Prague-based photographer Martin Stranka has fallen in love with stories of rescued animals and their saviors, just enough to inspire him a magical series of portraits depicting these creatures.
Stranka is quite know for his dream-like style; photographs are like scenes from fantasy despite the absence of anything surrealistic His command for color and composition makes up most of this style.
We've got him to spend a few moments with us and have this interview.
Hi Martin! Firstly, welcome to Lomography Magazine. You mostly shoot portraits set in nature. What inspires you to do so?
Thank you so much for having me here. Yes, nateure has been always the biggest inspiration. We are surrounded by amazing thing but nowadays people tend to overlook it. All those small things like floating leaves in the wind, those weekends sunsets or even smell of autumn. Those little things could be huge inspiration for my work.
You're also known as the photographer who takes images of rescued animals. Why did you take images of the animals? What were you trying to capture in those portraits?
I admire people who dedicate their time to rescuing stray animals, these are one of the best kind of people! I work 10 years as a freelance photographer and I could meet people who saved wild animals. It was always a magic moment to see their devotion to this issue. I met rescuer who saved young female roe deer who’s mother lost her life to hunting games. She took care of her and gave her shelter among other rescued animals. Few years ago I visited a forester who took two wounded wild foxes into his care. I am grateful I had the opportunity to capture them for one of my photos.
Another amazing experience was a case of young deer who was rescued during summer harvest. Many of these creatures are hiding in corn fields, which is dangerous and fatal for many of them. All these stories have happy ending and some of these animals were able to return to wild nature when they got stronger.
And why? Just because I feel we need to reconnect to nature and also animals. I feel we need to focus more on our souls and feelings. I know maybe it could sounds silly or like a empty phrase, but it is basically really an elementary idea. Let's call it "reconnect to the nature".
What's the most memorable image you've shot that remains as your favorite? Why?
I would say my latest photo called "Until You Wake Up". It was really difficult scene I Had in my mind. I didnt even know if I will be able to realize it. When we went out with old Jaguar XJ6 car I felt it will be amazing. The idea of car crash and coming white deer is about nature connection again. It is about how much we need nature, instead of that nature basically does not need us. I feel a lot important idas in this image.
It's a tech-ridden world out there. Did you ever think these scenes with nature would one day turn out to be non-existent, and become fantasy?
This is really nice question, I have to think about it. Honestly I have never thought this way. But you are right, one day it can be only a memories and part of our past which already doesnt exist. I hope we can be so intelligent and smart to realize, that we need nature so much.
You've been in the photography game for ten years now. Can you share us the difference from Martin 10 years ago, to the present Martin?
Somehow I was the same like nowadays. I was dreamer, I was life-lover and story-teller. I think I am the same guy like 10 years ago. But I have to say, I more open my eyes and found out that really important things in our lives are these for free. I broke up 10 years ago and there my quite bad time period started, so I had quite enough time to think about life and what is important. And maybe I lost some ideals. I was full of ideals... no, I would call them DREAMS. It may sound quite sad, but no - I mean it in a good way.
If you could leave a message to the Martin 10 years ago, what would it be?
"Be yourself Martin, live more and do not postpone your dreams! Do it now even if you are not perfectly ready, do it!"
What's the next step for you after 10 years with photography?
My next step is successfully finish my crowdfunding book campaign over Indiegogo. Publish the book after those long 10 years and then think about, if I would like to stay in capital city Prague or go abroad. But no matter where I will be, I will be always taking photos and trying to capture my own reality.