July 30 – August 6, 2022
Opening: Saturday July 30, 2022, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
“I came across bundles of negatives of composers, authors, actors, politicians, sportsmen and famous personalities of their time, now almost forgotten. Taking charge of organizing Ben’s archive is the last best thing I can do for him and his own legacy. – Kathryn Leigh Scott
Artplex Gallery has the pleasure of introducing you “New York Artists at Work: Portraits by Ben Martin Studio” in collaboration with Kathryn Leigh Scott, Martin’s ex-wife, close friend and business partner.
Most notable for his photojournalism for TIME and the resulting documentation of pivotal moments of the 20th century,”New York Artists at Work: Portraits by Ben Martin Studiofeatures intimate portraits of now famous visual artists photographed in their studios by internationally acclaimed photojournalist Ben Martin. This collection of legendary photographs offers a rare glimpse into the lives of artists living and working in New York in the early 1960s. Martin captures the complexity of each artist’s personality, art and environment in photo shoots made for TIME during the early years of his long career as a photojournalist.
Ben Martin, TIME’s first New York photographer, covered war, fashion, politics, the arts, business and sports for TIME, Life, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated for thirty-three years.
He backed away from Martin Luther King for most of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, leading US Marshall leader John Doar to comment that “Martin was the best shield Dr. King could have, because he was always in front. [the black leader] photograph his every move.
Although he took the “infamous” photograph of Richard Nixon’s sweaty upper lip and shadow at five o’clock during the televised Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960 (a photograph Nixon claims cost him the election and led Martin to be ostracized by him), many years later, Nixon asked that “we let the past be the past” and asked him to photograph his official post-presidential portrait.
He was the principal photographer for TIME’s now famous “Swinging London” cover, which Hugh Hefner, founder and editor of PLAYBOY, called “pivotal” in defining the sultry and sexy “swinging sixties.”
He photographed important coverage essays on the 25th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy and the 40th anniversaries of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, the Japanese pilot “Zero”, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Civil War in Mozambique on both the rebel and Portuguese side. , East African Safaris and an arctic expedition to the North Pole. His uninterrupted three-day coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral led to a LIFE magazine cover, and his coverage of the first traveling pontiff, Pope Paul’s trip to the Holy Land, made the cover of TIME.
Born Benjamin Rush Martin III in Salisbury, North Carolina on September 16, 1930, Mr. Martin became fascinated with photography at the age of eight when his father, a journalist, presented him with a miniature bakelite “Univex 00” camera. “. At the age of fifteen, he founded the first High School News Bureau in the country and became a photographer for the local newspaper, Salisbury Post. At seventeen, he became the youngest member of the National Press Photographers Association.
He attended Ohio University, where he majored in journalism and photography, working his way through college food parties as a short-term “White Castle” burger chef and as a photographer-cordier for UPI Newspictures. His photo story about a traveling preacher published in the Columbus DISPATCH Sunday Magazine caught him to the attention of Wilson Hicks, LIFE’s photo editor. After securing a job as a “trainee photographer/assistant photographer” on the LIFE team after graduation, he came to New York to find that the magazine had axed the new position a week before he arrived. Unwilling to return to his hometown jobless, he accepts a job as a copyboy on TIME, coming to work every day with his Leica slung over his shoulder. As TIME had no photography staff at the time, Ben was called in to take some last minute photos. After several months of juggling his work as a copyboy with ever-growing photographic assignments, Henry Luce hired him as TIME’s first photographer in the New York office.
Mr. Martin is the author of Marcel Marceau: Master of mime and co-author of A different world: the great hotels of the world. He has photographed for all divisions of Time including Life, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, Money, Entertainment Weekly, Architectural Forum, House and Home, Time-Life Books and HBO.
Mr. Martin was married to actress Kathryn Leigh Scott (1971-1990), with whom he co-founded Pomegranate Press, a book publishing company. The two remained close friends and business partners until his death on February 10, 2017, at age 86, from pulmonary fibrosis.
“New York Artists at Work: Ben Martin Studio Portraits” opens Saturday, July 30, 2022, with a reception from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibition will be visible during normal gallery opening hours until Saturday, August 6, 2022.
Since opening Artplex Gallery in 2018, the gallery continues to be one of the world’s leading art galleries specializing in high quality original contemporary art representing a wide range of major international artists. Home to West Hollywood and in close proximity to its sister gallery Artspace Warehouse, Artplex Gallery is a sprawling modern space specializing in international urban, pop, graffiti, figurative and abstract art that responds to visual impact.