Clients appreciate it when a photographer is ready for anything – including short timelines, nervous talent or unexpected obstacles. Cade Martin, an artist who takes it all in stride, recently worked on a campaign with long-time client Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. He knew he would be going into the project not knowing who exactly he would photograph and their conditions. He told Capitol Communicator that he’s learned to anticipate challenges, being ready with solutions to keep anyone comfortable. We spoke with him about this project.
What did you learn on this project?
In some ways when I am working with Children’s National, I get the distinct pleasure of learning the same thing each time – how important their work is and how wonderful they are. I’ve been collaborating with Children’s National Hospital DC for a number of years and I’ve consistently witnessed the relationship between the hospital and families, gaining a deeper understanding of the labor of love that drives both families and the amazing staff at Children’s.
What was your most memorable moment on this shoot?
A lot of times when photographing real kids – and adults – you come in with a load of equipment and they look at you – and everyone else – like you are from Mars. My job is to make them as comfortable as quickly as I can, so I can capture an emotion and a moment in time. On our very first location for this shoot, we were in a little girl’s room and she was more than a little nervous. I looked around and she had a whoopee cushion on a little chair. Unbeknownst to her, I picked it up, had her look into the camera and let the whoopee cushion rip and watched her eyes widen as she broke into a huge smile and laugh. I now have a whoopee cushion in my kit.
What do you hope people learn about you and your work after viewing photos from this project?
Throughout my career, more often than not, I did not hear anything once my work was released. Social media has changed that a bit and I’ve enjoyed the comments and feedback on my work. I hope that people recognize the power of storytelling in photography, that they can see care present on both side of the camera. I’ve never been one to seek out attention for myself but one comment on a post gave me pause: “You are a good man Cade Martin. Tenderness and dignity shows in your work”. I’ll take that ten times out of ten!
Comments like that must be very satisfying.
I can’t think of anything more satisfying than celebrating 150 years of Children’s National Hospital, except for maybe celebrating 151 years and beyond. I’m grateful to Rachel Phillips, Creative Director at Children’s Hospital Foundation – Children’s National, and Bill Cutter, Creative Director at SmithGifford, for allowing me to capture some of the care, healing and love that drives this extraordinary place.