Martyn Thompson Studio



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                                        "Memory Lane"                                 Martyn Thompson

                                 "Memory Lane"                             Martyn Thompson

I’m currently in a blackout at 88 Prince St… there’s a total electric and water
shut-down in the building for overnight repair work. It’s fun… a bit like camping.
It’s nearly 5.30 am, Saturday morning… I couldn't (can’t) sleep… a bit of a jet lag scenario after being in London this week. I’m surrounded by little candles and 2 flasks… one tea, one hot water (prepared last night), I go in search of things,
not with a flashlight but, alas, with my iPhone…

                                "A Golden Age"                                        Martyn Thompson

                               "A Golden Age"                                  Martyn Thompson

In a weeks time I’m off to Tennessee — actually camping — I’m very much hoping this will be a phone free week… typically there is next to no reception there, which is about the only thing that will stop me. Yes… I’m sick to death of my phone addiction… it’s with me all the time… the constant checking of email and instagram etc… seeking momentary affirmations, that I didn’t used to need, with quite a startling frequency… 10 years ago I could barely even use a computer and I only figured out what “Google” is a few years back…

                                "Lee Miller, 1930"                                                  Man Ray

                                "Lee Miller, 1930"                                                Man Ray

Anyway… searching through images for the last newsletter I came across an old black and white contact sheet — one I thought completely lost. I wanted  to use these pictures immediately, but something told me to hold off… to be patient. The photos are from Farley Farm House, the home of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose… I think they might be the very first interiors story I ever shot… and of course it turns out that Lee Miller is a Taurus… is this coincidence? Or instinct?

                                  "Hearth"   Farley Farm House                           Martyn Thompson

                                "Hearth" Farley Farm House                           Martyn Thompson

There were color pictures too… shot on chrome (or transparency, as we say in other countries) — I don’t have these — they all went to the magazine… or there may perhaps be some “overs” buried in storage in London — storage that has been there now 16 years…. Untouched. Though every time I go to that city I take the key to the lockup, with good intentions…anyway, I deviate — generally in the old days, the film went to the magazine and I never saw it again. I wasn't really aware of “ archiving” — or getting old for that matter — so much has changed, in life and in photography. When I started working we shot on chrome… and then on negative and then digital… now a telephone…

                                "Resting"      Farley Farm House                     Martyn Thompson

                               "Resting"  Farley Farm House                     Martyn Thompson

On the subject of change… My assistant and I were allowed to just wander thru
the property, we poured through piles of memorabilia that nowadays would be roped off and guarded… You daren't lay a finger on anything; it’s all become so regimented. I remember being astonished — picking up a “match box”, which turned out to be a Man Ray… finding a Picasso in a rummage of papers… on closer inspection, every knick-knack turned out to be the work of a legend of the 20th century. I didn’t know enough about art history to totally appreciate what was in front of me… but I was enthralled, all the same.

                                "  Not Forgotten"                                          Martyn Thompson

                               "Not Forgotten"                                      Martyn Thompson

I am saying “we”… and there was a “we”… but truth is, I can’t remember who that was? Nor can I remember where the house was?  How we got there?  What year this was? Or any other details… Really I only remember being amazed at the matchbox. Memory is so selective. Yesterday, when Dove asked, I couldn’t immediately recall the name of the very first Brian Eno album… and yes — I felt ashamed — this is information that I believed entrenched for life…
but I do remember that he is also the sign of the bull.

                                 "  T  aurus"                           Sculpture by Dove Drury Hornbuckle

                               "Taurus"                         Sculpture by Dove Drury Hornbuckle

Taurus… an eye for beauty, down to earth, reliable. This sign is famously stubborn, yet, on the flip side, determined. I am fascinated by this flip/flop, yin/yang aspect of most everything. Is life that simple? Is it just down to my perception — whether I am looking to the positive, or the negative? And the rest of the Taurean… independent/self-indulgent, patient/lazy, sensual/possessive, practical/frugal, ambitious/materialistic.

                                 "Early Risers"                                                Martyn Thompson

                                "Early Risers"                                          Martyn Thompson

It’s light now… I love the early morning…  a peaceful reprieve in the ever busier SoHo I live in. I woke much too early with the Talking Heads song “first week/last week”, going round and round in my head… I couldn't get back to sleep, so thought I’d go swimming. But the pool wasn’t open and instead I got up and started writing this... maybe David Byrne, another Taurean, was subconsciously prompting me…