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AWARDS 2019 WINNER FOCUS: Martin Brent

8 January 2020

BRENT MARTIN 1593 3 copy

© Martin Brent

We catch up with Gold Award Winner Martin Brent, who tells us more about the story behind his stunning series shot in Miami.  A regular exhibitor in the Awards Martin offers his advice to photographers considering entering this years Awards.

Tell us more about your Selected series, what’s the story behind it? 

To honour the buildings as they once were I wanted to incorporate indicators of contemporary life in the images from Miami South Beach's Art Deco district.  The images are my reaction to seeing the buildings as individual survivors of the era The district contains 950 historic buildings in the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern style and should create a cohesive whole but somehow don’t.   I found the district a little run down, cracking at the edges and with Miami's changing reputation, these buildings memorialise a bygone era. 

Street level is chaotic and sadly a little tacky so I wanted to exclude that, breaking the buildings off at their base by moving my frame up made them feel more like individual survivors.  Many of the buildings are wearing new coats of paint but the preparation seems to be minimal, paining over the cracks which also seems a metaphor for the way society decides to ignore its ills and look back to a ‘golden age’. So to emphasise this I emphasised the distinct pastel colours giving the images what I hoped would be a timeless quality and a feel of Art Deco illustrations and publications of the time. 


© Martin Brent, GOLD - Personal, Environment, Series, Photography Awards 2019


Can you tell us something surprising about the images?

Yes these buildings are there for real, anyone heading to South Beach could find these buildings and see they haven’t been manipulated beyond my treatment mentioned above.



© Martin Brent, GOLD - Personal, Environment, Series, Photography Awards 2019


What impact has being a winner in last year’s awards had on your career? 

Hard to say, like the CEO of Pepsi Co said, 'Half the money we spend on advertising is wasted, we just don’t know which half'

Seriously I've had a lot of great comments and feedback, new project managers have been in touch and its led to being asked to exhibit in art shows too.

Its a great reminder that you’re still there and current too.   Just because you’re ‘established’ it doesn’t mean you can’t be forgotten. Its also a reminder to keep evolving and looking at new ways to create images.  AOP is still THE pinnacle award for the UK, to be a member of AOP and to win an award does actually mean something.


© Martin Brent, GOLD - Personal, Environment, Series, Photography Awards 2019

What does the AOP do for you? 

The AOP won’t do anything for you if you just sit there.  Its a tool and resource that will greatly assist you in building a career,  apart from that get involved, join a committee or working group, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.


Will you enter the next awards?

Yes I almost always enter the Awards.


Have you got any advice for photographers considering entering the next awards?

Don't look at what won last year and try to copy it, don’t look for an ‘awards style’. Every time I've had images in the book or won it was something completely different to what won the previous year.

Obviously there are fashions and trends that will always seep in and that’s fine but try to be yourself.   Have confidence in YOUR vision and invest in it rather than someone elses.

Finally you have to be in it to win it.  if I had a quid for all the times Ive heard people moaning about the Awards and what got through or won an Award that never actually entered themselves… well i'd be retired by now and tapping this out from a boat in Monte Carlo.  

View more of Martin's work in Find a Photographer

Further information about the Awards 2020 

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