New York photographer Brett Anthony Martelli of Brett Martelli Photography recently picked Texarkana as one of the stops on his tour of the South, which offered up a rich vista of photogenic locales on which to practice his trade.
"Texarkana was really the first location that came up when planning what turned into the Southern tour," said Mickie Null, a teacher from the region who also works with Martelli.
"When we began putting this together, we were eventually put in touch with Ina McDowell (Main Street Texarkana executive director). She advised us on some of the more photogenic sights in Texarkana, most notably in the historical downtown part of the city. We eventually picked the Four States Auto Museum and the Ace of Clubs House."
"It really was the auto museum that got this whole thing spinning," she said. "Classic cars and beautiful girls are a natural combination and were a classy part of the photo shoot."
The news about the photo shoot got out on short notice. Even though the invitation was put out for local models to join in the shoot, none came. However, a couple of local photographers showed up, wanting to learn from Martelli.
"They wanted to learn from his experience, do some shooting themselves as well," Null said. "They ended up spending a day with an expert in the field, a day of photography school right there."
Martelli's exposure to the American South was very limited, but he was drawn to the photographic locations in the towns they picked. Texarkana was no exception.
"He was particularly drawn to the Ace of Clubs House this go around," Null said. "He ended up taking lots of shots of that place that didn't involve any of the models at all."
In addition to scenic vistas, one thing that particularly struck Martelli is that he had never had a chance to see a night sky away from the bright lights of the big city. That sight truly floored him.
"New York may have the bright lights of Broadway, but the South is lit by the most brilliant star-filled beautiful skies I have ever seen," Martelli said.
Another southern tour is being contemplated and will be announced once dates and times are determined. It may involve a return to Texarkana.