Guardian Article – 21st December 2016

Some thoughts on the Guardian article. It doesn’t appear to have quite been received as I intended, which was a kind of retrospective of the ‘This is Sunderland’ project – something I put absolutely everything into for over ten years. The dreadful, inaccurate clickbait headline didn’t help – a Guardian thing – rather than from Karl, the writer of the piece, someone I’ve a lot of time and respect for.

I very reluctantly left the place I’d lived (and loved) for 30 years due to a really good job offer, coupled with a lot of frustration of there being limited creative opportunities or affordable studio spaces. And not exactly being overwhelmed with interest in what I was doing from the majority of cultural type organisations, or peers – honourable exceptions excepted. Yeah, Brexit hurt too, but that certainly wasn’t the *reason I left*.

I only ever wanted the very best for Sunderland – still do – otherwise I wouldn’t have expended such a huge amount of my life over this weird, obsessive project. Sunderland is always my home, where I’m from, no matter where I’m living. But I had to accept that I was never going to be able to achieve much of what I wanted here, at least in the short term. And I’ll pick things up where I left off, someday.

As for the photos and videos…I spent whatever money I had, risking a lot of everything I had dodging unsavoury characters in asbestos filled shells of buildings, battling gale force winds on crumbling piers a mile out to sea, or hanging off rusty ladders in various rat and pigeon shit-strewn industrial holes. And the rest…

I was privileged to see some really incredible things, too – the northern lights from Tunstall Hill, our weirdly beautiful riverside and coastline that’s never the same two nights running, the moon rising from the North Sea. And the rest…

Not to mention a lot of absolutely amazing people I’ve met and photographed over the years here. Those (you) were the best bits.

On the plus side I’ll never, ever be welcome in Sinatra’s. Every cloud, and all that… 

Andy Martin




  • Ged Parker December 21, 2016   Reply

    Thanks Martin. I needed the rubbish Guardian article to find your great photographs. It’s a shame you are going as the town still someone with your skills to record the changes, not least the new bridge
    My only gripe? As a Washington resident you haven’t included any images from this part of the city.

    • NorthSands December 21, 2016   Reply

      Thanks Ged, glad you found the site despite the circumstances. You’re quite right, I haven’t ventured into Washington all that often with a camera, which is a shame. Despite that, I probably have enough Washington images to pull a small gallery together which I may get round to, someday. Cheers, Andy.

      • Ged Parker December 22, 2016   Reply

        Let me know and I’ll point you to a couple of venues

  • Tim December 21, 2016   Reply

    I can see why you’d be a little disappointed, and the Guardian subs are notorious for twisting a headline.

    But then, it is a national paper, and they’re doing a job too. As cool as your work sounds I don’t imagine your story was likely to get much interest outside the north-east. But Brexit? Everybody has an opinion (and wants a say) about that. So I guess it was inevitable that you’d get caught up in the bun fight.

    I hope London works out.

    • NorthSands December 21, 2016   Reply

      Thanks Tim, lesson learnt. Hopefully most people can see through the clickbait headline…

  • Phil December 21, 2016   Reply

    You should post this in the comments below the article. You’ve been misrepresented by a lazy sub.

    • NorthSands December 21, 2016   Reply

      Thanks Phil, very naughty from the Guardian. Expected better.

  • Kim lakin December 27, 2016   Reply

    I too had read the guardian article to discover you. I’m glad I did. Your Sunderland project is really great. Good luck to you.

Leave a Reply