Photographers we are part of a community

Just a few days ago Dave “Mullet” Martin, Associated Press photographer based in Montgomery, Ala., died after collapsing on the Georgia Dome field after the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Tuesday night.

Dave Martin is on the left wearing the blue shirt in this photo of photographers covering the Chick-fil-A Kickoff earlier this year.

The days following the loss of Dave have been filled with stories of “Mullet” and “Vern.” Apparently he called just about most other photographers Vern.

Sean Bush commented on the Facebook Tribute page:

“Hey Vern, one of my members so an so is sending you this can you get it turned around for so an so’s deadline. Oh and by the way Vern yer still ugly.” I had a great admiration for Mullet not only as a photographer but as a person. Dave had a drive like no other, a love for what he did, and the ability it teach by example and kindness. 

Mark Lent said:

I have many things to thank Dave for… He encouraged me and always treated my abilities as a photographer as equal to his own, even though they were not. 

There were many stories about Dave and the theme I continued to hear was how hard Dave worked and competed against everyone. You also heard how much he mentored so many. What was also special is how he often gave others shooting for him a better angle, but some how always came away with great shots from wherever he was shooting.

He loved to joke and give everyone a hard time, but he also respected others in the profession. He was not putting you down to elevate himself. What he was giving to all the photographers that knew him was respect and acknowledgment.

Tami Chappel, Reuter’s photographer, posted on the Dave Martin Tribute page there was a gathering at Manuel’s Tavern this past Saturday night. As she said Dave had a restaurant in every town that he loved to go and Manuel’s was that place in Atlanta.

Tami printed some pictures of Dave that we put on the tables as we gathered to tell our stories with Dave.

We all stood up together and toasted our friend and colleague who in his death brought us all together in his honor.

Here is a photo of Michael Schwarz showing a new camera to David Murray and David Tullis. This is typical of Dave’s friends. We love to share what we are learning and know that while we all compete we are also close to one another because we have so much in common.

You can see the joy on everyone’s faces as they share experiences together. We enjoy not just telling our stories, but listening to one another.

I can almost hear Dave giving John Bazemore hell for the photo that is up on John’s computer in the photo above. “Why did you shoot that photo?” I could hear him say.

Then I guess Dave went back to editing thinking I didn’t get that photo that Bazemore got. Later I can hear him complaining that photo of John’s ran every where.  Sometimes he was joking and other times he was trying to figure out why that photo worked with more editors. He would then beat us all the next few times.

While John Bazemore was shooting with every other photographer at the end of the Chick-fil-A Bowl competing for the space to get the shot, he noticed it wasn’t as difficult, that is when he noticed Dave was not there.

Every time this year we notice that it was easier to get that photo I hope we all realize it is because Dave is gone and remember a class act.

I am sure Dave “Mullet” Martin would tell me, “Just Shut Up and Make A Picture!”