Saskia Martin / From behind the lens

Harvest hills of golden wheat. A below-table tangle of bare legs and bib shorts. Helmeted heads silhouetted by shadow. Themes that feature regularly in Saskia Martin’s carefully observed and playful photography.

Having spent the past decade documenting her rides in and around London, commissioned projects have followed as Saskia combines her passion for the medium with the professional requirements of delivering a brief.

Interspersing a photo essay of recent work, Saskia frames this creative journey with references to her own riding, the visual language she employs in capturing a moment, and her innate love of telling stories.


This time last year I’d boxed up my bike before travelling to southern Spain. I’d lost my cycling mojo and decided the best place to find it again was riding the Badlands route with my friend Kat.

My mojo proved elusive on the dry, dusty trails so I guess I’m still working through a mid-bike crisis. But treating myself to a new mountain bike has proved motivational in terms of wanting to use it. My first time out, riding up a hill, I had this sudden moment of clarity—like I was sitting in a favourite armchair.


One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make was leaving my role as Product Developer for Rapha after three and a half, happy years. As you can perhaps imagine, lots of tears.

I’ve left behind what feels like a family of colleagues but it just felt like it was time for a change. And as I’m now working for Apidura, cycling continues to play a huge part in my life.

We’re a fairly small team based in Camden and I just love it. There’s a real focus on functionality – solving design problems which is very much me – and as I ride to work each morning through the city streets I look forward to what each day brings.

Picking up the camera

My introduction to photography was through my iPhone. Taking pictures of friends out riding or at a coffee stop. It’s rather a cliché but I just love storytelling and this translates to certain rules I have when posting multiple images on social media. They have to be in chronological order and not every photograph necessarily needs to include someone on a bike. I get a kick out of portraying the little details that inform the bigger picture.

I’ve since upgraded to a mirrorless camera system as I transition into commissioned projects. It’s been quite a creative journey since my first ever photographic gig shooting my best friend’s wedding. I felt like I was getting married with the amount of stress I was feeling.


I love making a brand’s vision come alive and delight in the outcome of the process—that first pass through the images and the editing that follows. But then you also have the occasional crisis in confidence which, talking to established photographers, isn’t that uncommon. Looking back and thinking how you would change this or that.

I get a lot of inspiration from how the cinema portrays light and colour. And I’m instinctively drawn to what some might consider to be imperfect images—if there’s a blur or the composition isn’t classically two thirds. I have a penchant for capturing parts of people rather than a full head-to-toe shot. Hands are so expressive and my friends are now accustomed to me photographing their legs and feet.

I’m not one for grandiose statements but, to me, my pictures feel like curated art and artists always title their work. So I do carefully consider the words I use to accompany a post. I’m not particularly comfortable in front of the camera but I’m happy to be seen through my work. And maybe this combination of words and images can engage or even inspire for a moment?

All images with kind permission of Saskia Martin


Jochen Hoops / Mallorca

After months of winter riding in his native Hamburg, creative producer Jochen Hoops headed south to ride the quiet back roads and climbs of Mallorca. Having documented this migratory escape with his camera, here Jochen muses on the seasonality of cycling; the discipline of dark winter days, the emotional release of springtime and the reasons he chooses to ride whatever the weather.

Am I a year-round cyclist? I don’t think it’s laziness but it’s not easy to ride in the depths of winter. You’re less likely to have company and cycling alone in bad weather has its challenges.

In winter months Hamburg is cold, wet and windy. And the landscape is not very pleasant to the eye—the light is flat and the sky a uniform grey. Maybe that isn’t important to some people but for me it is.

But still, I have to get out – for my physical and mental wellbeing – and usually I end up enjoying the ride. You just need the discipline to step out of the door.


I was fortunate to enjoy two trips to Mallorca—the first resulting from an off-the-cuff remark and a spontaneous decision. A friend from Paris mentioned that he was heading out to Mallorca for a week and had arranged to stay at this little, boutique hotel. Saying how nice that sounded and adding that I also needed to get away, my friend kindly suggested that I join him on the trip.

The hotel only had four guest rooms so it was very intimate and good riding was easy to find in any direction. It was still only February but we’d left a wintery Hamburg to discover signs of spring on the island. Passing through tiny villages – the clink of coffee cups and our freewheels resonating along the narrow streets – by the second day the rhythm of riding had transported me far away from any everyday concerns.

In winter you somehow feel stiff and you need the warmth of more southerly climes for your legs to push the pedals a little easier. So we were intent on catching the sun’s restorative rays, eating good lunches and discovering the island by bike. Simple pleasures.


A training camp comprised my second trip. Arranged every year by the same group of friends, I’d met some of them at a charity ride out of Paris and they’d asked me if I wanted to join them. A little different from my February visit to the island – more focus on effort – but we also found time for fun and laughter.

And it’s these differences – the contrasts between both trips – that make cycling so interesting. The meandering rides with time to stop and stare and the fast paced charges that leave your chest heaving and legs empty. A joy in movement that, irrespective of the season, means the motivation to ride doesn’t really change. Wherever or whenever I’m out on the bike, I clip in and move forward and immediately it just feels right.

All images with kind permission of Jochen Hoops

(artist management / production at Bransch)


Caren Hartley / Inside the Isen Workshop

I’ve travelled out from central London to the southwest end of the Northern Line. Exiting the station, a short walk through the surrounding suburbs leads to an industrial estate and the home of Isen Workshop. Pushing open the door, there’s a sudden movement as a small dog darts out and excitedly runs rings around my legs. Caren Hartley follows and greets me with a smile as she scoops up this new addition to the Isen family. The dog’s name is Frieda and it’s her first day in the workshop—Caren obviously delighted with her new companion as she politely asks if I’d like a cup of tea.

After studying an MA in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery at the Royal College of Art, Caren received award-winning recognition as a frame builder with her eponymous Hartley Cycles before partnering with Matt McDonough of Talbot Frameworks to found Isen Workshop.

With the pair carving out a well-deserved reputation for beautifully built bikes in steel and titanium, I spent an enjoyable morning touring the workshop and photographing Caren in preparation for an interview subsequently published on the Quoc web journala fascinating glimpse into her passion for making and the level of detail demanded by such a bespoke product.

Click on an image to enlarge…

“I was always making things as a child and I remember my parents being quite creative. Dad was a watchmaker and Mum would make costumes for us out of crêpe paper and cereal boxes.”

“After attending an event where I met a frame builder, I had this sudden realisation that it was a little like jewellery – basically big soldering – and I just needed to start making things that were bike shaped.”

Caren Hartley / Isen Workshop

Follow the link to read Caren’s interview for Quoc

All photography by cyclespeak