Caleb Martin is a a 20-year old photographer and student footballer from Oak Ridge Tennessee. With a passion for film photography he spends his time revisiting his lost love to capture the world around him during lockdown. Using his time to capture moments in the ever-changing landscape around him. A sense of longing toward the past while a keen eye to capture loneliness in seen in his images.
We get to know this young photographer...
Tell me about yourself...
I am from Oak Ridge Tennessee. It’s a small town located in East Tennessee about 20 minutes from Knoxville TN
What do you do?
As I mentioned I’m going to school, majoring in sports management and playing collegiate football. Other than that on my free time I make photos and spend time with family and friends.
What made you pursue photography?
It was more of me revisiting a lost love for photography than pursuing something new. I’ve always had a thing for capturing moments on the family cameras or looking back on old photos in family photo books, so I finally decided one day that it’s something I wanted to take serious and get back into myself.
What cameras do you use?
Right now I’m using a Minolta X700 I chose this camera simply because I didn’t see many people using it. There’s something about Minolta brand that I’m drawn to and I still don’t know what it is. I’d rather be different and have something like this than the hyped up Canon cameras.
I choose film for the slow and thoughtful process. Plus the nostalgic feel you get making the images and seeing them afterwards
Who are some photographers who need recognition?
I’d like to see my girlfriend Brooklyn and a friend I’ve recently made in the film community, John Beltran get some recognition. You can find their work on Instagram. Brooklyn’s account is @g_photography101 and Johns is @johnsbeltran
What are you trying to present in a photo?
I don’t think I’ve really created a theme or idea of what I’m trying to get my audience to see yet. I really just take photos of moments or scenes that I feel represent my mood that day or a mood I’ve wanted to express but only can capture on camera. Although recently I’ve noticed in my work that I’m naturally created these walk thru kind of sequences in my photography, it’s actually pretty cool to see when I get my scans back.
How does film present a sense of nostalgia?
To me film gives off nostalgia just simply because it’s what our ancestors and parents grew up on. It’s the same quality that was used back then just in a modern age. So I don’t think it’s anything special besides that simple obvious fact.
How has lockdown changed your attitude toward culture?
Lockdown is what really got me to find this love for photography and I’m grateful for that. Although it’s a terrible time I’m blessed to be healthy and in a way I wouldn’t change what happened if I could. I say this because it’s given me time to really think about life and what I want out of it. I started to ask myself if I needed certain things and what I wanted to make me happy. I think this lockdown has really showed the culture around me that life is short and things can change overnight. We should really focus on what matters in this short life rather than be wrapped up in things that will be gone in few years.
How are you adapting your shooting style to lockdown?
Since I starred shooting during this lockdown I don’t know that I’m having to adapt to much really, because I haven’t shot yet outside of lockdown.
There is a key insight into American culture in your photography, why this style?
I think I’m drawn to that style because it’s something I long for. Being from the East coast and living here all my life I want to travel and go out west. There’s so much out there I want to see and I’m even more eager now that I’m shooting film.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is love, it can be any and everything you want it to be. And it’s always changing, it’s never right or wrong it’s just whatever you see or think. That’s the beauty of it and why I love it and why I view it as a form of love and expressing love in a way.
What have you noticed from American culture on lockdown?
For me I’ve noticed that lockdown doesn’t really mean anything to the ones I’m around. Maybe that’s because it’s not so bad out this way or that the culture around here is to just not care and do what you want anyway. When I’m out most the time I still see people doing normal activities and not much has changed.
Is there a sense of community on lockdown?
I think there are many communities that have grown or gotten stronger in this lockdown. With everyone being home we really have no choice but to learn more about the things and people we are surrounded by and involved with. I see my communities definitely coming together more now that this has happened
Is there a sense of abandonment in communities in the US?
This is definitely seen, I said that not much has changed but that was just like for my small town where I live. In bigger cities around me the abandonment definitely has shown. Places that never saw closing or decrease in business are completely empty and it’s almost a scary movie type scene in these environments
What's your future plans?
For photography I plan to just keep going and documenting my life so it’s there to always be remembered. Outside of photography I plan to graduate college and pursue my athletic career in playing professional football. Hopefully both aspects allow me to do a lot of traveling and seeing all of this world that I can
I think society will wake up to be honest. We will stop thinking we have all the time in the world to do things because we see now how easy and fast stuff can change
Im a huge soccer fan. I play FIFA on PS4 religiously and I watch as much soccer as I can. My favorite team is PSG, mostly because of Neymar Jr.