We had the good fortune of connecting with Walter Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Walter, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
It is not an easy thing to know when to keep going or to give up. In my personal journey, I have started as a writer to a photographer and there have been several successes and failures I’ve endured. But when I used to work on film sets back when I was in college, the one thing that the most experienced crew members would tell me is to keep an open mind because sometimes you’ll have some idea of what you want to do, but then you start doing something else that you think you may hate or loath and you find out that you actually love it once you start doing it. And I find that to be so true. I wanted to be a screenwriter and a film director or a producer. Instead, I hit a wall and just couldn’t find any work in the local film industry. It wasn’t until I turned to photography that I started to make headway again. Honestly, I never thought I would go into photography. When I first learned it back in high school, I thought it was the most boring and something I would never do. But now, I find that I love it and I have a lot of passion for it. Often, I’ve received more attention from my photography than anything else I’ve done, and it’s opened some unexpected doors for me. So really, it’s all about keeping an open mind, seeing the positive in the failure and learn from it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
After graduating from college, I was pretty much down on my luck. I was working at a local movie theater part-time on minimum wage. The few times I actually did find work in the film industry, it was unpaid. It was a real struggle. In my frustration, I decided to buy a camera and that is essentially how I started photography. It was supposed to be a hobby so I wouldn’t waste my film skills. One of the first things I did was to learn how to shoot completely on manual meaning I set the ISO, the aperture, and the shutter speed myself. Once I started uploading my images onto Instagram and other websites, I’ve had professional photographers telling me my images are so good that I should consider going professional with it. It’s funny because when my graphic design teacher taught photography when I was in high school, it went over my head. It made no sense to me. But once I picked up the camera and started to shoot on manual, it just came natural to me. The only real difficult I have had is that sometimes I need to have more confidence in my skills as a photographer because I could see an image in the viewfinder display of my camera and feel a little discouraged because it didn’t turn out the way I had expect. But once I load my images into my computer, I become surprised that it actually turned out exactly the way I want it to appear. So sometimes I have to give myself a good talking to and resist looking at the viewfinder display. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to go professional with it. In the meantime, I shoot pretty much anything: landscapes, nature, events, travel and portraits in order to create variety in my portfolio.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am someone who always prefer to be on the move. Traveling is one of my main passions. But if I had someone who came to visit me, I would take them to Put-in-Bay which is located in Northern Ohio. They have a lot of great bars and restaurants to check out. And for fun, they have helicopter rides where you can see all three islands on Lake Erie from Put-in-Bay to Kelly’s Island and Middle Bass. They also have parasailing, jet skis and so many other fun activities. And to see some interesting places, I would take them to central Ohio where you can see the Newark Burial Mounds, a building designed as a basket and Old Man’s Cave which has very beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of my biggest shoutouts would be to Travis Montgomery. He is one of my closest friends from my days of high school and when I was rejected from the military because of my asthma, it was Travis who suggested I pursue a career within the film industry which started this life long journey that I’m on. The other shoutouts are the various friends I’m made in my travels to different foreign countries who have helped me reshape my ways of thinking and to look at the world a little differently. And of course my friends and colleagues within Cleveland’s film industry for their advice and for their belief in me. Bruno Tatalovic especially because he has always been a mentor towards me. I can’t really think where I would be without them.
Facebook: Walter A. Martin
Other: Behance: /walteramartin