We welcome Cade Martin, the surprise his photography brings and where big ideas take him.

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with photographer Cade Martin!

Cade has shown us that he seizes an opportunity and runs with it. We wanted to know more about him so we sat down and asked him to share more on his background. Here is what he had to say:

How has your HS/College/early career path shaped who you are?
Both my father and my mother were influential in my career choice – a little nature, a little nurture – at the heart of it my parents embraced the creative in their lives and work.

I grew up in a part of Richmond, Virginia that was rich with art and culture. Because my Dad was a university art professor and my mom a freethinker, I often found myself surrounded by really creative and eclectic people whose dinner table musings on art, and culture, and philosophy were a constant reinforcement of the idea that pursuing creative work was valuable and valid. I was supported and empowered to make my own choices and follow my trajectory. I do feel compelled to tell you on their behalf, that they would have been just as supportive if I had wanted to be a lawyer or a dentist.

My earliest interest in photography comes explicitly from the idea of characters. As an only child, I was often escaping the adult world around me – getting lost in the tales and characters of comic books and movies, interested in not only who they were, but how they were revealed. Photography allowed me to explore characters beyond make-believe, to explore how identities and personalities are revealed in the world around us.

Now with each final image I make, the goal is for it to feel like a still out of a movie filmstrip, with its story living beyond any one frame.

How have you and your work grown and changed with the times?
Even in school, I never felt drawn to creating images of a particular “style.” I think any stylistic narratives within the photos are more the result of experiences and assignments. I have always made time to work on a lot of personal projects, and I think that helps me stay curious and experimental. So often one thing leads to another, and the kernel of one project can inspire and inform the next. I think it’s so important to keep innovating, to push my boundaries and be surprised by where my photography takes me. I bring those innovations, and it finds its way back to my work, which can help to move things outside the proverbial box.

For me as the photographer, I don’t rely too heavily on classification. Instead, I make every effort to find the best technique and approach aesthetically for each project. In many ways, it’s impossible not to grow and change with all the new technology in the field, and I have loved exploring and embracing what CGI and advances in post-production can bring to the table.

But ultimately, I stay true to the same principles of being collaborative and solutions based – no matter the scope and scale of the project.

What are three words or a phrase or two that describe your photography style?
I’m not sure that is for me to say but, I often hear clean, uncluttered, sophisticated.

What is your measure of success with a campaign?
Success for me is when you don’t want the project to come to an end. And a happy client because we’ve exceeded all expectations.

What is your dream job (if you weren’t already doing it)?
I’m doing it. But to have my projects continue to take me to new places, expose me to new ideas and perspectives, and reveal new characters – that’s the dream. Occasionally I get the What’s Next question – I don’t know and that’s the best part, that’s the beautiful part.

Are there mantras that you live by?
My father gave me two pieces of advice when I was little:
1. You have to work the rest of your life, do something you love to do.
2. If you steal anything, make it worth your while.

The first one has had a lot greater impact on my life thus far.

What does it take to make a great image?
Someone recently wrote a comment on one of my images on Instagram that resonated with me, “It takes an open heart to see the humanity in others, a caring heart for someone to write about the humanity. It takes a love of self and fellow “brothers” to convey it through a single photo.”

Not to outsource the answer to internet commenters.

I think no matter the composition or subject or style, a great image is one that was created with thought and one that evokes feeling.

I also love the adventure and the challenge of making things work — the crawling around, the actual act of creating an image. I’ve always believed in the critical nature of the journey — the creative collaboration, the image making, and the post-production, that is often a true technical marvel that elevates photography and adds magic all its own.

What does it take to be a great photographer?
Trick question. But I’ll indulge. A great photographer has curiosity, respect for the subject, confidence without ego, a touch of obsessiveness, a storyteller’s spirit, a sense of self, a sense of humor and a great team.


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