My Favorite Photographer!!!



After several months I’m finally ready to share with you my absolute favorite photographer. I doubt my love for this man’s work will ever change. As I’ve shared before, “What seals a person as a “favorite” is their ability to change my mind. Their ability to change my understanding of the artistic expression“. I’ve not yet seen another photographer’s work that gave me the same chill, the same anxiety in my stomach, and the same inspiration in my heart as this person. The day I discovered his work I shared it with my home-group (a group of Sarah and my best-friends, we meet once a week).  A couple of them said, “I can see why you like him so much”.  Meaning they saw the similarity in the heart of our work. I in no way compare to his crisp clean images, the absolute perfection in his execution of his images. But, seriously, when I saw his website it was as if every daydream about an impossible photo shoot I’d ever had came true in his work.

The best example is the above photo. I took that just a couple months before seeing his work for the first time. It’s not nearly as clean or well executed as his work, but it has similar elements in content. That’s why my friends, and I think most people that know me, agree that they can see why I like him.

I’m going to share with you the name of the photographer I most admire. But please do not look up his work until the end of this blog, or when you have time to seriously experience his work. I know this sounds ridiculous, but my heart jumps, my stomach turns with nervousness, and I’m overwhelmed just talking about him in this silly little blog. My favorite photographer is Cade Martin.

Most guitar players will concede to Eric Clapton as my favorite guitar player. Most photographers will conceded to Jeremy Cowart as my second favorite photographer. But most photographers, let alone most people, don’t know who Cade Martin is. A friend of mine, who is a great photographer, spent last year as the official blogger for a photography website. Her job was to feature and write articles on great photographers. We were talking about how people often walk away from classes, seminars, and workshops quoting the people who taught as if they are the defining opinion on how a camera works. Saying things like, “oh no, I compose like this because Jiggity Bigname cameradude said this is how it is”. I interupted and said, “I agree friend. But if Jeremy Cowart or Cade Martin say anything at all, I’m doing it!” Her response, “I’ll give you your Jeremy Cowart, but who is this Cade whodywhaty lady?” She had no idea who he is!

Another example of his under-appreciation is his Facebook fan page. At the time of posting this Jeremy Cowart had 14,615 fans. Cade Martin had 842. Regardless of not being a house hold name, he is my biggest influence.

So who is he. I first heard about Cade Martin in the After Capture magazine. The images in that article made my heart melt. I since cut it out, and pasted it into a scrap book. I keep a great deal of inspiring magazine clippings in my scrap book, but the Cade Martin article may as well be made of gold. Reviewing this article, after not reading it for about five months now, is very refreshing and encouraging.

Cade Martin is a quiet and reserved 42 year old photographer residing in Washington D.C. He first picked up a Camera when he was 20, enrolled in a class, but didn’t plan to pursue it professionally. He spent the next few years floundering about what to do for a career. Meanwhile his family and friends began to give him a great deal of praise over his work. Soon he began to pursue photography seriously, built a portfolio, and showed it to National Geographic. They hired him and he spent the next several years in India. There he met his wife. Since then he has moved back to the U.S. in D.C. He’s done work for just about every major business you’ve ever heard of.

I relate to floundering about my career choice. I’m not happy being a prison guard. I also picked up an SLR camera for the first time when I was 24 years old. But it’s his philosophy that I think you’ll see I relate to even more. Cade Martin says he’s not much of a gear head, “I’m not a very technical person, I don’t get caught up in all the gear”. He almost proudly says, “I’ve never used (Photoshop) plug-ins because I’ve never needed to”. But perhaps most encouraging about Cade Martin is that he attributes much of his creative success to an obsession with personal projects (or “visual pushups” as he calls them).

Everything about Cade Martin’s website is an experience. A beautiful experience, one that changed my life. It gave me peace and anxiety at the same time. I feel really encouraged that I’m going in the right direction.

One final thought I’d like to add to my list about my favorite photographers. The top three are not wedding photographers. I had to do some serious soul searching about this. If I want to be  a wedding photographer, why are my favorite photographers conceptual artists? The realization isn’t one that potential clients might like. Though, the couples that are with Sarah and I’m sure will understand. The truth is, I want to be a conceptual artists. That is what the creative projects are really about. Wedding photography I love, and it provides. But I need these creative projects to keep my love for the photographic expression alive.

I hope you enjoy my favorite photographer’s work. I owe so much to the amazing Cade When you get to the site, please save the gallery titled, “Newest” for last. It’s amazing! Many of those images were made for the Washington D.C. ballet. At their site you can purchase a coffee table book of the images, the proceeds will go to support the ballet. And yes, I do have that book!

Thanks a lot for letting me share with you. I hope you express your heart in some way today.

God Bless You,
-Adam Allen


Sara - Thanks for sharing Adam! He is phenomenal! I definitely think it is great to glean inspiration from a myriad of places, and not just other wedding photographers-especially to create a distinct style within the industry (which you definitely have). I feel like I could stare at the very first image in his “style” gallery for hours and never grow tired of it. I also love your photo at the top of this post-it’s always been a favorite!