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HIGHLIGHTS AND FOOTLIGHTS (article first published : 2008-07-23)

Photographer Bob Martin's magical lens has captured many exquisite images through the years. But his extraordinary collection of black-and-white photographs was left to gather dust in an old cardboard box on his garage floor until Highlights and Footlights was published.

Highlights and Footlights is a record of immense wealth of artistic creativity in South Africa, from the early 1960s and through the subsequent forty or so years that Bob took these pictures, and of the artists whose energy, passion and talent entertained South African audiences during this period.

Bob Martin now lives in semi-retirement in Villiersdorp in the Western Cape. He started his photographic career whilst in Kenya during the Mau Mau emergency, working as a 'scene of crime' photographer as a reservist with the Kenya Police, and then, on his return to SA as a Sunday Times photographer.

He then broadened his experience by working as a publicity-stills cameraman on a number of international film sets, also assisting the legendary 'Karsh of Ottawa' on the film, Zulu with Michael Caine. He was for many years, SATOUR'S chief photographer, winning many international awards for South Africa with his travel posters, from the Travel Federations of The United States, Canada, Europe and Australasia.

His artistic insight from behind the lens was fully realised when he began to work as the only permanent theatre photographer for the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT). "I felt that I had found my destiny," says Martin. "I had many exciting, sometimes tragic moments during my life as a photographer - such as the Sharpeville massacre in 1960. It was, however, in the theatre, surrounded by the allure and absolute genius of dance, drama and music - that I found my true calling."

Though an artist at heart, Martin is a skilled "photographic artisan and technician" and his versatility allows him to bring a unique perspective to even the most mundane shots. He spends his time on his computer, writing his memoirs, fussing over and spoiling his cat, sailing, photographing the world around him, reading and entertaining his many and varied friends from all walks of life which include thespians, musicians, dancers, singers, writers, poets, artists, retired judges, engineers and sailors.

Highlights and Footlights is published in hard cover with a dust jacket. Price R295 - ISBN: 978 070 217 3837

artSMart readers are offered a 15% discount if they purchase via the Juta website portal or order form - when quoting the reference number H&F-AS.

Watch this space for a review of the book!




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