Approved biography for Martin Bovey Jr.
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Martin Bovey, Jr., achieved commercial and artistic success in photography at a young age, in part due to the help and encouragement of his father, who was a filmmaker. By age twelve he had obtained a Speed Graphic, a professional camera that shot 2 1/4-x-3 1/4-inch film, and completed his first commissioned job, providing photographs of a hospital in Concord, Massachusetts. He learned much about technique and creativity from Gayle A. Foster, a former president of the Pictorial Photographers of America, while attending Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. In 1946 and 1947, he won certificates of merit in national high school photographic competitions, one of which was judged by Norman Rockwell. He studied at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) and the New Institute for Film and Television (Brooklyn) and illustrated two books by his father—Whistling Wings (1947) and The Saga of the Waterfowl (1949). In 1947, he won the grand prize at Argentina’s International Salon of Sporting Photographs, and two years later, when he was twenty-one years old, took home the first place award—a substantial $20,000—from a contest put on by the Lowell Sun (Massachusetts).
Most of Bovey’s pictorial work featured wildlife and sporting subjects. The American Annual of Photography 1949 reproduced a skiing picture of his that was accepted by no less than seventeen salons. In fact, Bovey began exhibiting in photographic salons in 1944, when he was only sixteen years old. Over the next six years, when he was most active as a pictorialist, he showed about 150 prints in over seventy salons, primarily in this country.
Between 1940 and 1961, his pictures appeared in a variety of periodicals, including American Photography, Bulletin of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Camera,Field and Stream, Look, Modern Hospital, Salon Photography, Saturday Evening Post, and Universal Photo Almanac.
From 1950 to 1966, Martin Bovey Films, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, created color motion pictures for business and industry on wildlife, sports, conservation, and travel subjects. Comprised of Martin Bovey, Jr., and his father (until he retired in 1960), the firm worked in South America, Australia, Italy, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and the continental United States. Among their most successful productions were Birds of the Prairie and To Conserve Our Heritage, both of which won first place at the Boston Film Festival in the early 1950s.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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