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Creative Conversations: Fran Mart, Freelance Photographer

Date: 07 Aug 2019

In partnership with Edinburgh-based photographer Ellie Morag, Creative Conversations is a mini-series born from her love of portraiture, and our desire to provide a platform to share the knowledge and experience of creative locals. In part 5 of the series, we meet Fran.

Fran is self-taught freelance photographer.



On discovering photography

I never really planned on becoming a photographer. It was something I stumbled upon after the tragedy of losing my younger brother. Taking photographs, particularly self-portraits, helped me deal with the emotions that invariably came up. In the period that followed, I started to feel a sensitivity that hadn’t been there before, noticing things that I’d never previously given thought to. In some ways, it’s like photography discovered me, almost inviting me to journey through my pain and begin to see a new reality through the lens. It took me on a very different path to the one I’d been on but opened my eyes to a way of capturing something beyond that which we can see af learning to tell stories that engage the soul. That’s what I seek to capture now in my work, be that with brands and clients or on my own personal projects, and being completely self-taught, I feel humbled that others resonate with what I create.




On starting a magazine

"Photography for me is about translating feelings into a picture."

There’s so much I love about being able to express myself more freely through photography. It’s like speaking a different language that connects with ourselves and others, breaking down barriers that are sometimes created through words. Like the actual image, those feelings are captured when I take a picture, storied in my memory and relived every time I look at the image. It’s like I’m there for the first time all over again; my body has the same sensations, the same emotions. I love how photography makes time stand still. 

On creativity

I think all creativity comes from emotion, whether it’s expressing your own feelings or a desire to transform someone else’s. In that sense, we are all born with the capacity for creativity but, in order to release it, we need the permission and space to develop our own expression of who we are. I remember as a child I used to daydream all the time, at school, on the beach, at the dinner table. l was always imagining places to travel, the things I would see - always being in another time or place. It wasn’t until the after my brother’s death, when time slowed down and I allowed myself to exist within those dreams, that I began to notice how emotions and creativity went hand in hand.

"It’s not always easy, and sometimes life needs to push us in a different direction to the one we thought best, but if we can learn to engage our senses and take time to connect our inner and outer worlds, there’s so much to discover about the richness of who we are."



On being drawn to Scotland

Can you believe I came to Scotland for the weather? During my first trip one February, when I could hardly get out of the car because of the wind and rain, I said to my partner, “We’re moving here!” Thankfully he didn’t take much persuasion. Growing up in the intensity of sun and heat in the south of Spain, I’ve always felt drawn to the light of northern climates. There’s a gentle texture that it creates among the ruggedness of the landscape. It gives me goosebumps every time. I’ve been here four years now and never grow tired of those long drives to the middle of nowhere or the views at the end of those winding single-track roads. There is something about the intensity of the weather, the changing seasons and shifting light that still resonates with me. This feels like home. 




On Edinburgh

I love how Edinburgh is so timeless. I can walk through its streets and feel like I’m in another era with history infused into every cobble and brick. Maybe I’m still guilty of being stuck in my daydreams, but I don’t mind that here. It’s a city like no other and I’m happy to lose myself here again and again.  

Some advice

For me, creativity is a journey not of finding yourself but of letting go of all that keeps you hid. It requires playfulness and a willingness to follow those little pangs of excitement or wonder. Sometimes they fizzle out and lead nowhere, but creativity, like nature, also has seasons.


Just give yourself permission and time to explore at your own pace. There’s no rush.




Fran is a self-taught freelance photographer and adventurer who was born and grew up on the coast of Spain in Andalucía, and currently lives and works in Edinburgh. 



Creative Conversations is an innovative, cross art-form series profiling local individuals working within the creative industry. Delivered in partnership with photographer Ellie Morag, an Edinburgh based photographer represented by Crew Scotland. She specialises in lifestyle, street style and portraits. With a style that falls somewhere between documentary and portrait photography, she is inspired by movement, colour & narrative.

Locke aims to bring creative organisations and practitioners, producers and curators into productive conversations, to share their stories and the wide range of experience and expertise amongst them.

The Creative Conversations Photography Exhibition is running at Eden Locke, Edinburgh until 31st August.