Still Images in Great Advertising- Cade Martin

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

Cade Martin has been a long time client of mine and I have been more than thrilled at his continuing success and growth.  This latest campaign is with Starbucks and their TAZO tea brand which came to him through his agents at Greenhouse Reps.

Suzanne:  I see you finessing this style and growing the technique.  Is this because this creative team allowed you to push the envelope more than some past projects?

Working with the Starbucks creative team was an amazing experience. They were collaborative as well as super supportive of anything I wanted to try, and gave the time and space to push it a little bit further and experiment.  For this project I pulled together a team with a lot of feature film experience, which helped take it in the direction I wanted.

Suzanne: Where did you shoot this campaign?  It is so etherial.  But some of that I think is your lighting and technique that you have taken further.

We shot the entire campaign over three days in LA, two days were at Greystone Mansion (a Tudor-style estate where films like There Will Be Blood and The Prestige were filmed) and one day was at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.

We had a number of scenarios and the two locations were perfect in that they allowed us multiple looks that were all completely different.

Suzanne: What are your plans to continue to grow this style of shooting?  It is nice to be known for a unique style but if you don’t push and grow you get pigeon holed.

It’s an interesting question and I’ve faced the pigeon holing at every step of my career. When I first started I worked on a couple of projects for National Geographic & Discovery Channel and I was considered a reportage photographer. I then worked on corporate portraits and I was known as the corporate guy. I did a book project for a ballet company so I was then the dance guy.  I know it’s human nature to want to classify someone but I’d love to be considered just a photographer.  I honestly love the range of the projects that I work on and I think I’m able to draw on each and every one of these different experiences to bring something to a project that maybe wasn’t considered.

Suzanne:  I know that it is wonderful to be doing National and International assignments, but you still love your local clients and the work they do.  How to get the message to local advertising community that you still love their projects, too.

I live in DC, am raising my family in DC and I truly love working in DC. It really is a neat city, an international city, and there is a ton of amazing work being created here – projects large & small and I love being a part of it.   I’ve been very fortunate to have a list of local clients that I love working with and truly enjoy the collaborative nature of our work.  It’s like family.  Photography for me is not just about the grand and faraway – but often, it’s the joy of bringing a new look – or discovering a hidden secret – in your very own backyard.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Cade Martin is an award-winning photographer for advertising, corporate and fashion clients worldwide. His meticulous attention to detail helps shape an environment that echoes the real world, but with a heightened emotional focus. Specializing in people and location photography, Martin has worked for clients including Tommy Hilfiger, Coors Brewing Company, Zurich, America’s Next Top Model, Discovery Channel, Karla Colletto, IBM, Verizon, Marriott International, Grey Goose, National Geographic Society, Starbucks and other companies and creative agencies.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information.  Follow her@SuzanneSease.

There Are 18 Comments On This Article.

  1. These are really sweet Cade, they fit the Tazo vibe really well but in a totally different direction than their past.

  2. Wolfgang Scheu

    Great photography, indeed – instantly googled Cade Martin – have to highlight some accidental resemblance to the work of Rodney Smith …. or should I say “they bear an uncanny resemblance” …..

  3. I would be one million of my hard earned dollars that the AD ad a Rodney Smith book on set whilst shooting these. (And a Melvin Sokolsky book, and a…)

    Having been a commercial photographer in NYC for 20 years now, I have been saying this for a long time: the trouble with art directors is that someone pays them $100K (or more) per year to show up on set with a bunch of magazine clippings, and ask the photographer to (for the most part) copy them. (they call the tear sheets “inspiration.” I call it a lack of inspiration.) This is child’s play, and not worth $100K.

    I am waiting for the day when an AD shows up on my set (or, more accurately, our planning meetings) with a pencil and paper and actually concocts a great idea, from thin air. (I know some of them do, but none of mine have!)

    The one time in recent years when someone actually drew something, it was the prop guy. And the drawing was so sweet and meaningful that I have kept it for years.

    I am not suggesting that we should reinvent the wheel for every shoot, but showing up with pictures to copy should be a $30K job. It doesn’t take a lot of skill IMO.

    (mind you I am not suggesting that these photos are not well executed. I am not harshing on the photographer at all…)

  4. Suzanne,

    Nice to see Cade’s work featured! It’s a visually interesting campaign, and despite what others above have said, the look is ‘all Cade’.

    Granted, you have a ‘bubble’ a la Sokolsky, and a guy in a hat (Rodney Smith) but while I can see a bit of merit in the ‘bubble’ comment, the others are off base.

    As for ‘inspiration vs. derivation’ . . . I think that’s an eternal art world issue. And, it’s been said a million times (and yeah, I’m saying it too) ‘it’s all been done’. Just ask Picasso . . .

    Bottom line – Cade did a great job illustrating the client’s concepts.

  5. Wolfgang Scheu

    Somehow I started this conversation …. which led to some kind of misunderstanding by Suzanne and I feel sorry for any negative interpretation – let me clarify: Like I said I do love the photos (and would be glad to have some pictures like these in my portfolio some day). Being happy for his success I dont believe Cade Martin should/would feel insulted by mentioning some feeling of resemblance to the great art of Rodney Smith ( which is obviously much more than just “a guy in a hat”, Robb)

    On the other hand quoting Aesop to stop the comments feels exaggerated, Suzanne

    • Suzanne Sease

      You are very kind. My comment was not directed towards you. Thank you for taking the time to write. All the best to you

  6. it’s amazing how quickly congratulations can turn into a critical review.
    They are the right pictures, for the right job, executed in the right way.
    It matters little if the initial influence was Magritte , Smith , Leibovitz or Bruegel.
    This is now, the pictures are now, without the scraps of magazines, drawings or whatever springboarded these into existence, we would not be talking about them.
    I for one am glad they do exist, they are elegant, simple and in their fantastical whimsical way do their intended job. Which is to make a warmish brownish liquid seem more appealing.
    Well done Cade & Co.

  7. “Is X too much like Y?” The artist’s eternal insecurity – and the place where the unsuccessful aim for when making a jab.

    Real maturity in your work and career begins when you get over that non-problem.

  8. Whenever I see work like this, wonderful by the way, I wonder how involved the photographer was in the post work. Is it common for them to do it themselves or hand it off to their or the client’s go to guy?

    -Allen