Cade Martin Brings his Cinematic Influences to TimberTech

There is work that starts you asking question after question. How did you do that? What made you think of this? Cade Martin‘s work often shows us his vision through imagination and gets us asking those same questions. Influenced by the lack of boundaries in films and comics, Cade creates worlds for client’s brands to exist in that we might not otherwise have thought of for them. Bringing his imagination to his latest project for TimberTech, a decking company, Cade created storybook images – and we wanted to know more. 

You are an only child and have talked about how, because of that, you often invented your worlds in your head. When I look at these images, I think of that. Were you creating these worlds? Or were the concepts hashed out before the agency shared them with you?

As always, it is a collaborative effort. Clients come to me and ask me to bring a concept to life, but definitely, what I bring to that process is always informed by my influences and who I am. On this project, the agency approached me, and they had mocked up sample images, so the concepts were on the way. We had creative calls and knocked ideas around, mingling our influences and inspirations. We used some of the ideas. I value a relationship where there is a comfort zone to pitch ideas back and forth, no matter how outlandish, during this process. The end product is always better for that effort, you never know where a good idea comes from, and the knocking around ideation is always ping-pong conversational fun.

You also have talked about how the films and comics have influenced everything you have created. I see some fantasy and cinema in these images. Do you agree? Are these more examples of images you created with those influences?

I do. The compositional and cinematic influences impact all of my work. Every movie I’ve seen and every comic book I’ve read has influenced me in some way or another. I still love going to the theater – even a bad movie – to see how things are lit and shot. The idea of escape – a little bit of suspending disbelief to have a moment of magic, the stories I read and watched gave me so much appreciation for that. Stepping onto your back deck and encountering, “whoa, did I just see that?” is just such escape. 

You value spontaneity. I am wondering how you brought spontaneity to something that had to be thought through from the onset?

I approach each project with a spirit of spontaneity from the get-go. From the minute I get the brief, the second you see the first sketch, I let my mind start to think about the possibilities – all of them, and which direction I’d like to take. “What if?” is at the root of “let’s go.” Back to the creative back and forth process with this client, being able to work through all the “what ifs” lead to a “let’s go” that feels exciting. 

There are so many elements at play here. How did you determine what happened in camera and what happened in post?

The client is a decking company, so the decking was our hero. We made every decision with the consideration of how to best showcase our hero. We wanted to create beautiful fantasy narratives for each of the decks. One deck was not yet released. Shooting for this deck brought time, as well as cost, efficiency. We decided on an approach where we could create these three worlds, building and pre-lighting as much as we could before we headed into the studio.

We are in a time of exponential growth in how images are created. That is undoubtedly an opportunity. But as a photographer, when I make images with a touch of the surreal or with heavy post-production work, I am so conscious of the need to retain photographic integrity. Even the most surreal images, aided by the newest tools of post-production, remain tethered to the truth of the subject, our flooring hero. The thread of authenticity remains, it’s never an effort to trick the viewer, but to reveal something.

Who was your post-production partner on this shoot? Were they on set with you or did you direct them afterward?

On this project, I worked with Luminous Creative Imaging, a long-term partner, based in Amsterdam. I love collaborating and have had a great relationship with Fedde Souverein from Luminous for several years. They did not attend the actual shoot, but we have so much experience working together that we were able to be on the same page talking numerous times before and after. 

Any memorable moments on the shoot? 

This shoot was a brainy one. There was a lot of math– camera height from the ground, focal length, distance from subjects, distance from foreground prop, distance from background props, and so on. There were also environmental elements to consider. Where is our sun – how is it falling on our subjects, and is it flattering to the deck since this is a decking project, and then how is that same light falling on the background elements.

And, I’d be remiss not to mention the white poodle, she was quite the princess!

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