Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day in Photos: Carol W. Martin, Photographer

On this Father's Day, there are stories I'd like to share about my father, the late Carol W. Martin. I have one in particular--about the disastrous time I tried to cook him a steak. But I'll save the stories for another time. Today, I want to share photos.

Which is appropriate, because my father was a professional photographer. Of course, this means that for most family portraits, he was behind and not in front of the camera. Even so, there are some great snapshots of him.

I cherish the following photos of my warm, talented, Virginia-born gentleman father. Nearly 20 years after his death, he is still remembered and revered in Greensboro, where he ran a photography business with his partners for decades. He is still my moral compass. C.W. Martin showed me how to treat others with consideration and respect, how to turn your passion into a successful business, and how to never give up when there's something you really want.

OK, one story: My father graduated from college during the depth of the Great Depression. He was burning up to be a newspaper reporter, but the local newspaper (in Roanoke, Va.), wasn't hiring. Undeterred, he visited the newspaper editor every week for months, reminding him that he wanted to work for the paper. Eventually, a job became available, and my father's career as a reporter--which later led to his photography career--was launched.

Hate the cigarette. Love the effect it gives this self-portrait.
Always ready with a flash bulb ready to pop.

Speaking of popped flash bulbs!
Dad would have loved all the small digital cameras we have today.
The family man reading to my sisters Nancy (left) and Sandi. Though he was often working late, C.W. always made it a priority to spend at least a few minutes every day with his kids. We might not see him all day, but then he'd tuck us in at bedtime and give us little back rubs. In just those few minutes, he gave us the connection to him we needed. 

My grandfather (left) and C.W. were big fishermen. 

C.W., third from left, hangin' with his homeboys. 
I'll just say it: Movie star!

Hard at work as a newspaper reporter.

C.W. loved convertibles. So do I. 

Cute photo of my parents in their early days together. 

Towards the end of his career. Still the dapper gentleman photographer. Sill loved, admired, missed.

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  1. Jim: I absolutely loved this posting. I got a chance to learn a little more about someone (you) who I love and admire so much. I love knowing about the connection you had with your dad. I'm not surprised at all to hear he was a considerate, driven man. So is his son! The pics are priceless. Thanks so much for sharing. Hugs, Ross

    1. Thanks Ross, you are too sweet, child! And what a great Dad you have!

  2. Oh, that last one. You can just see the kindness in his eyes. And I LOVE THE BOW TIE! What a wonderful group of photos. I'd say CW was one cool cat.

    1. He was, Judi. And yes, I love the bow tie too!

  3. Jim,
    It goes without saying (but I will anyway) that whenever I think of something in this town needing photographed, I immediately wonder what your Dad would do with it. For instance, for the first time since it was built, the sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church downtown is being renovated. It has been photographed along the way. I can only imagine Carol Martin would have had a field day in that sanctuary!
    I grew up seeing his photos in our paper and his work elsewhere. His photography proved him to be an artist and don`t ever lose sight of that. I hope you will continue to share what he left behind for all to enjoy.

    1. Thanks John. It means so much to me to hear from people like you who remember my father and appreciated his work! Hope you're doing well.

  4. Love the pics, Jim. Kind of like seeing you in a different time.

  5. He would be so proud of you, Jim. You're cut from the very same cloth.
    love, Lilli

    1. Thanks Lilli! FYI I miss you and think of you often! xoxxo Jim

  6. Awesome way to honor your father!

    You look so much like him; it's uncanny. :)

  7. Those are some great photos, you are lucky to have them!