Marty Hankins of Hampstead is a local photographer. Hankins has always had a camera and has taken pictures. She began to take photographs when she was 14 years old. One of her first cameras had a film cassette. “I still have a photo album of my photographs,” she said.
Her parents had a traveling photographer come to their farm in Kennedyville to take family photographs. As a child, she understood that her family heritage was being recorded from one year to the next. She still has many of those black and white photographs.
Hankins has always liked to take photographs when she travels. Her husband bought her a Canon camera when she went to Japan in 2005. Hankins was fascinated by Japanese food and so she took photographs of it along with her travel photographs.
Hankins has a master’s degree in Educational Technology from The Johns Hopkins University. In 2007, she went to Egypt and took many photographs. At that time, Hankins taught computer classes at the Odyssey School in Stevenson, an independent K-8 school for children with dyslexia. She used her photographs from Egypt in a PowerPoint presentation as a sample for the children in the PowerPoint class she was teaching that year.
Things changed in photography for her when Hankins got an iPhone. “I enjoyed the immediacy of taking photographs on the spot,” she said. When she is in the garden, Hankins can snap photographs. Now, when she walks early in the morning, she can capture the mist and sunlight as it comes up. “A lot of people miss that because they are in bed. I am fascinated with the clouds, sky and sun,” Hankins explained. “I am drawn to that.”
Because she and her husband own Shiloh Pottery (www.shilohpottery.com), Hankins takes photographs of children learning to make pottery and other activities at the workshops they offer.
In 2017, Hankins and her husband Ken, a well-known local potter, went to Nova Scotia. Before they left, she decided to replace her old Canon camera with a new Sony camera DSC-HX80. She chose it because it has a view finder, making it easier to take photos in bright light. It is a smart camera, giving her the technology to send her photographs to her computer and phone, merging her technology background with her love of photography. When they traveled to Nova Scotia, Hankins selected a few photographs she liked the best and sent them to Facebook using her new camera for her friends to see.
“I decided to print some of my photographs as a surprise gift for my husband for Christmas. I chose one from Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia and put it in the Carroll County Members’ Show (carrollcountyartscouncil.org).
“It was the first time I had ever entered my own artwork in a show,” she said. "I still was taking a lot of photographs daily with my cell phone."
This past summer, Hankins took Sue Bloom’s “Cell Phone Photography” class at Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College (commongroundonthehill.com). Bloom taught them about applications to edit, enhance and modify photographs. Bloom also taught the class composition. “Since Bloom gave the class an assignment every day, it forced me started to think more about the composition and what my eye and the camera were seeing,” she said.
Hankins was in her second show as part of the culmination of Common Ground on the Hill. She displayed four of the photographs she had taken.
“I like taking photographs because it is capturing a moment,” Hankins said. “It might be a moment in nature that is ephemeral or it may be the ability to record memories of traveling. I can record special moments with family and friends. Because I always have my cell phone with me, I can always be spontaneous.”