By Cash Montgomery
Blake Martin constantly raises the bar for himself and although you might not know his name, if you’ve picked up VOGUE Magazine, shopped on ASOS or walked through Times Square, then you’ve most definitely seen his work. While his career path was a bit unconventional, the entrepreneur has carved a niche in the fashion industry; and has now become the new “IT” guy in the world of fashion photography.
Over the last decade, Blake Martin has proved himself to be a pioneer in the world of fashion show production. However- along with the majority of the rest of the world- Blake found himself unemployed when Coronavirus ended all live events, including his biggest source of income- New York Fashion Week.
Instead of allowing the pandemic to land him in depression and uncertainty, Blake committed himself to a new hobby, photography. “Photography was supposed to be something just to pass the time until the pandemic was over and we were able to get back to our normal lives,” Blake states. “But it was with that very first push of the camera that I knew something in me and changed forever.”
Blake produced his very first fashion photo shoot on May 2, 2020 at Him Over There Studios. “I called my friend Kevin and said ‘I bought a camera and I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m coming to the studio with models and I need help,’ and we did just that. He helped me understand the basics of lighting and he pushed me out there. My very shoot featured 4 models and a 6-foot ball python snake. I look back and wonder, who did I think I was?” *he laughs* “But it was an amazing moment for me. I had all the skills to produce a successful photoshoot but this was my first time with the actual camera in my hand.” The skillset he references is a 10-year successful career as a fashion creative director, stylist and model coach. In his tenue, Blake has produced fashion shows, photo shoots, and content for brands such as NIKE, Timberland, Gucci, Llewellyn, Omari’s Closet, Under Armour, ADIDAS, and has produced a 32-city tour in China. The guy knows this business-inside and out.
“Transitioning to photography was extremely scary but also (on many levels) made sense for me. Just felt like the next thing to take my career in fashion to the next step.” Since starting his journey within photography, this freshman has QUICKLY become the professor. To date, Blake’s photography has been featured on the pages of VOGUE Magazine, GQ Magazine, over 54 other magazine covers, and has went viral several times being reshared by Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, 50 Cent, CANON, Nigel Barker, and even White House Staff. In addition, Blake has become the international creative director of Paris based publication, MALVIE magazine and has become the first photographer of color from Chicago-in history- to have his photography shown on a billboard on Broadway in Times Square- a feat most photographers work their entire career for.
Most recently, Blake has begun a photography residency and partnership with Midnight Cinema Studios in Chicago, Illinois and has become editor in chief of his own publication, BEZEL Magazine- which has already featured celebrities such as Willie Taylor of Day 26, Anthony Miller of the Chicago Bears, and supermodels Brianne Pearson, Harper Anthony and upcoming, Wendell Lissimore.
“I’m just so humbled by all of this. It’s overwhelming, exciting, and scary all at the same. But I’m happy and humbled. I thank all of those amazing photographers who answered all my annoying questions and all the models who believed in me even when they had no reason to. I take none of it for granted. But if I am being honest, this is all God. He is the creator of all of this and he is my guiding light. He’s placed me here and it’s because I know this is his journey for me, I accept it and plan to conquer everything imaginable.”
With all his accomplishments, on top of degrees from prestigious HBCUs and training completed at HARVARD Business School, there is no doubt that this man of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Is set to take over the world- VERY SOON. This icon will soon be a legend.