Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Steven Martine took pictures for the yearbook and rode his bicycle back and forth to school. Today, Martine takes pictures for assignments that send him around the globe and rides his bike competitively across the nation.
The Stuart resident and family man is one of the state’s top photographers, snapping photos for National Geographic and A-list country music stars, including Ronnie Dunn and Clint Black. His pictures appeared as oversized murals on the first floor walls of the Palm Beach International Airport, and he has traveled to Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, India and London (among other spots) for his work.
When he’s not behind the camera, he’s on his bike. Martine completed the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile mountain bike race from Canada to New Mexico, and the Trans Am race, in which he rode 4,233 miles from Oregon to Virginia.
“I have an aunt who gave me a camera in grade school, so it was always a hobby. I was shy growing up, so it was a good buffer socially,” says the 46-year-old. “And I started pedaling in school. Portland is gorgeous and hilly. People expect to see bicycles in Portland.”
Martine attended Portland State University, where he considered becoming a teacher like many in his family. He worked for the college newspaper, covering everything from presidential campaigns to college sports and environmental protests. He joined the Portland State Cycling Team and worked his way through college in restaurants.
Around that time, he met his wife, Lina, who he wooed with persistence and flowers until she agreed to date him. They married in 1994.
One day, when he returned from the restaurant unemployed, Lina suggested he pursue photography professionally, since “half the family budget was spent on processing film anyway,” he jokes.
So he landed a job at a suburban paper in Portland, and soon he and Lina moved to Idaho for another newspaper gig. But by the third winter, they had had enough of the cold. The family moved to Florida in 1998, with Martine working at the Vero Beach Press-Journal and eventually the Stuart News. The couple had a daughter, Isabella, who is now 12.
By March 2004, he had been freelancing for years on the side and decided to quit the newspaper. His first day on his own, he was sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, when Lina appeared in the doorway with a positive pregnancy test (for their second daughter, now 10-year-old Andrea).
“I was unemployed for two hours, so I picked up the phone and started calling everyone I knew,” he laughs. “It’s been a hustle ever since.”
A few years ago, he became serious about cycling in an effort to get healthy. During his most recent race across the country, he raised $16,000 for cancer research in honor of a cousin who passed away.
His next adventure? Martine is hoping to take next summer off for a trip to Paris, where he’ll spoil his family and, if plans work, take pictures of the Tour de France.