Guy Martin documenting community life in Dartmouth

It’s not unusual to see Guy Martin staring quizzically into the sky in Dartmouth Market. Either that, or he’s alert while chatting and roaming. And he’s usually got his camera in hand, ready to capture the aerial passers-by, or the water-borne visitors to Dartmouth’s harbour.

“I’ve always been interested in aircraft. And I’ve always liked photography,” he says. We are chatting in the Dartmouth Community Cafe, just steps away from Guy’s photography shop. Back in the day, the former coach driver had to satisfy his passion with an Instamatic camera (for younger readers, this was in a time before smartphones).


He still has a passion for things that fly, but that has extended from airfields to wildlife, to getting out on a boat and capturing dolphins on film. He’s also expanded into weddings, sports photography, street scenes, and a wide range of images that highlight the beauty and allure of Dartmouth itself, as well as the town’s ferries and the cruise liners that call in.

“I came here four years ago. I met Jayne here, and she bought me my first decent camera,” he says. Jayne, Guy’s partner, is a volunteer at the community cafe, and both are trustees of Dartmouth Community Chest.

Learning by doing

“And I’ve taught myself. I’ve just learned by myself, and done everything myself,” he says.

“I used to be shy, even on the coaches. I could talk to people, but I had to be sitting in the driver’s seat with the microphone, I couldn’t face them. It’s just gone from strength to strength down here, because it’s such a good atmosphere. We all get on with each other. People come up and ask me what I’m doing – it draws people into the shop. I’ll talk to anybody now.”

That confident, gregarious nature comes in handy, especially when finding out the comings and goings in the town.

Dart view, by Guy Martin

“I just walk down by the boats, and if there’s something of interest, the people there shout to me and let me know what’s coming in,” he says.

From initially taking the plunge to having a market stall, Guy now has a shop in the market, a full website, and he’s advertising in a local magazine.

“I’ve got a rare condition called functional neurological disorder. It means that, on the odd occasion, my brain doesn’t tell my left leg and my left arm to do anything. And I have pins and needles all the way down my side. And, to be honest, my photography has grown mainly because of people like Dawn [Dawn Shepherd of Dartmouth Community Chest] and Jayne,” says Guy.

Everything’s changed

“I couldn’t be happier. Everything’s changed for me. I came here four years ago with nothing. I met Dawn through the Community Chest. Dawn helped me out, and I started helping Dawn once a week. It’s gone from strength to strength.

“I was helping up at the children’s Christmas party, which happened to be on the same day as my birthday, where I met Jayne properly. We’ve been together three years and we’re getting married next year.

“We all met through the community, through the Community Chest.

“But the whole market, we just gel. Everybody gets on. My life has changed completely. I’ve got more friends here now than ever. I’ve got people that actually want my photographs to go in their shops.

A fantastic town to live in

“The town is a fantastic town to live in. Somebody came into the shop yesterday and we were talking for a good half an hour about the town. They’ve been here year after year after year. She asked me, what’s the best thing about living in this town? I said ‘community’. Everybody knows each other. It’s just changed my life completely.”

To see more of Guy’s work visit:

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