Michael Martin at PHOTOPIA 2023: Photo exhibition "TERRA - Faces of the Earth" on Überseeboulevard

After five years of traveling and photographing and two years at his desk, photographer Michael Martin completed his current project TERRA. On April 17, 2023, the 27th OPEN ART exhibition with images from this project will open in the middle of HafenCity under the title "Faces of the Earth" on Hamburg's Überseeboulevard. In September, the photographer will be one of the key speakers at PHOTOPIA Hamburg.

What is the story behind your project TERRA - Faces of the Earth?    

Martin: I was on the road with my camera in the Arctic, the Himalayas, the Andes, the South Pacific, the deserts of Arabia, the Amazon basin, the savannahs of East Africa, the taiga of Siberia and the steppes of Central Asia. Within six years I have not only photographed but also filmed on 32 journeys for TERRA, so that not only a book, a calendar and a multivision show have been created, but also a total of nine films about the faces of the earth, which present animals, plants and cultures in addition to fascinating landscapes. The viewer experiences my adventures on the PHOTOPIA very closely.


You have been traveling and exploring desert areas all over the world for over 40 years. Why did it have to be another mammoth project like this?

Martin: I guess it's because of my personality. I have always gone one step further. Only then am I willing to focus all my energy and time on the new project and sometimes take a risk. I can only inspire the viewers and readers if I am enthusiastic myself. For the first time, my project juxtaposes arid deserts and polar regions in such a comprehensive way. Where life reaches its limits, you sometimes have to take a closer look, but you are all the more fascinated by the adaptive achievements of animals, plants and people.


Is that what you want to show in your pictures?

Martin: For me it's about a demonstration of the beauty of our world. Because although the climate crisis has become a present topic in our everyday life, the actual beauty of our earth is still forgotten again and again. I try to show how fascinating nature is. That is why I have portrayed ten faces of the earth for this project, which tell of the diversity of our planet. The project is a bow to the natural wonder Earth and makes clear what we would lose if we don't protect the Earth better. 


How much does the climate crisis worry you? 

Martin: If we do nothing about climate change and take no action, by the end of this century we will have a four-degree increase in the earth's temperature, which means an average temperature of 18 degrees. A good 100 years ago, it was still 14 degrees. That doesn't sound so serious at first, but 18 degrees was last seen 50 million years ago in the Eocene. There was no more ice on earth, but instead the sea level was 70 meters higher than today. So: Good night!


So do you want to shake people up with the project?

Martin: Of course, but above all I want to get more people interested in THE PLANET EARTH and understand that they also need to be protected. The protection of the rainforests or the oceans is recognized, but the deserts and polar regions are seen as marginal spaces where raw materials come from, where weapons can be tested, where discarded airplanes can be parked and car rallies can be held. Yet both deserts and polar regions are part of our natural world. They are still untouched in large parts and must be preserved from our hunger for raw materials, especially since these regions are ecologically highly sensitive.


You are a key speaker at PHOTOPIA: What does the audience expect?  What do the encounters at events like PHOTOPIA mean to you?

Martin: Participating at PHOTOPIA is the icing on the cake for my TERRA project. I've had tough months and years. When I closed in 2020 after five years of TERRA, Corona came along, which was a stroke of luck for me personally because I had to take two years off. Since then, I've been touring with it. After all, I was already a speaker at the PHOTOPIA premiere in 2021 and I'm happy to be part of this event again now.


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About PHOTOPIA Hamburg           
PHOTOPIA Hamburg offers the imaging industry and community a new home. From September 21 to 24, 2023, companies will present their products, solutions and services around the trendy topic of imaging. Visitors are anyone whose business, hobby or passion is photography or filming. In addition to trade visitors, content creators, professionals, semi-pros, hobby photographers and people interested in photo culture, this also explicitly includes smartphone users who use their cell phones to take, edit and share photos and videos. The festival will be accompanied by conferences, product trainings, award ceremonies, workshops, photo walks, side events and festival parties.