I was born in Belfast and worked in IT for the film and music industry for many years. Although I was working in a creative industry I was not being creative in my work. I was always interested in photography as an art form and had toyed with the medium as a hobby. In 2007 I decided I needed a change of direction for a short while. I put together a portfolio of work, applied to the University of Brighton, got accepted, quit my job, sold my house and moved to Brighton in August 2008. Now I am a photographer.
I picked the University of Brighton because I had attended some photography night classes and asked the tutors for recommendations and it seemed that Brighton was a name that was frequently mentioned. My cousin is a professional photographer and at the time I was choosing a university she was thinking of applying to Brighton's Photography MA course, so she also had a bit of an influence on me.
I liked being away from the London scene. Brighton is more relaxed and you feel less pressurised to compete with the big London art scene, which is mainly hype. Good work will always flourish no matter where it is made. If you want to, it is still easy to engage with events and happenings in London as it's less than an hour away.
Since graduating I have been collaborating with another recent photography graduate. Our venture is called 'Where Will You Spend Eternity' (WWYSE). The first artist book Vol.1 has been published and it has been received well.
We want to publish more of our own work and the work of other photographers. We have lots of ideas for new projects that incorporate interesting ways to publish work.
I'd also like to do some editorial work for magazines and work on commissions. I'm going to be approaching some editors with ideas for features.
Over the next eight months I will return to Northern Ireland to finish shooting my project 'I have troubles'. I plan to make a book from that work and self-publish it next year through our WWYSE venture.
I am also working with several filmmakers and photographers on a proposal for a gallery exhibition next year.
Martin Seeds, 2011
No, I never made any long-term plans to study for a BA. It was a quite a spur of the moment decision but one with big implications.
In the end, yes it has. It was slow to begin with but I think I needed that gradual introduction and perhaps it was a good thing not to be in such a hurry - quality work takes time to produce.
The Graduate Show was the highlight for me. Seeing all our efforts from the last three years culminate in a great exhibition and celebration.
The course is very self-directed - there isn't really a "typical" day. Of course we have weekly time-tabled lectures and tutorials but most of the time it is up to the individual. You have all the facilities and help you need to get on with producing work but it boils down to self-motivation and dedication.
I would say don't come expecting to be 'taught' how to be a good photographer. I don't think any course can do that. The tutors recognize potential, guide you, nurture and fine tune your talent, but you have to make a big effort and you need to be totally committed. Even after you graduate the staff are always there to help when they can.
I think the change from working in a nine-to-five routine job and from thinking in a very logical, literal way to a more open and creative mindset has been the biggest transition.