The exhibition Breath by photographer Martin Stranka will take your breath away

Source: with permission of Martin Stranka

What did your photos look like at the beginning of your creation? How was your trip?
My early work was also photos of nature and the topic was clear to me from the beginning. I have been photographing for almost fifteen years and the content of the photographs has remained essentially the same from the beginning. I got to take pictures by losing a loved one. It was an escape to some mentally safe space. I never studied the photo. The new Boyhood series is a different way of working, but I feel that it is still an artistic, emotional work. I didn’t run anywhere else.

You exhibit all over the world. Do people from other countries or cultures react to your photos differently than in our country?
I feel that photography, and art in general, uses international language. When you shoot a documentary in one country, the historical context in another country may not be understood by people at all. In fine art photography, now I can evaluate it retrospectively, it’s great that it doesn’t matter where you exhibit it. From Tokyo, through Europe, London, to the American audience in LA, the emotions are the same. The language of photography is very universal and the reactions are the same.

Source: with permission of Martin Stranka

How do you perceive the awards you have received around the world?
When I gained solid ground under my personal loss, I had the compelling idea of ​​finding personal realization. So at the beginning I didn’t think about any awards at all. When I get questions from beginning photographers about where to sell photos or how to get to galleries, I feel a little calculated. That’s not how it works. The power lies in the fact that, although it may sound like a phrase or a cliché, when it comes from within you, you like to do it, you do it often, better and better, you get that attention. In my case, the award came and opened the door in terms of galleries and collectors. But for me, it’s a side effect. I would blaspheme if I said they didn’t make sense. At some point in the beginning, they accelerate awareness about you. If you know about you, more collectors will appear. If there are more collectors, they will buy more and the more resources you have to invent expensive scenery. You will find that resources are needed. In competitions, you can also get feedback that you are doing well. It’s fine, but it’s not the goal. It’s nice to know you’re going in the right direction.

How do you think of locations? Do you have to search for a long time?
Locations are the most important. Some photos are a studio affair, but 95% of the photos are outdoors and there are locations most important. For example, we are looking for the exact type of lake with a certain shore, a specific piece of forest, because we need to bring a car there. That’s why it has to fit technically. In another photo, we are looking for the exact type of space in terms of perspective and layout. Sometimes it’s like I have a scene in my head and then I’m just looking for a place.


Source: with permission of Martin Stranka

Do you work with wild animals? How does such work work?
The series I Found the Silence was launched twelve years ago and then came the moment when I didn’t want people there anymore. I began to supplement animals, which for me are equally symbolic of people, the relationship to nature and the relationships between people themselves. Wild animals – deer, foxes, birds, deer – symbolize anger and elusiveness for me. The series is about man’s relationship with nature, so I would never want to let a deer fall asleep and have him brought. Unfortunately, if you have the means, anything is possible. This would upset me. I am looking there for the fragility of the relationship between man and nature.

At the exhibition we can also see photos of your new project Boyhood. Will it be even more comprehensive than it is now and will you be presenting it as a whole?
Thanks to the time space created by the corona and the fact that all exhibitions around the world were canceled, I started taking photos like never before. Before that I rode a bike – galleries, clients, collectors, exhibitions. Suddenly I had time. I had the Boyhood project in my head for a long time and I knew it would be challenging. Thirty people on the field. We’ve contacted and inspired people who work for Hollywood productions, for Netlix, or have worked on A-movies such as The Marvel or Harry Potter. Jim liked the idea and managed to get it for this project. The new Boyhood series has been created, but it is not over. Just as the Dechem project was created for twelve or thirteen years and may have ended, this is just the beginning for me. It can have fifty photos, or maybe just twenty. There are fifteen of them now.


Source: with permission of Martin Stranka


Do you let inspiration run its course or do you plan and have ideas in your head in the longer term?
For me, it can’t be fully grasped in time. It’s more a question of how the topic will let you sleep. I wonder what I would compare the inner enthusiasm and the enthusiasm, maybe even the fetish I really need for work. Rationality goes completely wrong here. You do not deal with time or money. You want to have everything so that everything fits together and you can do it. I had the topic of adolescence and some recapitulations in the Boyhood project in my head for a while. And I thought, now is the moment.

Was Galerie Mánes a clear choice for your exhibition? Did you have more options that you considered?
He didn’t and didn’t want to. When you have exhibitions abroad, it is always under the direction of the gallery. Send photos and fly there to open the exhibition. I wanted to do the biggest show here after fifteen years. It’s a pity that sometimes you have to succeed abroad first to start noticing you at home. No one at home is a prophet. I’ve always walked around Manes, even though I’ve been creating and thinking, it’s a beautiful space – architecturally and historically – and that it would be a dream come true. When people come and don’t know the space, they first look up, where so much light is coming from. Even thanks to daylight and a glass roof, the space is magical.


Source: MODA.CZ – Pánská móda, dámská móda a vše ze světa módy by www.moda.cz.

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