Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dave Martin: Controversial Photographer

Dave Martin, longtime San Francisco resident and photographer, instrumental in raising the profile of the male nude throughout the world, died here May 4th, 2014.  Martin was born in 1922 in East Pennsylvania and moved San Francisco in 1948.

He was self-taught about photography and opened his first studio on Sacramento Street in 1951. He photographed military men, college athletes and law enforcement officers. His mentor was Alonzo Hanagan whom he met in 1947.

Martin's output spanned from1951 to 1974 but he continued to make prints and worked in his darkroom to develop them from his original negatives until 2010.

In the late 1940s, San Francisco had no photographer exclusively specializing in the male nude. Martin seized the opportunity and moved here. He photographed muscular types en plein air, including indoors and at the Golden Gate Bridge.

In 2003 the Green Library at Stanford University acquired copies of most of his photographs of which there were about 2600. There probably not any another such archive in the U.S.

Martin's work was published in American Photography of the Male Nude 1940-1970, Volume III (Janssen, Berlin, 1996).

A fan of film history, Martin was a loyal caller to the radio show Minds Over Matter, a weekly KALW radio quiz show. He was also a co-founder of The Trading Post, a group of local film buffs.

After he died, a public memorial was held at St. Aidan's Church in Diamond Heights, San Francisco.


Photos by Dave Martin

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