Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Luke Foley-Martin, a 16-year-old from Auckland. Although I study at high school, in my spare time I’m pushing to build my photography skills. One day, once I’ve left school, I’d like to be a professional photographer.
When and why did you start taking photos?
My dad has been a big inspiration for me — he has always supported my dream of hopefully becoming a world-renowned photographer. He was a professional photographer in the 70s and 80s himself, so understands the buzz I get from getting that perfect shot. Dad actually gave me his collection of old cameras, including an Asahi Pentax Sv from 1962 and a Voigtlander Vito from 1954, so I have grown up always being interested in photography. I started taking my first photos on my first point-and-shoot camera at my intermediate school camp. At the age of 13, Dad introduced me to the DSLR, and from there, I just fell in love with it. My first professional photoshoot was shooting a wedding at 15. Now, I currently shoot with a Canon 5d MkIII. I truly believe that the arts are really important for our identity and culture and so I’ve always had a natural inclination to be creative and to express myself in artistic ways, but it is nice having a family that has supported me from the beginning.
I’m influenced by international and local trends, but I take pride in creating my own style. I find it important to add my own spin on the work I produce. When people look at my photos I want them to say, “that looks like Luke’s work.” Although I’m into experimenting, I’m also very collaborative by nature. I really enjoy working closely alongside clients, even those who have very high expectations, as this pushes me to go out to every photoshoot aspiring for the best work I can produce and meet the needs of my clients. Photography is very much about your relationships with people as it is about getting the best shots.
I continue to look for inspiration in unlikely places such as in architecture and even in packaging design. To keep working the way I do I have to keep trying out new things, for example minimalist fashion photographer Paul Jung has been my major influence this year and I’ve been working to incorporate this into my own style I’m developing.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
I’m still trying to get experience doing a variety of different types of photography. So far I’ve really enjoyed fashion shoots, in particular working at NZ Fashion Week has been a real highlight for me. I got to work alongside models, designers, fellow photographers and sponsor brands like Mercedes Benz. It’s really opened my eyes up to the fashion world and I had a great time. I’ve also recently started doing work for the Auckland Symphony Orchestra. It has been challenging capturing all of their talent in a single frame, but it has been really inspiring for me to develop skills in that area. Also I’ve been lucky enough to have up-and-coming fashion brands getting in touch to collaborate on some shoots for their latest season collections which has been fun. I guess we’re all newcomers on the scene and we’re all trying to catch a break, so for me working with breakthrough brands and designers means we all understand each other and push each other to produce really fashion-forward work together.
What is your dream project?
My dream project would be photographing for a lead shoot for Vogue or Vanity Fair. If I could get my photo on the front cover of an international fashion magazine I would be over the moon. A long way to go yet, but hey, if Lorde can crack the global music industry from little ol’ New Zealand, then perhaps there’s still hope for me yet!