Profile: Louise Martin (1914-1995)

Louise Ozelle Martin was an American professional photographer who received recognition for her photographs of Houston Freedom Riders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and beyond.

Louise was born in Brenham, Texas, which was a small German town not too far from Houston. She was encouraged to study home economics or nursing by her mother at a local Black university, but the courses that she was interested in were not offered. She moved to Chicago and received her education at the Art Institute and at the American School of Photography. She later moved to Colorado to study at Denver University, where she earned her degree in photography.

Later in life, she moved to Houston, Texas, where she received a lot of recognition and success in photography. In 1946, she founded the Louise Martin Art studio, which served Houston’s Black community-schools, churches, and social world. She became known as “Houston’s Society Photographer.”

Education

Martin left Texas to go to school in Chicago because colleges from the South had racial discrimination policies that did not allow black people to attend. She studied photography at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the American School of Photography. In 1946 she received a degree in photography from the University of Denver.

Career

Martin was an African-American professional photographer who received recognition for her photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral. She had 27 awards in photography by the early 1970s.

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