When Martin Garfinkel first moved out to Colorado in the early 70s it was to be a ski bum, at that time photography was a hobby, not realizing how beautiful Colorado is or how it would take his photography to the next level. At this point in his life still being very young he would accumulate his film and photos of before, during and after the move to Aspen from Brooklyn. While enjoying the ski bum life Marty’s lady friend, Maryann also loved to crotchet and had made some crocheted wool ski hats. Then one day, handed them out to the ski instructors and boy oh boy did they love them and quickly became a trend; with Marty still having that city businessman in him he decided to sell her funky 70s ski gear. This business was called “Mountain Lids” they were colorful crocheted wool ski hats with big pompoms on top that were warm, stylish, fun and very fashionable still today. The cool thing about these hats was that it employed many women in the Roaring Fork Valley as Garfinkel got the wool yarn from North Carolina these women went to work, making their own hours and being able to work from home so they could raise their kids at the same time. So Garfinkel and his lady friend traveled to all the ski resorts, to ski of course, but also, to get ski hat orders which they did and just got more successful from there…these hats are still worn and talked about today.
That was the start, of his many to come travels realizing how gorgeous Colorado really is to photograph and with its winding back roads for him to ride his Harley Davidson through the crisp clean air that he decided to make this place home. The change in seasons in Colorado is like no other in the world. The bright yellows and oranges of the Aspen trees, the fluffy fresh snow on the mountains, the glowing summer sun beating down on the fresh water rivers, the most breath-taking direction of clouds in the most colorful sunsets and the log cabin in the woods feel when you smell that pine scented smoke coming from the chimneys of the fire places burning. Colorado photography has so much to offer when traveling around like the art festivals, car shows, old mining towns, parades, music scenes, hot springs, old western towns and the best of all the landscapes. By this time it became such a strong passion that Marty had an addition built on his house for a dark room and began developing his photos. Throughout the late 70s, 80s and 90s with Colorado Photography being right out his front door now, he decided to hop on his Harley and hit the open road to travel America capturing vintage signs, neon signs, Route 66, landscapes, abandoned barns, classic cars, ghost towns, Sturgis and his extensive biker collection. With his Colorado Photography collection and his Iconic images of roadside Americana collections photographer Martin Garfinkel is still at it today bringing these images to the world. In some weird little way, I feel, Colorado is responsible for him continuing his hobby and becoming one of the most admired photographers today.
His gallery is located in the heart of Carbondale’s creative district where you can view and purchase these images of Colorado landmarks such as Independence Pass (the continental divide), Redstone’s Coke Ovens, Mount Sopris (the unofficial symbol of the Roaring Fork Valley), the Colorado River, the Crystal River and the old Aspen Lumber Company and so much more. There are images of the neon signs from Colfax Avenue in Denver, from Trinidad to the historic vintage sign for New Castle, Somerset, Carbondale, and Marble; that’s just a start, I mean it just goes on and on and on, we don’t really have a gift shop in this small town but it is very artsy so when tourists visit the valley they always make sure they stop in Roadside Gallery for some kind of Colorado souvenir they love like the fine art photo coasters, tote bags, jewelry and the throw pillows. It is one of the most unique galleries in America and displays all the different kinds of ways you can have an image printed on such as on wood, on metal with floating frames, lamps, back-lit frames and his latest creation of one of a kind fine art photo shadow boxes. Colorado has two (the Crystal Mill and Maroon Bells) of the top five most photogenic places in the United States. When flipping the pages of Photographer Martin Garfinkel’s portfolio or staring at the images on the wall in the gallery you feel like you are wearing a ski hat and riding the open road on a motorcycle along with him through a time in history that we would have never got to experience otherwise.
Director of Roadside Gallery
Debbi Fadli has lived in Carbondale, Colorado for 14 years after raising her two beautiful children in Morocco. She has a passion for fine art photography and for the past 3 years, besides doing sales, she has taken the work of photographer Martin Garfinkel and designs an astonishing range of fine art photo merchandise.