Martin Toft is a photographer, collector and educator who works on commissions and personal long-term independent projects. He was born in Aarhus, Denmark in 1970 and left in 1993 to embark on travelling around the world. He came to live in London in 1996 and stayed in England until he moved in 2004 to his current place of residence Jersey, Channel Islands. Martin has over 20 years of experience working freelance in documentary and editorial photography as well as teaching photography across all ages from A-level students to higher education, providing private tuition for individuals and running photography workshops for community-based organisations as well as organising photo-trips in different locations around the world on street photography and visual storytelling.
His personal work is combining documentary and fine art practice with exploring important social, anthropological and cultural themes. As a photographer, Martin emerges himself in communities, often for months at a time and over many years, in order to learn and understand the language, traditions and heritage of his subjects. In recent years he has re-examined his own role as a documentary photographer by questioning traditional modes of representation and disrupting western linear narrative by exploring other modes of recording such as performance, video and sound. This approach to storytelling is to include himself more in the process of image-making and thereby making visible the production of photography as an exchange between author, subject and spectator.
Martin is also interested in the creative process of combining image and text as well as exploring collaborative possibilities of photography engaging with visual archives, both historical and contemporary. This interdisciplinary approach in both process and production of new work is best illustrated in his passion for making and collecting photo books. As an avid collector of photo books over 20 years Martin is working towards establishing his own imprint Pouma Pokaiwhenua* and he is currently re-editing and re-designing 4 personal book projects. *(A Maori native name given to him in 1996 by the Mangapapapa tribe along the Whanganui River on the North Island of New Zealand meaning; Pillar of Purity and Food of the Earth)