Walking the Earth | By Louis MartinsWalking the Earth | By Louis MartinsTravel Photography by London Photographer Louis Martins  

Page 1 | ForewordPage 1 | ForewordLouis is a photographer and film maker from London. In his first visual auto-biography Louis documents how he educated himself, developed his unique style and became a professional artist in moving and still imagery.

Walking the Earth is a vivid portrait of self-discovery, artistic awakening and spiritual growth.

Page 2 | 1980Page 2 | 1980

Page 3 | MapsPage 3 | Maps"When I was growing up I was fascinated by maps. I loved looking at all the colours and shapes and wondered what those places would be like to visit. You could say I had a desire to travel from an early age, but it wasn't until my late twenties that I turned that dream into a reality."

- Louis Martins

Page 4 | 2006Page 4 | 2006"In 2006 I was working in a corporate world, I wasn't enjoying it. Around that time I spoke to a friend about his time living in Asia. Travelling had always appealed to me from an early age, but I hadn't been brave enough to really consider it as an option. I guess fear was holding me back, but my friend helped to take the mystique away. He made it more accessible, the seed had been planted, now all it had to do was grow.

Working in London also helped me. I started meeting people from all over the world. It was only a matter of time before I took that giant step and committed myself to going on the adventure I had always dreamt of."

- Louis Martins

Page 5 | DreamsPage 5 | Dreams"He wished he were far away. Lost in a deep, vast country where nobody knew him. Somewhere without language, or streets. And he dreamed about this place without knowing its name."

- Quote from Paris, Texas

Page 6 | PoetryPage 6 | Poetry"I was a prisoner inside the four walls that were my life. The pressure was building one day at a time and I needed a release. It was around that time that I began to write poetry. Poetry was my therapy; it alleviated the pressure, releasing it from my mind in a positive way. Writing poetry had opened up a part of me that I never knew existed. I felt inspired, I began to look beyond the cage I had created for myself and started to search for a way out."

- Louis Martins

Page 7 | A Leap of FaithPage 7 | A Leap of Faith"I was on the verge of something great, something fundamental that would change my life forever. I chose to take a leap of faith and descend into the unknown. I had no concept of where I was going or what I would find. In time both those questions would be answered."

- Louis Martins

Page 8 | FreedomPage 8 | Freedom

Page 9 | 2007Page 9 | 2007"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free."

- Jim Morrison

Page 10 | Day OnePage 10 | Day One"In the beginning, as I was adjusting to life on the road, I felt disorientated and uncertain about where this path would lead me. It was as if I had been woken from a deep sleep and my senses were gradually returning. As I began to focus everything became clear, the world was transforming before my eyes, colours became more vivid and I could sense this was the first step in a long journey of self-discovery."

- Louis Martins

Page 11 | A Period of ReflectionPage 11 | A Period of Reflection"Travelling alone provoked me into a period of reflection about my life. At home I couldn't think clearly, I had to get far away from everything I knew to figure out who I really wanted to be. The isolation gave me the freedom I needed to clear my head. It was during those moments that I found a new companion, my camera."

- Louis Martins

Page 12 | Sunset in LumphiniPage 12 | Sunset in Lumphini"After six weeks I felt at ease with myself and my new surrounding. I was in Bangkok, Thailand. I sat one afternoon in Lumphini Park playing with my camera, exploring what each button and setting did. My curiosity was growing by the day, as was my ability to capture the atmosphere of change I was going through."

- Louis Martins

Page 13 | Khao Phing KanPage 13 | Khao Phing Kan"Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don't find themselves at all."

- Rollo May

Page 14 | TravelPage 14 | Travel"Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."

- Miriam Beard

Page 15 | ChangePage 15 | Change"Towards the end of my six months in Asia I could feel a change inside me. It wasn't fully formed, or anywhere near being recognisable as the new me, but the seeds had been planted.

When I was out on the road, going home was something I dreaded. I felt I could only truly carry on my growth by being away from my roots, to enable me to grow new ones. In time I realised it wasn't a place I was running from, but myself. It was my own fear holding me back, a fear that in time I let go of. But back then I was still struggling with huge inner turmoil."

- Louis Martins

Page 16 | KyotoPage 16 | Kyoto"My money was running out. It was time to return to my old life."

- Louis Martins

Page 17 | Everything felt surrealPage 17 | Everything felt surreal"When I returned home I found it difficult to adjust. During my six months travelling in Asia I had become a different person. I didn't fit in the mould that I had left behind. Everything felt surreal, as if this was a bad dream and I was still out in Asia somewhere, asleep on a beach waiting to wake up."

- Louis Martins

Page 18 | The Darkest TimesPage 18 | The Darkest Times"Being back where I started was impossible to come to terms with. I entered one of the darkest times of my life and the great journey I had been on felt like a fading dream. When I look back it was obvious that I was being short sighted, I thought the office was my cage, my prison cell, but there was no cage, only in my mind."

- Louis Martins

Page 19 | 2008Page 19 | 2008

Page 20 | Planning and AnticipationPage 20 | Planning and Anticipation"I was going to the Americas for 2 months. I surrounded myself with travel guides, maps and images of Latin America. Travelling isn't just about the physical time spent abroad; the build-up, planning and anticipation are all equal parts of the experience."

- Louis Martins

Page 21 | San FranciscoPage 21 | San Francisco

Page 22 | An Introspective ExperiencePage 22 | An Introspective Experience"Travelling the Americas was an introspective experience. I was spending more time alone, soul searching, thinking about my future and visualising how I saw my life in the coming years.

Whereas Asia was more an explosion of creativity, the Americas were more spiritual and thought provoking. Whether that had anything to do with the actual places I couldn't say. I like to think it was because my perspective on life had shifted. I was closing in on what I really wanted, which in turn made me feel more at ease in my own company."

- Louis Martins

Page 23 | Dreams of HomePage 23 | Dreams of Home"And the sea will grant each man new hope, his sleep brings dreams of home."

- Christopher Columbus

Page 24 | Telling a StoryPage 24 | Telling a Story"I picked up my camera and began to document my new surroundings. The camera gave me an avenue to express how I was feeling. I wanted to capture images that told a story, images that had an atmosphere woven into them."

- Louis Martins

Page 25 | Mexico CityPage 25 | Mexico City

Page 26 | SilhouettesPage 26 | Silhouettes"One afternoon in Mexico City I watched a sea of silhouettes pass through the sunset. The powerful sunlight had created a natural tunnel; the silhouettes fascinated me as did the lighting. I started to think more about photography in a different way, I spent more time contemplating how I could use the light to create dramatic effects."

- Louis Martins

Page 27 | 2009Page 27 | 2009

Page 28 | LimaPage 28 | Lima"My journey had led me to Lima, the capital of Peru. My Lima experience helped me realise how fortunate I was. It made me appreciate the opportunities I had been given and how I really didn't have anything to complain about. Lima helped change my values system; I became less concerned about material things. I learnt to be thankful for what I had, instead of wasting my time desiring other things."

- Louis Martins

Page 29 | The WayPage 29 | The Way"I know you're tired but come, this is the way."

- Rumi

Page 30 | PeruPage 30 | Peru"Peru is one of my favourite places in the world. The landscapes have such a timeless quality; I had a spiritual experience in Peru, an experience that words can't fully explain."

- Louis Martins

Page 31 | Machu PicchuPage 31 | Machu Picchu

Page 32 | Travelling AlonePage 32 | Travelling Alone"Travelling alone gave me the space I needed to grow. I had no distractions, no people telling me who I should be. With every passing day I could feel myself changing, I still feel it today."

- Louis Martins

Page 33 | São PauloPage 33 | São Paulo

Page 34 | Mixed EmotionsPage 34 | Mixed Emotions"The day before I returned home was filled with mixed emotions. I was looking forward to seeing my friends and family, but I was sad to say goodbye to the road once more. I still hadn't realised that I didn't have to travel to be happy, but the cycle of living two vastly different lives had created this conflict in my mind."

- Louis Martins

Page 35 | The Come DownPage 35 | The Come Down"When people talk about travel they rarely mention the come down. The moment when the dream ends, and you return to the real world. Depending on your personality it can be very easy or very hard to deal with.

I wasn't happy to be back, but I knew it was a necessary part of the transition from my old to my new life. On my travels seeing people less fortunate than me changed my mind set. I complained a lot less about being back. I was focused, determined and began planning the third and final trip."

- Louis Martins

Page 36 | 9 to 5Page 36 | 9 to 5

Page 37 | Monday to FridayPage 37 | Monday to Friday

Page 38 | Coming to an EndPage 38 | Coming to an End"I knew my time here was coming to an end. But I felt I had one more journey left before I could say I was truly ready to take my next leap of faith, to resign and start my own business."

- Louis Martins

Page 39 | I Was ChangingPage 39 | I Was Changing"My third journey was my most ambitious to date, taking in the Middle East, South East Asia, Australia and Europe. During these three months I spent more time with friends, new and old, I didn't feel the need to be alone anymore, I was changing. My experience of travel was heightened by the people I shared it with. Meeting people from other countries, cultures and backgrounds broadened my world view. I was more accepting and I celebrated our differences, rather than using them to isolate myself."

- Louis Martins

Page 40 | LuxorPage 40 | Luxor

Page 41 | State of MindPage 41 | State of Mind"My confidence was sky high, I was focused and I understood myself better than ever. I wasn't trying to force anything; I just went with the stream without knowing where it was taking me. I enjoyed this journey more than the others because of my state of mind. I felt at peace, completely relaxed and fully able to enjoy the full experience of travel."

- Louis Martins

Page 42 | Inside my own SkinPage 42 | Inside my own Skin"I was now a hardened traveller. Things that had daunted me before were now just part and parcel of the experience. I felt more comfortable inside my own skin, that confidence resulted in a vast improvement in my photography."

- Louis Martins

Page 43 | MumPage 43 | MumFor you are far from this place.
With that smile I can't replace.
Do not forget this land called home.
For no matter where you roam.
You will return once you have seen.
Everything that you dream.

- Rosemary Martins

Page 44 | SunsetsPage 44 | Sunsets"I've seen sunsets all over the world. On beaches, in futuristic cityscapes, tropical forests and in the arms of a person I loved. Every sunset I saw on my travels was different, but it wasn't the sunset that was changing, it was the way I saw the world. With each small increment of change the sunset held a different meaning. This sunset was on the River Nile."

- Louis Martins

Page 45 | A Challenging AdventurePage 45 | A Challenging Adventure"When I chose to visit the Middle East I hadn't fully appreciated the scale of what I was undertaking. Albeit a very friendly and welcoming world, it became clear early on that it would be a challenging adventure. On my first day in Jordan I went for a walk around the city of Amman, a city that felt as far removed from the green fields of England as I could imagine."

- Louis Martins

Page 46 | Wadi RumPage 46 | Wadi Rum

Page 47 | SilencePage 47 | Silence"One day in the Jordanian desert I was taken to an alcove in a mountain range. It was isolated from the desert winds; there was complete silence, a silence unlike any I had experienced. Time stood still.

I still remember that silence, because silence was something I once feared. Before travelling I lived a life that didn't fit. If I took a moment to pause and reflect I felt disappointment and regret. I would busy myself to drown out the silence. It was only by facing the silence and the issues within it that gave me the confidence and belief to follow my dreams."

- Louis Martins

Page 48 | 2010Page 48 | 2010

Page 49 | I See My PathPage 49 | I See My Path"I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I am going is what inspires me to travel it."

- Rosalia de Castro

Page 50 | Brush StrokesPage 50 | Brush Strokes"The artist within me was emerging one brush stroke at a time. I was leaving the darkness behind and heading towards the light."

- Louis Martins

Page 51 | BeirutPage 51 | Beirut"The name Beirut brings back memories of my youth, watching the news and the terrible conflict that engulfed the region. When I decided to go to the Middle East I had to visit Lebanon and experience Beirut for myself. Despite the negative image I had been given by the media, Beirut was a beautiful city with a kind and respectable people. I felt safer in Lebanon than anywhere I had visited before or since."

- Louis Martins

Page 52 | DamascusPage 52 | Damascus

Page 53 | PalmyraPage 53 | Palmyra

Page 54 | Coming of AgePage 54 | Coming of Age"Travelling was my coming of age experience. When I returned home I felt like a completely different person. Sometimes I imagine my old self, still out there exploring. I imagine sitting him down and telling him everything will work out in the end."

- Louis Martins

Page 55 | BangkokPage 55 | Bangkok

Page 56 | Travel JournalPage 56 | Travel Journal"Poetry was my first flirtation with the arts, so it was natural that I would end up writing a travel journal. At first it was to make sure I didn't forget anything, but over time it became more meaningful. I wasn't documenting the things I had seen, but the feelings brought about by the people, places and cultures of these faraway lands."

- Louis Martins

Page 57 | Hong KongPage 57 | Hong Kong

Page 58 | The People You MeetPage 58 | The People You Meet"The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them."

- Amelia E. Barr

Page 59 | Thinking in Hotel RoomsPage 59 | Thinking in Hotel Rooms"Despite making vast progress during the years of travel, there were still dark moments out on the road. Moments where old habits came back into play, where I became side-tracked from my goal of finding myself. These distractions came in many forms, over time I learnt to avoid these obstacles and focus on what was truly important. I was looking for a deep interior peace, a peace that would keep me on the right path, a path to a better future."

- Louis Martins

Page 60 | Across the SeaPage 60 | Across the Sea"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

- André Gide

Page 61 | Hong KongPage 61 | Hong Kong"The city is incredible and like nothing I have ever seen. I remember the first time I arrived, driving along the riverbank in Kowloon, looking out at a space age metropolis glowing in neon light."

- Louis Martins

Page 62 | IstanbulPage 62 | Istanbul

Page 63 | I Noticed my ReflectionPage 63 | I Noticed my Reflection"After three months it was time to return home once more. I felt relaxed about my return, I knew I had crossed a threshold during my time away and I was excited to see where it would lead me. As I sat in the airport waiting for my return flight I noticed my reflection in the glass, it felt as though I was saying goodbye to the old me."

- Louis Martins

Page 64 | Some Place Far AwayPage 64 | Some Place Far Away"Did you ever dream about a place you never really recall being to before? A place that maybe only exists in your imagination? Some place far away, half remembered when you wake up. When you were there though, you knew the language, you knew your way around."

- Quote from The Limey

Page 65 | MemoriesPage 65 | Memories

Page 66 | The OldPage 66 | The Old

Page 67 | The NewPage 67 | The New

Page 68 | Set Me FreePage 68 | Set Me Free"In time I realised it wasn't anything external holding me back. The shackles I had around my wrists were my creation. I lacked the faith required to release myself. During my travels I realised it was I who needed to change, not my surroundings. This realisation truly set me free.

My skills as a photographer and film maker had come on leaps and bounds since 2007. I stopped the cycle of running away from my issues and it was during the winter of 2010 that I decided to change my career."

- Louis Martins

Page 69 | 2011Page 69 | 2011

Page 70 | A Happy MomentPage 70 | A Happy Moment"As soon as I decided to focus on photography as a career my life started to glide. I felt as though the remaining shackles had fallen away.

I still had the urge to travel, but I fed that need in small doses. This photograph was taken during a special trip to Dubrovnik, it was a happy moment."

- Louis Martins

Page 71 | A Distant ShadowPage 71 | A Distant Shadow"I never forget the dark moments, the moments when life was winning. Remembering my life as it was before I started this journey helps to drive me onwards to the next milestone. Those memories are like a distant presence, a shadow that will always follow me, but it doesn't rule my world anymore."

- Louis Martins

Page 72 | FriendsPage 72 | Friends"The friends I made during these years helped me through my trials and tribulations. Surrounding myself with positive people, people who understood me and the changes I was going through made my transition easier."

- Louis Martins

 

Page 73 | 2012Page 73 | 2012

Page 74 | AthensPage 74 | Athens"In 2012 I left my corporate job. It was the start of a new era of my life. To mark this transition I packed my bags and travelled to Athens. During this time the Greek financial crisis was in full swing, huge anti austerity protests had become a daily occurrence. Violence on the streets, a heavy police presence, tear gas and confrontations between protesters and police had become the norm.

Although I had covered riots in Buenos Aires, Bangkok and London I had never actively ventured into a city with such danger attached to it. I was nervous and excited, as soon as I arrived the adrenaline took over, it was intense. It proved a fantastic experience and a real insight into reportage photography."

- Louis Martins

Page 75 | New EyesPage 75 | New Eyes"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

- Marcel Proust

Page 76 | PoeticPage 76 | Poetic"After my experience in Athens I sought out as many news stories and demonstrations as possible. I loved the feeling of being a part of a crowd and capturing the atmosphere and emotion of the day.

Reportage photography is my most natural genre. Having the ability to observe and anticipate were skills I honed in my youth, during the darker times in my life. It felt poetic that the attributes that once held me back were now being used to help me shine."

- Louis Martins

Page 77 | InterpretationPage 77 | Interpretation"My life is so entwined with photography it's impossible to separate me from my work. The images I produce are designed to help my audience understand me and how I view the world. They are my interpretation of life, revealing a part of myself that I can't put into words."

- Louis Martins

Page 78 | OriginsPage 78 | Origins"When I was growing up I used to observe my Mother painting. She always painted an interesting scene. Scenes I wanted to explore and travel through. My Mother unknowingly instilled in me an urge to explore. I don't think she realised it would lead me to my calling, or perhaps she did."

- Louis Martins

Page 79 | PortraitsPage 79 | Portraits"In the winter of 2012 I worked with a variety of subjects to build a unique portfolio of portraiture befitting my artistic style. I found portraiture to be an intriguing genre, as it gave me the opportunity to tell other people's story in an intimate way."

- Louis Martins

Page 80 | EditingPage 80 | Editing"All artists become familiar with working alone. It's not unusual for me to spend entire days by myself, with only the images I'm developing to keep me company."

- Louis Martins

Page 81 | LondonPage 81 | London"I began documenting London with my camera. In the future I planned to live in different countries around the world, so I took this as my chance to showcase my home city. London is where I met the friends who inspired me to travel the world; it will always have a special place in my heart."

- Louis Martins

Page 82 | An Outsiders PerspectivePage 82 | An Outsiders Perspective"My photography is rooted in seeing the world in isolation. I am always one step away, as if there is a layer between myself and the world I see. I observe then interpret these observations in a way that brings home to others how I see the world. Working in this way brings an outsiders perspective to my work.

Ever since I was a child I was always more of an observer than a participator. This personality trait developed as I was growing up. It allows me to capture the moments between the moments, real atmosphere and emotion, the subtle nuances of life that are only visible for a split second, to the few people who can see them."

- Louis Martins

Page 83 | Enjoying the JourneyPage 83 | Enjoying the Journey"When I returned home for the third time I re-discovered the world I had lived in all my life. It was as if I had a new pair of eyes, everything that had been grey and dull began to saturate with colour. Even though I was no longer travelling foreign lands I still felt like I was on the road, to something or somewhere, but I couldn't really understand where I was going. I still don't, but I'm enjoying the journey."

- Louis Martins

Page 84 | Great TravellersPage 84 | Great Travellers"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."

- Benjamin Disraeli

Page 85 | Compelled to ExplorePage 85 | Compelled to Explore"The desire to explore is in my blood. My mother further instilled these desires by painting such vibrant and wondrous scenes, scenes I felt compelled to explore. I spent the majority of my youth living someone else's life. Then I discovered who I really was, I found myself while travelling, so for me, to travel is to be in touch with the person I was born to be. That's what makes it so special."

- Louis Martins

Page 86 | DubrovnikPage 86 | Dubrovnik

Page 87 | GrowthPage 87 | Growth"I had been on a spiritual, emotional and creative journey with the world as my backdrop. I experimented with styles and techniques. I formed my own unique view of the world and expressed the growth and change I had gone through with my imagery."

- Louis Martins

Page 88 | MarrakeshPage 88 | Marrakesh

Page 89 | 2013Page 89 | 2013

Page 90 | New TechniquesPage 90 | New Techniques"In 2013 I explored new genres of work, not only to improve my overall portfolio, but to learn new techniques I could apply to all areas of my work. With this in mind I created my first Boudoir Collection which received critical acclaim."

- Louis Martins

Page 91 | BoudoirPage 91 | Boudoir

Page 92 | My LifePage 92 | My Life"In the end I create for me, because I love it through the entire process. Photography and film making are my life; they are my way of expressing that part of myself nobody can see or touch."

- Louis Martins

Page 93 | Eight YearsPage 93 | Eight Years"During the last eight years I have been on an epic journey. I uncovered skills I never knew I had. I came face to face with my inner demons and set myself free. I discovered a new world full of wonderful people who enrich my life every day. My future is as uncertain as it was all those years ago, but I am now in a place where I can enjoy whatever comes my way. I am at peace with myself and looking forward to the next chapter of my journey, wherever it may be."

- Louis Martins

Page 94 | Creative Inspiration Passed Down a GenerationPage 94 | Creative Inspiration Passed Down a Generation"Thank you to my Mum for giving me the freedom to grow in a natural way. Thank you for inspiring me and for your support, love and understanding."

- Louis Martins

Page 95| 1985 - 2014Page 95| 1985 - 2014

Page 96 | Thank YouPage 96 | Thank You"Thank you to my friends for believing in me, standing by me and supporting me through the good times and the bad."

- Louis Martins

Page 97 | Produced by Louis MartinsPage 97 | Produced by Louis Martins

Walking the Earth | By Louis MartinsWalking the Earth | By Louis Martins