Photographer with Richmond roots focuses lens in Jackson Ward

Cade Martin in his Clay Street space taking photos of Franklin Street’s Whitney Pratt for the Q&A series.

After two decades in D.C., a commercial photographer and native Richmonder has returned to his hometown with his lens aimed squarely at the city’s advertising and marketing scene.

Cade Martin, a VCU alum who has spent the past 25 years shooting images for the likes of National Geographic and Discovery Channel, moved back to town earlier this year to open a studio in Jackson Ward.

The son of VCU professor Bernard Martin and a cousin of Markel Corp. executive Alex Martin, Cade has set up shop in a warehouse on Clay Street that his father has used for painting and printmaking.

Cade Martin

He’s also jumped right into local work, collaborating with Chris Hull of HeliumStudio on a project profiling Vietnam fighter pilots and photographing a who’s who of Richmond’s creative community for a Q&A series for Capitol Communicator, a D.C.-based media website.

The latter features portraits Cade took in recent months of local ad agency creative directors, including Work’s Cabell Harris, ndp’s Jimmy Ashworth and Franklin Street’s Whitney Pratt. Others involved include Release the Hounds’ John Mills, Burford Advertising’s Doug Burford and Madison + Main’s Dave Saunders.

Martin, who left Richmond in 1992, said the series falls in line with his work in advertising and commercial photography. Local clients through the years have included University of Richmond, Capital One, and marketing firms Elevation and GlynnDevins, as well as regional clients such as Colonial Williamsburg.

“I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for the last 20 years. The market there is similar to Richmond: There’s a variety of industries and a variety of things going on. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed most about what I do: just exposure to different things and different genres,” he said.

“It was one of those things where when you’re a kid, I couldn’t wait to leave Richmond. As I’ve gotten older, you come to appreciate things that you didn’t as a kid, and Richmond is just an absolute boomtown now,” he said. “The energy that’s going on with the construction, the building, is off the charts.”

Martin is taking up just over half of his father’s 4,500-square-foot space on Clay Street, where he hosted a studio opening and photo show this year.

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