Wildflower photographer Kathryn Martin

17 May 2021 | Posted in Emma Chaplin , Plants
Wildflower photographer Kathryn Martin
Field poppy © Kathryn Martin

Photographer Kathryn Martin moved to Southease, near the Ouse, in 2014, where she has learnt about and photographed the wild flowers on the South Downs. 

She is holding a wildflower photography exhibition, donating £5 to the Trust from every print sold. Emma Chaplin visited her and spoke to her in her garden.

Goats Beard   6901 landscape Kathryn Martin

Goats beard

Tells us a bit about yourself  

In the late 1990s I started working for different environmental organisations in London where I set up community food growing projects and connected people to the natural world through creating community gardens. This led to an interest in wildflowers and their habitat.

I noticed that flowers would grow out of cracks and rubble and was inspired by an 18th century book about wild flowers in London. with beautiful copper plate engravings by William Curtis, called Flora Londinensis

There's a walk I often repeat near my home on the South Downs Way, from the brooks in Southease to the brow of Itford Hill, and as time went on, I became more and more aware of the flowers I could see. 

Cow parsley   5655 landscape kathryn martin

Cow Parsley

A neighbour helped me identify them, then I began to create, using my camera, 49 images of wildflowers, and it's this series that will shortly be exhibited. . 

I wanted to highlight the delicate, fragile beauty of our native wildflowers, as these plants are often overlooked or dismissed as weeds. Wildflower habitats such as these are in sharp decline but are a vital source of food and shelter for countless species of wildlife.

I believe in education to help the climate crisis. I'm passionate about people understanding the importance of protecting habitats. We tend to take things like wildflowers for granted. The loss of wildflower meadows in this country [98%] is insane  It's my belief that, if you reach people and show them wildlife, they will make a connection and take ownership of it. 

Most people assume they're paintings, but as a photographer, I draw with light.

Lady's bedstraw   7174 landcsape kathryn martin

Lady's Bedstraw

Tell us about the exhibition.

The series is titled: 'Come, see real flowers of this painful world.' which comes from a haiku poem by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), who wandered throughout Japan in search of new sights and experiences. His simple, unpretentious, honest words resonate strongly with me. 

Inspired by Zen, Basho sought to celebrate nature, "whether his ears heard thunder or bird-song, whether his foot brushed flower or mud, he was intensely alive to the preciousness of all that shared the world with him." (Stryk).

Wild carrot   7280 landscape kathryn martin

Wild Carrot

Thank you for supporting the Sussex Wildlife Trust with the sales of your photographs

A pleasure. My children are members of the Trust and I want to protect the management of the species I love so much. 

I believe in the "putting back" model. 

Kathryn Martin and children

See Kathryn's photographs from Friday 21st May - Saturday 5th June online and at egg shop

Each one is 10 x 8 inch archival pigment print. All photographs are printed on Inbe washi paper (hemp and kozo fibre paper).

£5 from each print will be donated to Sussex Wildlife Trust. There are 50 prints of each flower so sales will continue through her website if not all are sold during the event.

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