Johnny Martyr: Shoot to Kiss


Johnny Martyr, the artist at work

Old school does it good for photographer Johnny Martyr. Using manual cameras and black & white 35mm film, he is a deft, hands-on composer of captivating and trustworthy documentary portraits of people and events as well as of compassionate images of miscellaneous objects and urban decay. Martyr’s use of non-automated cameras and “available light” requires a deliberation and commitment to the subject that translates in his photos on an emotional level. His work is informed by a belief that beauty is everywhere, but is best enjoyed when people and events are portrayed as they are without posing or editing.

On why he loves film, he has this to say: “The grain, the latitude, the feel, the history. The accidents that turn out beautifully and take you on entirely new tangents that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise… also the cameras themselves– chrome, leather, knobs, dials, and levers that all fit comfortably in the hand. They all have the same basic ideas and functions at their core and yet there are millions of nuanced iterations to accommodate millions of nuanced tastes and purposes.”

Johnny Martyr is a professional film photographer. He is a graduate of film school. He is also a wedding photo vet, and runs with his wife a wedding photo boutique in Northern Maryland. Martyr shoots on a diverse array of equipment, but 35mm film with vintage and classic manual cameras are where his attention is centered. Martyr holds that the organic qualities of film create a captivating and timeless atmosphere as well as a signature of authenticity and class.