The Rural We: Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis has been interested in photography since his college days in the U.K., shooting in black and white and spending long hours in the darkroom. He’s travelled widely and has a large oeuvre documenting his excursions. After moving to Millbrook, New York a few years ago, his work has taken inspiration from the countryside and the flora found here. Martin lives with his wife Emma Sweeney, a literary agent, and their two dogs, Christy and Maddie, at Sunset Hill Farm. An exhibit of his most recent work will be shown at Merritt Bookstore, opening with a reception for the artist on Saturday, March 11 at 4 p.m.
Photography has been a hobby of mine since my early college days; I started when I was 18. I’ve been a finance guy most of my life, but when we moved to Millbrook, and as I get closer to retirement age, it’s become even more of a hobby.
I’m Welsh and I grew up in England, then went abroad for work. I came to the U.S. in 1986 with an American bank and got transferred to NYC. I was living in Greenwich, Connecticut after divorcing in 2013, and Emma had been living in Rhinebeck, New York, when we met at one of those PEN dinners. A mutual friend, Ron Chernow, had just written the Hamilton biography on which the musical would later be based. We were married within a year, and ended up in this old 1860 Colonial, beautiful old house that needed a bit of work.
We live on a six-acre property, a former farm, and we hope to be growing fruits and vegetables within the next year. We’re both home lovers, and we love pottering around in the garden, especially Emma.
The photographs going up at the Merritt Bookstore are more recent, taken since moving to Millbrook, and are really motivated by the landscape, plants, flowers and vegetables. They range from traditional landscapes, to photographs of plants in the style of Karl Blossfeldt, a British photographer working in the 1930s and known for his detailed examination of plants. A lot of what I’ve been doing lately is photographing plants, especially when they’re decaying, because that’s when the structure really comes out.
As I travel around, I like finding the abstract in the nature. I don’t set up a re-creation, I’m a more traditional photographer in that I like to finding the anomalies and strange things that already exist in real life.