Chicago Photographer Blake Martin: Rising Star in Fashion and Editorial Photography

Blake Martin - Photo: David Dickerson Photography

Chicago photographer Blake Martin has emerged as a prominent figure in the world of photography, particularly in the realms of fashion and editorial concepts. With only three years within the photography space, Martin has already cultivated an impressive portfolio that includes capturing the essence of renowned personalities such as Donald Lawrence, Brandee Evans of P Valley fame, Latavia Roberson of Destiny’s Child, the cast of the hit showtime drama “The Chi,” and TaRhonda Jones of the OWN Network. Blake’s work has not only graced billboards in Times Square but has also been featured on the cover of prestigious publications like Vogue Japan and featured in American Vogue on multiple occasions.


Having dominated the fashion show market for over a decade, working with brands such as Gucci, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Alice and Oliva, and Adidas, Blake’s transition into photography in recent years has been nothing short of remarkable. His keen eye for detail, coupled with his ability to bring out the best in his subjects, has solidified his position as a go-to photographer for editorial shoots and conceptual imagery. Blake’s subjects find themselves immersed in his bold ideas and out-of-the-box approach to every image he takes.

Blake Martin - Photo: David Dickerson Photography

Beyond his artistic talents, Blake is hugely known for his mentorship and guidance, nurturing talents all over the world. His impact on aspiring models and artists is evident in the words of those who have had the privilege of working with him.

Shekinah Lee, a model mentored by Blake, acknowledges his invaluable role in her career, emphasizing his honesty, professionalism, and unwavering support. “Blake is brutally honest about the industry’s realities, and how to navigate its challenges with resilience and professionalism. Working with him is a literal 1:1 match for the pace and demands of this industry. Despite his tough exterior, Blake is incredibly supportive and encouraging. He’s provided opportunities that have stretched my abilities and have consistently contributed to my brand as a model. His impact on my career cannot be overstated,” states Lee.

Pierce Anderson, another model, praises Blake for his dedication to excellence and his ability to push individuals to achieve their best. Pierce touches on the outward misjudgment of working with a powerhouse like Blake Martin. “I think the most common misconception is that Blake is mean. He’s the furthest thing from it. If you see the clips on Instagram where he is yelling at models or being very blunt about what they aren’t doing, I can see why people would say that. Once you meet him and work with him, you’ll realize all of those moments caught on camera are him helping the models with what they need to do. I’ve been in those rooms. It’s the motivation that we need. He is a mega professional. He expects the same from the people who work with him and will absolutely let you know if you are falling short of that bar. But realistically, he just expects the same effort that he puts in, which makes the rest of us step up to the plate.”

Blake Martin - Photo: David Dickerson Photography

Despite his reputation for being tough and demanding, Blake’s approach is rooted in preparing individuals for the realities of the fashion and entertainment industry. His dedication to honing talent and instilling resilience in his proteges has earned him recognition as a keynote speaker at prestigious events such as ModelCon in California this October and an upcoming all-male modeling conference in Hawaii.

In 2022, Blake Martin also ventured out into music, taking on the role of manager for highly successful queer rap artist Mikey Everything. Within that time, Blake has executive produced the widely successful album “Revenge”,  produced and directed five YouTube breaking music videos, coordinated a 2023 summer tour that included the Hyde Park Music Festival, and executive produced tracks for rap icon, Shawnna entitled “Drip”

Blake Martin - Photo: David Dickerson Photography

“Blake is a true artist and a visionary. He has this incredible ability to see things that others don’t. He’s always thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The most exhilarating part of working with Blake is that he doesn’t accept anything less than my best. He’s not afraid to tell me when something isn’t up to par, and that can be tough to hear sometimes. But, it’s also what makes him such an amazing manager. He’s not interested in just getting by, he wants to create something truly special and that means pushing me to be my best,” says Mikey.

While some may perceive Blake as stern or harsh, those who have worked closely with him attest to his genuine desire to help individuals grow and succeed. His recent foray into music management further showcases his versatility and passion for supporting artists of all types in realizing their creative visions.

In a recent interview with Shekinah Lee on Inspiration Radio 1390, Blake discussed his bestselling book, Baggage Claim, shedding light on his personal journey and his advocacy for mental health awareness, particularly among black men. Through his international success in the fashion and photography industry, Blake aims to use his platform to raise awareness and support individuals struggling with mental health issues, drawing from his own experiences as a suicide attempt survivor.

Blake Martin - Baggage Claim Book Cover

As Blake Martin continues to push boundaries and inspire those around him, his impact on the photography and entertainment industries is undeniable. With a unique blend of talent, mentorship, and advocacy, Blake stands as a beacon of creativity and resilience in the vibrant cities of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and beyond.

Words by Jonathon Capella
Images: Blake Martin – Photo Credit: David Dickerson Photography (All Rights Reserved)

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