dan martensen's year in photos
Deia, Frederikke Sofie, Binx Walton, Luna Bijl, Malibu. This is 12 months in the life of photographer Dan Martensen.
We asked a handful of our favourite photographers to look back at 2018 and remember it through the photographs they took. From i-D contributions to personal pictures of friends, family and strangers on the street, this is Dan Martensen: My Year in Photos.
Photographer Dan Martensen has been contributing to i-D for many years now. From a vibrant journey across Rio de Janeiro the summer it hosted the World Cup, to a brooding fashion story spotlighting the brightest new faces in the industry, his work is diverse, yet united by a recognisable depth and grandeur. Photos from one of his most ambitious projects -- a series entitled Wolves Like Us: Portraits of the Angulo Brothers, that followed the brothers of Crystal Moselle's documentary The Wolfpack -- appeared on the pages of i-D, and captured the uniqueness of the once-isolated brothers' situation with sincerity and authenticity. Elsewhere Dan has shot for Vogue, Self Service and WSJ, and collaborated with brands like Nike, Alexander Wang and Mugler.
This photo is an outtake from a shoot I did with Kirsty Hume. I shot it when she wasn’t looking and when everyone on set was busy doing something else. I wasn’t even looking through the viewfinder, I just shot it from the hip.
In February I went to Malta for a job. We had been scouting all over the island, it’s a strange place. Too many cars if you ask me. Along the route and on these sandy bluffs I found this amazing series of tags by someone I suppose must be named Pele. Pele had been back every year since, like, 1975.
In March I spent a week in Deia and shot Frederikke Sofie. I met this photographer Kate who let us shoot at her incredible little house. She told me, “you should see how beautiful it is when they burn fires, the sun comes through and lights up the mountainside.” So she lit a fire and I took this photo of Fred, laughing in the beautiful backlit smokey sun.
In April I got a chance to shoot for British Vogue for the first time. I was elated. So happy to work for them, with my wife Clare, and to be able to shoot Binx for the first time as well. Binx’s energy is amazing -- calm yet electric. This picture stayed with me.
In May I shot for Vogue Paris in Seaside Heights, New Jersey -- aka The Jersey Shore. Literally the town they shot the TV show in. I loved this shot of Luna Bijl, the light, the rusty car, the eye into camera... It’s my favourite shot from that shoot.
I didn’t realise how much it would change my life meeting Jose Andres. I knew about his talents as a chef, but I was struck more by his powerful personality and his obvious ability to lead give so selflessly to those in need. Jose with his NGO, World Central Kitchen, has fed millions of hungry people affected by climate change and natural disaster. The day I took this photograph Jose asked me if I would come to Guatemala with him to help document their efforts helping people cut off from food and water by a volcano eruption. This experience has made me rethink the path I’d take in my own career.
In July I visited London with my wife and daughter. We saw family, took a trip to the New Forrest, and at one point saw our very dear friend, Lucy. Lucy’s house is something magic. I found my daughter and Lucy’s niece and nephew playing in the sink as Lucy cleaned up. I love this photo so much, it really captures the beauty of that day.
We went to my favourite island this August. It’s the same island I spent a week or two every summer as a child, the same island on which I proposed to my wife and, in this image, my daughter is leaning over the dock to see the minnows. It's the same dock I once leant over as a child.
I had to get my photo taken for a visa. I had a real long beard because I didn’t trim it all summer. When I got the photo back it looked like a Chuck Close or something. I usually don’t share many photos of myself, but this one’s pretty cool. I wish it was an 8x10 polaroid like Chuck used, or better yet a painting he made of it.
In October I photographed the amazing Julia Garner. I love her on Ozark. She’s crass, tough as hell and sort of unpredictably crazy. I was slightly terrified to shoot her. Turns out she’s a sweetheart, so kind and calm.
I did not take this photo. As I had said about documenting Jose and the World Central Kitchen, I was asked if I could come to Paradise California to shoot their efforts in helping feed the victims of the fires there. I couldn’t leave town so I sent my assistants. They did a fantastic job finding their way behind the lines.
I shot this photo somewhat illegally. I must’ve driven past this wave billboard more than 100 times. We were shooting a story for Self Service, a “Malibu” story. Luna was wearing this amazing orange jumpsuit and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that she would be contrasting with this wave. I kind of insisted we try and climb up on top of it and take a photo. Lucky for me everyone went along with it, even the people who, unbeknownst to me, ran a photo gallery in a small door behind the billboard.
Photography Dan Martensen