Cade Martin

Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for…

Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for Starbucks on the cover and as the chapter dividers in the recent edition of Workbook. 

Seeing these images used again also served as a nice reminder to revisit this special project – and the people – Daniele Monti, Jodi Morrison and Kristy Cameron to name check a few members of this dream team – it was one I didn’t want to end, and to have these images find a new audience through Workbook is an honor, so thank you to the entire team at Workbook for selecting this work.

The project took place a couple of years ago and the images were used exclusively for the Tazo Tea launch campaign. Everyone was just as excited as I was to approach these with a cinematic influence and movie lighting to help achieve what Starbucks Creative Director, Daniele Monti, described as “capturing the magic and whimsy of the new Tazo brand—something in between a modern Alice in Wonderland and an iconography that pulls from different eras, places and cultures.†The resources and enthusiasm to pull these images off on-location and all in-camera – not in post-production – made for a truly special campaign.

As a photographer whose overall body of work ranges widely – from the realistic to the fantastic, this project allowed me to really dive into my cinematic influences, and enabled me to both showcase and push my aesthetic. I loved every minute of it and I am indebted to the creative team at Starbucks for entrusting me to create these worlds, to the retouchers at Sugar Digital and to producer Kim Comeaux for going above and beyond to support every idea that I had.

The Workbook’s back story here:  https://www.workbook.com/blog/spring-2017-photography-cover-artist-cade-martin‘>https://www.workbook.com/blog/spring-2017-photography-cover-artist-cade-martin‘>https://www.workbook.com/blog/spring-2017-photography-cover-artist-cade-martin‘>https://www.workbook.com/blog/spring-2017-photography-cover-artist-cade-martin

Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for...
Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for...
Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for...
Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for...
Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for...
Excited and humbled to see this series of images created for...

The image, “Supporting the Arts,” is the result of a project…

The image, “Supporting the Arts,†is the result of a project with RP3 for Norfolk Southern Railway. Norfolk Southern has been a titan of American industry for over 35 years, with roots in some of the Eastern United State’s first railroad companies. To promote and recognize their support for the performing arts, I had the pleasure of working with the energetic and really fun Jean-Pierre Bovie, Creative Director at RP3. For this dramatic, photo-driven print ad I worked with a ballet dancer to have her shadow create the shape of a horse, which mimics the logo of the railway. With a clean background, the final image is uncluttered and focused like a spotlight. The juxtaposition of art and industry was interesting to conceptualize and capture.  

I am honored to share that for our efforts, we were honored that this ad received a Gold award at the annual American Advertising Awards DC, held at The Newseum. This award show is always a great time to catch up with people and to see the cool work – from the funny to the sublime – coming out of the DC scene. Thank you to AAF DC and all of DC’s brilliant ad shops for another year of exceptional advertising.

Dead Man Walking Some institutions live up to their legend….

Dead Man Walking

Some institutions live up to their legend. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. is such an institution. I was fortunate to be called on to work with the Kennedy Center again, this time for their presentation of The Washington National Opera production of Dead Man Walking. It was my distinct pleasure to have the chance to work with Scott Bushnell, the advertising creative director at the Kennedy Center. His vision for this poster was a dark joy to bring to life…or death. Inspired by the concept, I used an atmospheric approach to the lighting design, hard expressionistic light that would expose the dark side of humanity revealed in this story.

The show kicked off a five show run February 25th.

My partnership with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has yielded a…

My partnership with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has yielded a collection of posters as interesting and wide-ranging as their productions. The New York Times does a monthly piece that explores the story and the art behind theatre posters, aptly titled Behind the Poster. And what do you know, February featured a poster I did for Woolly’s first play of the 2017 season, Baby Screams Miracle. I’m proud to work with a theatre that always pushes artistic boundaries, and this write up is a pleasant surprise. 

Take a look and if you want a little behind the Behind the Poster, my photographers take: 

For Woolly Mammoth’s 2017 season – their 37th – I reunited with powerhouse creative director, Jamin Hoyle for a second helping of posters for the DC fixture. Working closely with Gwydion Suilebhan, the theatre’s director of brand and marketing as well, we aimed to capture the feeling of both a physical storm and one raging within. Baby Screams Miracle, begs for a dark and atmospheric look. The hand painted backdrop is a dark blue-green with brush strokes that mimic the movement of a storm. Our model is pregnant and made to look wet and wind blown. Her shimmery, smoky eyes give us a gateway into her internal storm as the viewer is challenged to read her ecstatic expression as laughter or tears. For the subject to appear to be solely lit by candle stub and proudly all captured in camera, I staged our lighting to simulate what would be cast by a candle stub in the rain, mainly her face illuminated with the murky suggestion of the whipping wind and rain behind her.​  

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/theater/tears-or-laughter-for-this-plays-poster-its-your-call.html‘>https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/theater/tears-or-laughter-for-this-plays-poster-its-your-call.html

I’ve always had a fondness for the Mississippi-Louisiana…

I’ve always had a fondness for the Mississippi-Louisiana corridor, the Delta in particular, where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at the Crossroads – rich in food, textures, characters and of course, the blues, this region lives in me. It was a place I traveled to during summers as a child with my family and am so fortunate to have made numerous return trips to the Delta to make photographs both personally and for work. The Mississippi Delta has produced more blues musicians than any other region, and it’s really not even close. On one visit to Clarksdale, MS, a local told me about the Riverside Hotel, which I visited and made a portrait of “Ratâ€, the owner at the time. The unique story of the Riverside and its historic place in the fabric of the Delta are tangible to me in the image.

The Riverside Hotel has been in operation since 1944. The hotel is one of many historical blues sites in Clarksdale and is famed for providing lodging for such blues artists as Sonny Boy Williamson II, Ike Turner and Robert Nighthawk.  At some point in the mid-1940s, Ike Turner moved into the Hotel and wrote and rehearsed his song “Rocket 88.†Turner’s bedroom is said to have been in what is now room #7.

Before being born as the Riverside Hotel, the site was the G. T. Thomas Afro-American Hospital, Clarksdale’s hospital for African American patients. In September of 1937, famed singer Bessie Smith was taken there for treatment after being involved in a car accident, which later proved fatal, outside Clarksdale.

The original structure had eight rooms. In 1943, Mrs. Z.L. Ratliff rented the property from G.T. Thomas for use as a hotel. Ratliff drew up plans that expanded the building to include 21 guest rooms over two floors. Thomas assisted her in this renovation and it opened as a hotel in 1944. Ratliff purchased the building outright from Thomas’s widow in 1957 and it has remained in the hands of the Ratliff family ever since. For much of that time it was run by Frank “Rat†Ratliff.

The portrait of “Rat†itself was very simple. He gave me a tour of the hotel and I asked if I could make his portrait sitting on the edge of the bed in one of the rooms.  He was game and we had nice window light.  The camera was hand held with transparency film and after couple of quick snaps we were on our way.  It was just a quick moment, nothing fancy but I enjoy the image, of a character of the Delta in his element. I was lucky to have had the experience and interaction with him.

“Rat†passed away in 2013, but the Riverside Hotel is still in business,  currently run by his daughter Zelena Ratliff.

I first heard about 2 wolf-boys in Mexico 20+ years ago. It was…

I first heard about 2 wolf-boys in Mexico 20+ years ago. It was a legend, a character that stuck with me and I couldn’t shake them. This past Thanksgiving I ran into Guadalupe Ortega Ramirez, a long time producer friend from Mexico City, and for some reason I asked her about what I had heard all those years ago. Guadalupe knew what I was talking about and, via an article in the UK that I came across, she found one of them, Jesus Fajardo Aceves, on Facebook of all places. We both friended and connected with him there and found out he was in a small traveling circus, Circus Golden Bross, and (as luck would have it) outside of Tulum for a few days. I love Tulum. And the draw to follow – and unpack the truth about – this character that had so captured my imagination was so strong that I packed a bag to find him, on 2 days notice.

Now that I had located him and was on my way to meet him, I began to look closely into his story and transform the tale into the man. The condition Aceves has is hypertrichosis, which is simply an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body. The other “wolf-boy†from the stories of my youth turned out to be his cousin. Hypertrichosis runs in families and Aceves’s two daughters have it as well. As is so often true of how people deal with the unknown, Aceves was bullied and gawked at. He sought a “normal†existence outside the circus and sideshow circuit and in 2005 the BBC did a documentary, It’s Not Easy Being a Wolf Boy†on his efforts to shave and look for employment. Aceves has since returned however to the familiar world of the circus.

On to Tulum. Guadalupe & I traveled, scouted and went to the circus. There I finally met the wolf boy – now a man. And Jesus Faiardo Aceves is one of the nicest guys I’ve met, both gentle and shy. He graciously sat for my photograph which ended up being a tight portrait to show the architecture of his face, his warm eyes and hint of a smile. I also wanted to show detail of the hair as it is, not as our imagination might create when we hear “wolf-boy.â€

Youthful fascination. To photograph him was like my Scooby Doo mystery, like scratching an itch I’d had since I was a little boy. The legend of the Wolf-Boys had lived in my mind like those of the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. But to make a human connection with the legend was to find character and humanity in the man beyond the stories told late at night by flashlight.

While photographing Aceves at the circus I ended up creating images of a captivating contortionist as well. Who can do that??! All in all, a very inspiring day at the the circus.

I first heard about 2 wolf-boys in Mexico 20+ years ago. It was...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be…

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. Any one of these names would be...

Deutsch LA. Star Wars. Target. 

Any one of these names would be an attractive project. Put them together, throw in a little Disney magic, a sprinkle of Lucas Films and I’m not sure the whole thing wasn’t a dream.

I couldn’t have been more excited to get the brief from Deutsch for a project to photograph the latest Star Wars toys for Target – toys which would be released for the upcoming holiday season.  Wow. Amazing. Yes, yes, yes.

Throughout my career I’ve always been defined – you’re a reportage photographer, a corporate photographer, a dance photographer. It’s natural to try to fit people, and their work, into a neat little space. But I honestly feel that all of my work has been a continuation of itself regardless of genre. So though I’m not a “toy photographer,†I was beyond excited to be considered for this project.

From the first call, it was clear that the agency saw past any proverbial boxes. They saw what I’ve just recently started to realize – that the movies and comics of my youth have been some of my greatest and most important influences in my life and my picture-making. These were key ingredients in who they were looking for — a photographer that loved cinema and also harbored an inner-nerd.

As timing would have it, I was on a Griswald-esque family vacation when this opportunity presented itself. While driving up, down and around the West Coast I pulled my two boys into the pre-production mix.  “What are you seeing here,“ “what would you like to see happen†– one of the first things out of their mouths was “Do we have to follow the rules?†and “I’d like to see the hatch open and suck them out into space!†Kids. Funny and I’ll remember it forever. But, in truth their perspective also allowed me to start seeing things from a fresh point of view and channel the excitement of kids – the very kids who would take those toys and create their own rebel worlds.

The agency was just as excited as I was to envision the scenes that these toys would inhabit. I immediately imagined the toys as characters in a stop-motion film – pulling inspiration from the original King Kong, to Ray Harryhausen, to Jason and the Argonauts, to the genius of the recent film Anomalisa and the amazing stop-motion work from Laika. And they were totally on board with a cinematic approach, with everything captured in-camera.

Fast (and I mean fast) forward a few weeks and I’m in LA for a three day studio shoot.  And while it always takes a village to pull something like this off, I am indebted to Deutsch for entrusting me to create these worlds, to the retouchers at Sugar Digital and to Amy Whitehouse, the producer that also led me to a kindred spirit set designer, Todd Davis, who was just as excited as I was to create these authentic small worlds. Wow. Deutsch LA. Target. Star Wars.

Southwest The Magazine If you don’t read the in-flight…

Southwest The Magazine 

If you don’t read the in-flight magazines, you’re missing out. And I don’t just say that because I recently photographed the cover story for Southwest Airlines’ Southwest the Magazine. You’ll be missing the opportunity to read about the incredible story of Derek Amato, one of a rare group of acquired or sudden savants – someone who survives a traumatic brain injury and emerges with an extreme talent.

Derek Amato dove into the shallow end of a pool at a party. After being diagnosed with a severe concussion and resting for 5 days, he woke up with an unquenchable urge to play the piano. He doesn’t even read music, but the most complex and intricate works – spanning all genres – now flow from his fingertips.

What I love about this story is our ability to still be wowed, that there are still mysteries in our minds and our humanity.

“Amato feels like as a sudden savant, he can stand for something more than just the music. He is an example of what we all could be. ‘It’s not that I understand human potential any better than anyone else,’ he says. ‘I just understand that there is so much more of it than we know.’â€

It was an honor to be trusted with this story and I was super excited when I heard about the opportunity.  Then I just had to figure out how to pull it off…Kevin de Miranda, creative director at Pace Communications, came to me with the conceptual idea of Derek playing the piano at the bottom of a pool.  Though I had only photographed one underwater image once before, I loved the idea of creating something ethereal & beautiful.  It was a bit of challenge logistically as well as technically but Derek was amazing throughout – as generous with his time and energy as he is with his story and his music. He was up for anything and ready for the underwater adventure.  

William Eggleston Photographing the photographer. Memphis. I got…

William Eggleston 

Photographing the photographer. Memphis. I got wind of a juke joint festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi and I hopped a flight in London, through Chicago and on to Memphis to photograph it. It turned out to be a hurry up and wait deal when I learned the festival started a day later than I had thought. Memphis, home of William Eggleston, with time to kill. Why not? A true original in the field for nearly 60 years, Eggleston turned his lens and his attention to the commonplace, finding stark beauty in the banal, and forever changing the aesthetic of the American photographic landscape through color. A true original regardless of medium, a forever creative inspiration to me to always follow your own path.

A call to his son and I got the go-ahead, some advice only a son could give, and no guarantees that I’d get a chance to make this picture. I walked into William Eggleston’s quiet apartment and found him down a hall, lying on his bed smoking a cigarette. After a couple hours of visiting time, where he blew me away with his razor sharp memories of his work down to the camera he used in 1973, we came back around to creating his photograph. He put on his suit and ascot, I asked him for 7 minutes outside and – despite his son’s prepping me for a “no†– I was able to convince him to come to the simple set I’d built in the park across the street. I kept my promise on the 7 minutes, I’d waited patiently to hurry up and make a picture of one of the great American photographers.

As we worked outside, I asked Eggleston who was the most difficult person he’d worked with. He replied, “you.â€

Southern Nevada Water Authority A biker and a luchador walk into…

Southern Nevada Water Authority A biker and a luchador walk into...

Southern Nevada Water Authority 

A biker and a luchador walk into a photo shoot…R&R Partners have created some seriously sexy and impactful work. It was a privilege to work with the creative folks behind Las Vegas’s “What Happens Here, Stays Here†on a campaign for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Leave it to @rrpartners to make drought compliance and civic responsibility entertaining.

For these “Be An Angel, Make Sunday a Day of Rest†environmental portraits I was charged with placing recognizable, modern tough guys into a painterly setting where the sun would act as a halo. A little Hell’s Angels meets Giotto (or we could be more abstract and say early Renaissance) made for a not so gentle reminder to refrain from watering on Sundays, and for truly arresting results.

*Note: no photographers were harmed in the making of this campaign, though the talent was authentic, they were angels, as advertised.