We’ve been wowed by local photorealist artist Martin Turner…

After abandoning fine art as a teenager, Fishponds resident Martin Turner worked in IT for a decade before finding success in the field of photography. Using wide-angle lenses and bold compositions, his images focused on architecture – looming and dynamic, the hero of the piece rather than mere background. Having won the Open House London Photography Competition; been shortlisted for Landscape Photographer of the Year; exhibited internationally as part of the Sony World Photography Competition and been published in the Times, Telegraph and Time Out; as well as in photography journals in the UK and abroad, it occurred to him to combine his talent for taking pictures with his first love.

Last year, Martin made a return to the much less instantaneous but equally rewarding practice of fine art. Despite being more used to creating images in hundredths of a second than 40 to 50 hours – which his pencil drawings now take – he brings the same eye to his pieces, and followers of his photography will see a familiar approach in the new medium. Similarly precise, with perfectly observed light and texture, his images are imbued with a confidence that comes from technical mastery of his medium. We picked our favourite utterly lifelike drawings, and asked Martin to share the stories behind them…


“I love old machinery and, paying homage to my history of photography, I felt compelled to draw a vintage camera. I chose the Rolleiflex as it is probably the most iconic camera from years past. The challenge here was the concentric geometry and as tempting as it could be to use a template, all those lines and curves were drawn by hand. Surprisingly, the hands were the easiest part.” (see featured image)


“I use Flickr for sharing my photography and at times have used it as a resource for finding a completely new subject. I searched for ‘cat’, set the filter to sort by ‘interesting’ and up popped Spike (by Lori Coleman). I contacted Lori to see if she would mind me drawing her cat, and she was delighted – although worried the original photo was a touch out of focus. One of the lovely things with drawing is that you are your own Photoshop so I was able to improvise and add in the detail missing. Anyway, the end result is really striking and despite being allergic to cats, I have to say I have a soft spot for this guy.”

Photorealist Art

Martin developed a soft spot for Spike, who he came across while trawling Flickr – we love how strikingly lifelike this drawing is


“I was looking through my archive of photos for inspiration when I stumbled over one I had taken a few years ago at a National Trust house. I just loved the amount of detail – it had been condemned to the ‘ignore’ pile as it was so different in style to my photography but I decided I was going to make it part of a continuing series I was working on, entitled ‘Mechanical’.”

Photorealist ArtInspired by a photo he had discarded, this image became part of Martin’s ‘Mechanical’ series

The Eyes Have It, The Fine Line and Snoop

“These were part of a small project with the aim of drawing on a smaller scale to tighten my technique but equally build on my portfolio of work. I figured the more detail I could pack into a small space, the more it would benefit me when working at a larger scale.

I am fortunate in that I have a plethora of photographic friends (Thomas Leuthard, Michael Kistler and Tri Joko) all of whom have different photographic styles and, having two young sons, there was a natural connection to their photos. Each brought a new set of challenges but I felt really confident with my drawing and when I came to draw again at a larger size, I realised it had become easier.”

Photorealist ArtThe Eyes Have It – part of a project aiming to draw on a smaller scale and tighten technique

Photorealist ArtThe Fine Line, drawn from a fellow photographer friend’s image

Photorealist ArtSnoop brought a new set of challenges but afterwards, when Martin went back to drawing on a larger scale, he found it was easier

Malawi Boy

“I wanted to challenge myself creatively, in a way that was different from my photography. No more clean, clinical architectural lines, but an opportunity to embrace detail, and in a big way. Skin texture was what drew me to this photograph (by Gunnar Salvarsson), the 60-plus hours brought a real sense of achievement when it was finally finished. I felt compelled to challenge myself further and made a decision to embrace the unknown rather than be wary of it.”

Photorealist ArtWith Malawi Boy, Martin wanted to challenge himself, move away from his clinical architectural lines and embrace detail

To find out more about Martin visit martinturnerartist.com