BOSTON – Photographer Brando Martinez loves capturing athletes as they push beyond their limits, something he knows after being seriously injured as a baby in a house fire.
Martinez, 20, was seven months old when a fire ravaged his family’s home in Guatemala, leaving him with severe scars and the loss of his arm and fingers.
“It caused burns [to] 50% of my body, leading to the amputation of my left arm due to a bad infection, “he told FOX TV stations on Sunday.” A member of my family had the courage to go get me out of there.
Brando Martinez (Photo credit: Brando Martinez)
Martinez said he didn’t remember the incident and never had to adjust to his disability. He finally moved to the United States at the age of two.
“I don’t see myself as different from others,” he continued. “I do things differently. I’ve grown up all my life with one arm and these injuries, so I kind of accepted that that’s who I am… I can’t change that.”
The shutterbug bit Martinez when he was in high school after getting his first camera. He took pictures of a football game which led him to become the school photographer for many sporting events.
“I felt like I was part of something. I felt like I was finally noticed,” he added. “I love seeing the reactions of the athletes to my photos, my videos.”
He now practices photography full time, often taking photos in high school and at college sporting events. He posts his photos on his Instagram page.
“It just makes me feel like I’m doing something with my life,” he continued.
Martinez said working with one arm and a few fingers was a challenge. He said it could sometimes hurt if the lens was too heavy and it was sometimes difficult to stabilize his shots.
Nonetheless, the photographer hopes to someday work for NFL or D1 colleges.
He hopes his trip will inspire others not to let their limitations stop them from pursuing their dreams.
“If I can do it with one arm, you could probably do a lot better with two arms,” he said. “Go for it.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles.