WANDA MARTIN
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine|February 2020
Hungary is a nation synonymous with great photographers and Wanda Martin is the latest name to emerge from that artistic pedigree. Now based in London, she tells Keith Wilson why she feels more at home here than in Budapest…
Keith Wilson

WIKIPEDIA will tell you that Broadway Market is “an east London street running from London Fields to the Regent’s Canal in the London Borough of Hackney.” But, to the trendsetters working a stone’s throw away in Shoreditch, Broadway Market is a lot more than that. According to fashion and music photographer Wanda Martin, the café we meet in is, “in the middle of the hipster area, so they’re bound to have oat milk”. Being twice the age of the average clientele and without a beard, I feel out of my comfort zone. Wanda on the other hand, with her bright red lipstick, arched eyebrows and dark shoulder length hair, looks as comfortable as a lioness surveying her domain. She greets me with a radiant smile that stays in place for nearly the entire length of our hour-long interview; filled with infectious chatter, poignant stories and bursts of laughter over copious cups of flat white coffee. Served with oat milk…

Tell me about your background. You’re from Hungary and your dad was a photographer…

That’s right. My dad lives in the countryside of Hungary and he was the one that first taught me. He’s still doing photography. Growing up, I was interested in art history because we have some film directors in the family and theatre directors and a sculptor, so I grew up with art from day one. My dad didn’t want me to be a photographer because I always got good grades at school. He wanted me to do something more financially stable and normal!

We’ve all heard that!

Exactly. Then art happened and I started painting first and my images are inspired by paintings. Even in my fashion work I’m inspired by paintings, especially from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Was it your dad that gave you your first camera back then?

Yes. The first pictures I took were of things like raindrops on flowers, that sort of thing. My Mum and I went travelling a lot, so the camera would come with me. Then I started taking pictures of myself, self-portraits, when I was around 16. I’m from this little town in southeast Hungary, near the Romanian border, and I started photographing my girlfriends, because they all wanted pretty pictures of themselves and there was already a fashion element to it, even back then.

Did you find fashion photography quite a natural thing to move into?

Yes, even though my dad started out doing photo journalism, later he started doing advertising and fashion and was doing really well in Hungary. When I went to university, I moved to Budapest and studied fine art and conceptual photography. I was 18 and my first flat mate there was a fashion designer – that’s how I first got involved: “Oh, you have a nice camera, would you like to take some pictures of my collection?” And eventually, I just got more and more commissions from Hungarian magazines, which gave me opportunity to work with emerging fashion designers in Hungary.

What brought you to London?

It was in year three at university and I had this chance to apply for the Erasmus Mundus Masters Degree, a European scholarship, and my dream was to live in London, even though I had never been here before that.

Why London and not another west European city, like Paris or Milan?

First of all, it was the literature that I liked, the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen – the romantic writers. Then, later, I got involved with the rock and roll music scene and punk culture was centred on London. So, as soon as I finished university in Hungary in 2014 I started on the Masters Fashion Photography course in London. Then I graduated and I’ve been freelancing ever since.

You have built up an impressive list of clients and brands quickly; you must be very busy?

I’m working constantly, even when I’m not everything inspires me. Whether I’m walking in the street, or when I go out. I shoot on 35mm when I go to gigs and always have this 35mm film camera with me and just take pictures. All my other work is on digital cameras, but some personal projects I shoot on film.

Film is having a renaissance with some professionals, as well as students, who love seeing the printed image appear in the tray…

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PHOTOPLUS : THE CANON MAGAZINEView All

INSPIRATIONS

STUNNING IMAGERY FROM THE WORLD OF CANON PHOTOGRAPHY

4 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

Taylor Brady

Mother of two Canon pro, Taylor, has plenty of experience photographing her little ones growing up and has turned her passion into a career

4 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

Keep it local

James Paterson shows you how to target areas of a landscape with Photoshop tools and make powerful local adjustments

3 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

MARK CARWARDINE

We catch up with the prolific Canon pro wildlife photographer

4 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

To Rum From Eigg

The Isle of Eigg, Scotland. 11 January 2011

3 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

JOIN THE REVOLUTION

Meet the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 – the full-frame mirrorless cameras that are changing the game for photographers and film-makers

3 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

It's a dog's life

Dan Mold shows you how to use Animal AF for pin-sharp pet portraits

3 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

How to replace a tropical background

James Paterson shows how to change backdrops in Affinity Photo

3 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

Impossible bouquets

James Paterson crafts a towering, beautiful, flower arrangement

6 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021

Fake fire backdrops

Dan Mold lights his fire like Hollywood’s method for shooting fake backdrops, but on a much smaller silver screen at home

6 mins read
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine
February 2021
RELATED STORIES

AMAZON OPENS FIRST UK CHECKOUT-FREE GROCERY STORE IN LONDON

Amazon has opened a cashier-free supermarket in London, its first bricks and mortar expansion outside the U.S. as the company bets on strong demand for its contactless shops.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #488

Extremely Online and Wildly Out of Control

Patricia Lockwood’s debut novel explores the mind, and heart, of an internet-addled protagonist.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
March 2021

LONDON TEA PARTY

HOW JOE BONAMASSA DECAMPED TO ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS WITH BERNIE MARSDEN AND FORMER CREAM LYRICIST PETE BROWN TO WRITE AND RECORD ROYAL TEA, AN ALBUM THAT’S BURSTING WITH THAT BRITISH BLUES BOOM

7 mins read
Guitar World
January 2021

UBER GETS 18-MONTH LONDON LICENSE AFTER WINNING COURT APPEAL

Uber can keep operating in London for another year and a half after winning its appeal of a decision by the British capital’s transit regulator not to renew its license.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #466

DEPP'S NEW FLICK ANOTHER DUD!

He’s no longer a sure thing at the box office, sources dished

1 min read
National Enquirer
September 07, 2020

GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY GOODNESS

The Lake Havasu Gem & Mineral Society (LHGMS) is one of those fortunate clubs across the country that recently passed the 50-year threshold of servicing its local rockhounding, lapidary, gem and jewelry-loving community. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment by a lot of members and energetic and visionary leadership over many years, to ensure the continuing success of a gem and mineral society.

8 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
September 2020

Harry& Meghan: AT WAR WITH THE QUEEN

WITH PRINCE HARRY BY HER SIDE, MEGHAN MARKLE GOES PUBLIC WITH HER GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE WINDSORS, SETTING THE STAGE FOR A BATTLE ROYAL.

2 mins read
Star
July 27, 2020

In the Realm of Legends

Nestled along the rugged western coast of Great Britain, Wales is a country unlike any other

6 mins read
Business Traveler
July/August 2020

TOP GUN

An exclusive Q&A with world number one golfer and Omega brand ambassador Rory McIlroy

7 mins read
Maxim
July - August 2020

JESSICA RIMONDI MOMENTS

Images of everyday life

3 mins read
Art Market
Issue #47 May 2020