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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch

Biography

Charles (Chuck) R. Martin was born to a lawyer and classical singer in Beaver Falls, Pa., on July 1, 1927. He credited his uncle, an amateur photographer, for sparking both his love of photography and his future career. After graduating from Beaver Falls High School in June of 1945, he joined the Navy where he served 14 months on the Lyman K. Swenson destroyer. It was during this time that he purchased his first camera, a Leica II, for $100 in Shanghai, China.

After his military service, Martin attended Dartmouth College where he majored in art and zoology, thinking that he would go into medical photography. As a student at Dartmouth, he served as president of the photography club and had some of his photographs published in the Dartmouth College Weekly Calendar. Martin returned to Beaver Falls after graduation where he met Sally while she was still a student at Geneva College. They married in 1950 and had three children: Catherine (Kitty), William (Mac) and Tom.

It was not until his wife took a teaching job, years later, that Martin was able to get into free-lance photography after working in a variety of jobs from car salesman to owning his own real estate company. He soon built up an impressive clientele, including the United Way of Allegheny County, Dynamic Equipment, St. Barnabas Foundation of Gibsonia, the Boy Scouts of America, Carlow College, Vibra Tech Engineers, Alcoa, and Red Valve. Martin said his goal was always to try to capture, what the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson termed, “the decisive moment.”

Martin had a strong artistic side to his photography. By showing a slide show he created using his nature photography along with Aaron Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring” to a friend with connections to the Butler symphony; Martin began what would become a 30-year relationship with the symphony. This lead to other programs designed around notable pieces such as “Mysterious Mountains,” “The Pines of Rome,” and “The Grand Canyon Suite,” among others.

Martin passed away on July 8, 2013.