Andy Martin ~ Biography
If anyone should ask, I would say that the theme in my life has always been reinvention. Most people can relate, as a young person I worried a lot about how I would find my voice in this world. Being extremely shy and the 6th child in a family of 7 siblings, finding my voice was difficult. Being that both of my parents were extremely gifted musicians, I felt that music was the obvious calling for my life, so right out of high school I joined a touring Christian band. At 18 years old, all that I really needed in life was the clothes on my back, my guitar, my sketch pad and my Canon AE1 Camera. When my dad passed away I left the life I knew on the road behind me and went to college.
I knew that I needed to reinvent myself. I really loved sketching and I loved street photography. I believed that I could not become a professional photographer with the gear that I owned and because good cameras cost so much money that becoming a paid photographer seemed impossible. Somehow I found myself in an office working as a draftsman at a custom cabinet shop and at the same time going to school to become an Information Technology Engineer. Later, I got a job at a bank where I managed email, internet traffic, data management etc. You know... the boring stuff. Life has had a few twists and turns from there so I will fast forward a bit.
I showed some of my work to a photographer friend of mine. He told me that I was a really good photographer and that I could actually work with the gear that I have. That was what I needed to hear. I took a leap of faith and I went for it. I believed that if I put my work out there and I was good, people would respond.
I started shooting commercial fashion work and formed relationships with models, dress designers, makeup artists etc. I became known for my artistic, never before seen approach to fashion work. And never having gone to medium format cameras, my work has been seen on billboards way up high next to busy highways. Still, it was my street photography experience that prepared me for what would be my true calling... Wedding Photography. It prepared my eye for a different type of portraiture. Not the kind where the photographer says, "smile and say cheese", but the organic and natural type of street photography portraiture. I feel that people look best when they are themselves. Wedding photography is very much like street photography. The moment passes so quickly and you will never see it again. Your heart has to be invested. You have to be ready for those moments so you have to be quick. I can see an entire composition as it happens. I don't know if it is this way with everyone, but I close my eyes and my memory would draft a still image like a photograph.
One big piece of advice that I would give to the younger version of myself, is be prepared to reinvent yourself. Be prepared to take that leap of faith and do things that you feel strongly about. Nothing you photograph is by accident. Inspiration leads to inspiration. The photo is ALL. Just let the photo be what it is and trust your creative empathy.