Photographer and Art Director, Self-employed
It was Amy Martz’s dream to buy a nice camera and to learn how to take beautiful photos. What she didn’t expect was to be laid off from her job in advertising sales for the St. Pete Times just two weeks after making her big purchase.
Martz decided to teach herself photography, hoping she could possibly make a living taking pictures of events, weddings and babies. Instead, she found her niche in taking pictures of steel, wood and bulldozers. Her first big gig was taking photos of the construction of Oxford Exchange in Tampa.
Martz has always played an active role in historic preservation in Tampa, and serves on the board of Tampa Preservation Inc. So when she heard that Le Meridien hotel was going up in the former federal courthouse downtown, she asked the developer, Gary Prosterman, if she could tag along to take pictures to document the renovations. She told him, “don’t pay me for my time, just buy my photos if you like them.”
As soon as the hotel’s designers in New York saw her photos, they were hooked — it was exactly the style they sought. The designers sent her out to take more pictures of Tampa architecture. “I picked places that people should know to appreciate what’s here,” Martz says.
Martz’s work was so well received she earned a spot as the hotel’s featured artist. Her photos are also featured in the Henry Plant Museum, the Tampa Museum of Art, the city of Tampa’s permanent collection, and the Tampa history collection. She’s currently working on a Tampa Bay coffee table book featuring her full collection. “Sometimes a door closes, but there’s a bigger picture later on,” Martz says.
— Traci McMillan Beach
City of residence: Tampa
Twitter handle: @AmyMartz1
Birthplace: Pensacola, FL
Years on the Gulf Coast: 32
Marital status/children: Married to Michael Martz; daughter Myla Martz
Alma mater: University of South Florida
Best place to network: Get involved with organizations and causes that you care about. Mine is historic preservation and the arts.
Coolest business experience: Photographing KISS and getting pushed by Gene Simmons, photographing the top of the Tampa Theatre building, and photographing the construction of Le Meridien Tampa….and photographing Evan Longoria doing yoga.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Eliminate distractions and negativity. Be fearless because when you really think about it, you have nothing to lose.
One website that makes your job easier: National Trust for Historic Preservation, Adobe.com, Twitter
One community group you’re most involved with: Tampa Preservation Inc.
Favorite off-hours activity: Exploring, playing, kung fu, gardening, playing croquet with friends.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: David Byrne, Walt Disney
Best award you ever received: Featured artist of Le Meridien Tampa
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Photographing a building and almost getting eaten by an alligator.
What’s at the top of your bucket list: Get a motorcycle license, travel and photograph Asia, climb and photograph inside the Minarets at UT.
What new skill would you like to learn: Master Adobe Illustrator and the art of graffiti.
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Grace Kelly…because I love her and I really love Hitchcock. It would have to be both.
If I had a magic wand I’d: First, I would test every Harry Potter spell to see which ones are legit. Then I would procure a TARDIS and travel through space and time taking amazing photos, stopping to have tea with the Buddha.