“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing… that it all started with a mouse.”
— Walt Disney, 1954
Many years ago, I picked up my first camera. It was the 1970’s and the camera was a “Mick-A-Matic” – in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. From that moment, the idea of being able to capture a moment – not just a picture – has been my passion. It was in my blood. My grandfather was a photographer. Even today, some of his best family work hangs on the walls of my parents’ home. But he wasn’t just a “picture-taker”, he was also an artist. He developed his own images and did some amazing color work in the darkroom. Today, my brother has one of his original cameras – a Zeiss Ikon. A picture of that camera sits in my studio.
When I told my parents that I was going to switch my major from computer science to studio arts, they probably thought I was a bit nuts. But they probably also knew that it was coming. While my father was a long-time IBM’er, my mother was an art teacher. My destiny shared both of their paths.
Funny enough, that college graduate with her studio arts degree ended up starting her career at… IBM! I worked as an intern after college in Syracuse, NY, where my father worked. And shortly after, I accepted a job at one of IBM’s branches in Boston, MA. So, I packed up my car (and my camera) and headed east.
It was there that I met the person who would become my husband. I like to joke with Ed that it was his Canon EOS 650 that made me say yes. Truth be told, I was an Olympus girl so jumping to Canon was a pretty big step!
Photos have always been part of our lives. Long before the portability of cameras that double as phones (also known as iPhones), that Canon 650 did a lot of miles with us. Vacation photography turned to family photography as our three children expanded our family. Along with the kids came changes in lifestyle. I went from full time to part time in order to focus on raising our family. Which is right about the time the whole professional photographer thing kicked in.
Sideline rec-league sports photos of our kids playing soccer and softball evolved into me being the go-to photographer for those leagues. And I made it my mission in life to make sure all of our friends had much better family photos for their Christmas cards every year. We were living in Florida at the time and I started my first photography business – Redwood Grove Photography (the name of the street where we lived).
Life and career brought the Martin family to North Carolina in 2004. “Redwood Grove” didn’t make a lot of sense for the name of a photography business around Lake Norman, so LKN Images was born.
Our kids had a lot to do with the evolution & growth of LKN Images. Rec-league sports were a big part of how we started. And that helped build a solid family photography business as our network grew in the Lake Norman area. As our kids moved into middle and high school age, so evolved the studio. Today, high school seniors, team & individual sports and portrait photography are the focus of LKN Images.
But one thing has never changed… this has always been my passion. Like my grandfather, I’m not a “picture-taker”. I have a knack for being able to capture personality, emotion and “a moment” in my photography. Nothing makes me prouder than when I sit with parents in my studio reviewing a senior portrait shoot and they see that smile… that look… that “thing” in their senior’s photos that brings back all the memories of their childhood.
I have the best job in the world.
P.S. I don’t know what happened to my original Mick-A-Matic camera, but a couple of years ago, we were at Gibson Mill and found one – still in the original box. My pro gear today is a bit more advanced than Mickey, but I smile every day when I see it in the studio.
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