups and gets involved with citizen science. She is currently learning about and participating Scotland’s Just and Green Recovery from Covid and is keen on the restoration of ecosystems (or rewilding).
‘At the moment I find it hard to discuss myself and my work, because it is all up in the air. I will always be interested in darkroom processes and in natural history and will get back to these in a more peaceful and thoughtful way sometime, but for now I think it is mostly about scattered thinking and learning, organising work and using up things I have around me.’
Catalogue of curiosities came about through her talking to a printmaker friend who, because her annual winter open studio couldn’t happen as it usually does, put together an excellent digital brochure of work. Since she too had an open studio and art market events cancelled and with other projects on hold, she decided to get busy making her own.
‘I spent a very full and frantic two weeks agonisingly organising and photographing work that I have languishing in my workroom and darkroom. There was a surprising amount not yet photographed, mainly cyanotypes and lumens – an annoying weakness of mine. What a satisfying process for an extremely unorganised person.
The part I really enjoyed was staging scenes in the house to show some work in situ. I got my big studio lights out for the first time in a long time and knocked holes in the wall when my husband wasn’t looking. I have a collection of butterflies from a second-hand shop and various wings, skulls and eggs (not taken from nests, I promise) as well as some old boxes and insects that I have collected (dead), inexpertly pinned and displayed in tiny domes. These became props and I had a lovely time, for a few days feeling busy and fruitful again.’
The result is a digital catalogue that brings together work she has made over the past few years for specific exhibitions and projects as well as to experiment and learn. There are cyanotype editions, original seashore cyanotypes and argyrotypes, lumen prints, digital open editions and fabric wall hangings. All have links with the natural world that she cares deeply about.
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