- Film & TV
- 17 May 22
In roughly one hundred glossy pages, fashion photographer Paul Martin’s book, ‘First Face,’ captures what it felt like to be the eyes behind the lens in ‘90s Dublin’s model scene.
The book’s 70+ black and white images are a timestamp from a very different city, one that was both small and bustling with energy.
The layout of Paul Martin’s collection is stylistic. Grainy and jagged fonts decorate corners and frames of its pages, crediting stylists, makeup artists and the models featured in each photograph. Martin prefaces the collection with a short story about his humble beginnings - showing up to the front door of Assets Model Agency in the mid-’90s with a portfolio of his work and taking a chance which led him to his dazzling career as a fashion photographer.
Martin’s photographs are a love letter to Dublin’s ‘90s creative realm. “It was a time filled with youthful dreams when everyone was either a model, an actor, in a band…or a photographer,” he writes. ‘First Face’ features behind-the-scenes moments from shoots and insightful fashion photography lessons from Martin himself.
The never-before-seen images in the book portray raw, “fresh” faces through seemingly untouched artistry. A young Catriona Balfe, now known for her roles in Outlander and 2021 Belfast, appears nearly infantile in youthful beauty. Each photograph is curated by Martin himself and characterises his notable gravitation toward capturing the minimalist and bare beauty of his subjects.
‘First Face’ would make a great addition to a coffee table, but it also offers a worthy revisitation of the past. Martin’s new book is a documentation of the beginnings of young dreams through the eye that immortalised them.
'First Face' is available from The Library Project, 4 Temple Bar Street and online now.