His professional career spawned lifelong friendships with celebrities, musicians and actors which gave him unique access when he became a professional photographer…

Martin Mills was born in New York in 1927. He started his career in music publishing and artists management in a business family (Jack Mills Music). In the mid-1960’s, Mills found himself in Rome for six months on the United Artists film, Anyone for Venice. With time on his hands, Mills learned how to cook Italian food, as well as taking up photography. Marty shot on sets: it was where he learned about lighting, shading and how to capture subjects on a moment’s notice. He was entirely self-taught.

Upon his return home to Southern California, Marty founded Martin Mills Photography. He was soon hired as a freelance photographer to shoot sports, entertainment and political figures for a diverse set of publications, and by film studios to shoot on set (Warner Brothers Outlaw Blues), or television networks like ABC Television. It was Mills’ close relationship with celebrities as friends that helped put his subjects at ease in front of the camera. He knew many of his subjects socially and was able to capture them at their most natural.

Ever resourceful, Mills was one of the first photographers to use a police scanner to document the times (as was the case during the late 1960’s UCLA protests). He had lost a photography assignment while out of the office and “away from the phone,” so he installed an early ‘ship-to-shore’ mobile phone in his Mercedes to make sure it never happened again. He was profiled in a 2006 Daily Variety article, “Legends of the Lens”.

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