'I was falling' by Martin Stranka
Martin Stranka is a self-taught professional photographer, born on 13 April, 1984 in the Czech Republic. Martin's biography says he has a 'distinctive vision of photography that is etched as a unique space located in a balance of serenity, while his sophisticated and rewarding images exist in that narrow space of a few seconds between dreaming and awakening.'
During the last three years, Martin has gathered over 40 international photography awards, including Professional Photographer of the Year, Emerging Talent Award in the Nikon International Photo Contest, and the Sony World Photography Awards.
His photographs have been exhibited in places such as New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Milan, London, Miami, Paris, Dubai, Germany, Prague, Brussels, North Carolina, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Vienna and many more. His work has been presented in prestige galleries such as Getty Images Gallery, Saatchi Gallery and the Robert Fontaine Gallery.
'Meet me half way' by Martin Stranka
How did you get into photography?
Well, I would say that photography discovered me. I have never studied photography. I have to say that I lost one of the closest people in my life (R.I.P) 6 years ago and I felt like I had to express myself somehow. I felt like I needed to find something like a 'valve'. For this reason I started taking photos and somehow it worked. At the beginning I took it as someting like therapy, which became my passion. So it is quite weird and strange saying that this accident inspired me, but this is the only way how I can explain my passion for photography.
What equipment do you use?
I use a Canon EOS 5D
– I love its full frame sensor. I have three lenses: Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM
, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS
, and a Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM
. I use two 400W flash sources and Photoshop CS5
to create my images.
Do you work in the studio or out on location?
Both. I use sun light with combination with my 400Ws strobes. I work outdoors and also in the studio. Both options have their good and bad points but I prefer to work outside with studio lights.
What draws you to people photography?
It is true that there is always a person standing alone in my photographs. Today, we are constantly assigned to different groups, social networking, classes, etc. Man is constantly pushed to be part of a group. Even so, we spend 24 hours per day, 7 days a week with ourselves.
All photos are displayed as a sort of personal communication process and everyone who sees the photo can find himself on the other hand. Photos are somehow so personal and yet so universal.
'I found the silence' by Martin Stranka
Could you talk us through how you took the shot 'I found the silence'?
This photo was unbelievably difficult to take. So many wood pieces were flying in the air thanks to people around us throwing it, and the fans. I had to edit it in Photoshop later as well. The photo was taken on my favourite forgotten road near Prague.
Your work seems very emotionally fuelled. What is your aim with photography?
I never think about the aim of my photographs. It is something automatic and something that grows in me. For me, photography is kind of my own diary which shows parts and moments of my life.
'Rejected' by Martin Stranka
Who inspires you?
It is daily, usual moments that stop me, make me think and make me happy. It is the smell of autumn that makes me so peaceful, music is a huge inspiration too. I can't imagine creating my photos without music like Lisa Gerrard, Olafur Arnalds, Asaf Avidan, Antony and the Johnsons or Sigur Rós, for example. They are a never ending stimulus.
Daily usual moments become my inspiration quite often. Something like dust grains floating in the light of sunset or the smell of autumn. Those short 3-4 weeks when the nature is prepapring for sleep, all those leaves falling from the trees... I know it could sound quite silly and childish, but I love these daily moments.
When it comes to people, somehow I am more inspired by painters than photographers. Jeremy Geddes is like a God of inspiration for me.
Martin is currently turning all his photos into an art book. Visit the indigogo website for more information.