All about photo.com: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, photographers, books, schools and venues.
Martin Stranka
Martin Stranka
Martin Stranka

Martin Stranka

Country: Czech
Birth: 1984

Martin Stranka was born on Friday April 13, 1984 in Most, Czech Republic, where he lived with his parents and older sister until the age of three. For the next twenty years, family then moves to Litoměřice, where he attends elementary school and the Josef Jungmann Gymnasium. He went on to study economics in Prague, where he has lived and worked ever since. He never studied art, but after the loss of a close friend in 2007 he turned to photography as therapy to regain his balance in life. After completing his university studies, he worked as a human resources manager while continuing in his pursuit of photography which later became his passion. In December 2010 his passion became his profession when he accepted commissions from New York publishing houses Sterling Publishing and HarperCollins.

In his seventeen-year career, Stranka won more than 90 international awards, and honorary mentions in photography, of which the most significant include Special Photographer of the Year from the International photography Awards in New York in 2022, and 1st place in the Sony World Photography Awards that he won in 2018 and 2019 in London. His works were exhibited and auctioned at Christie’s in London in early 2023.

Martin Stranka exhibited his work in New York, Miami, London, Paris, Prague, and Shanghai, in galleries including Christie’s London, Saatchi Gallery, SNAP! Orlando, Somerset House in London, or the exhibition hall of Prague’s Mánes. His works already attract the attention of art collectors and can be seen on the covers of books published by HarperCollins, Sterling Publishing, and Penguin Random House. Martin has also created several photographic visuals for the National Theater, the National Theater Ballet, and the National Theater Opera. He has published four monographic books the last of which was published the retrospective book for the exhibition at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum.

Statement
Martin wrote about his work: ''I’m always searching for beauty, but to me, the sort of beauty that is obvious seems uninteresting and empty. To the contrary, a flaw in something that is seemingly perfect adds vital meaning to the captured scene and catches my often-distracted attention. At least a small wobble of emotion to contrast the calmness of mind in a piece of art makes sense to me. As an artist, I need to strip both myself and the viewer of certainty in order to create space for the necessary multitude of questions. I look for form and content that harmonizes with people and provides them with a quiet visual refuge. At first glance, the images I capture are calm, yet under the surface, they rage and roar. I plant a sense of dismay into the same artwork, be it only with the slightest hint of something sinister lurking beneath the surface. And it never ceases to amaze me that such seemingly incompatible contrasts can be combined into one image.

I constantly return to the narrative of the relationship between mankind and nature, as well as the exploration of human existence itself. Loneliness and isolation – such relevant topics today – seem to me like an endless line of poetry that I stitch through every photograph, even if only marginally. I can’t let go of the feeling that it is in isolation that I find a much-needed dialogue. A dialogue with myself, within myself, into myself. The visible silence in a photograph is contrasted by hectic thoughts that I’m unable to resist. And after all, I don’t want to defy them, I just need to accept everything as an observer. Observation and voyeurism become the best ways to learn.

I repeatedly try to discover the connection between visual beauty and dramatic reality. What connects the state of oversaturation of human relationships and the state of one’s own loneliness? I need to know the answer. In my work, I continue to experiment with the portrayal of personally experienced intimacy contrasted against the more ephemeral feelings of closeness between strangers. I try to give meaning to situations and objects beyond how they are perceived. I’m driven to tear down traditional contexts, to give states and objects different meanings, and thus place ordinary experiences in extraordinary contexts. Although this process may seem complicated, to me it comes completely spontaneously every step of the way. The medium of photography allows me to materialize all these external happenings and flickering events onto paper.''
 

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #40 Portrait
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Gilles Nicolet
France
1960
I am a self-taught photographer who spent 35 years living and working in Africa, with long stays in Somalia, West Africa and Tanzania. I started out as an agricultural engineer but soon switched to photography in order to follow an old passion. I have since shot numerous stories for all sorts of magazines, including the Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic Magazine, Geo, the Smithsonian and Paris-Match. I have a special interest in anthropology and ethnography, something that - I hope - has helped me capture the essence of my subjects. In the past most of my stories where about rare traditions that somehow linked man and wildlife, but Africa has changed a lot in the last few decades and unfortunately most of these traditions have now disappeared. My recent work has therefore been more personal and contemplative and less focused on narrative picture stories meant for magazines. In fact, today my interest lies in the convergence between art and documentary photography. I have also moved away from color photography and now only shoot in black and white. My work has received several major awards, including a World Press Photo Award and a Fuji Award. My latest project on the Swahili Coast also obtained the following recognitions: 2017 HIPA Hamdan International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, Portfolio Category 2017 Elliott Erwitt Havana Fellowship - Nominee 2017 Seventh Annual Exposure Photography Awards - Winner 2017 IPA International Photography Awards - 2nd Prize, People/Culture Category 2017 Meitar Award - Nominee 2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - Photojournalism/Professional - Two Honorable Mentions 2017 Monochrome Photography Awards - People/Professional - Honorable Mention 2018 CAP Contemporary African Photography Prize - Finalist 2018 SIPA Contest - Honorable Mention 2019 SOPHOT Award - Winner This work on the Swahili Coast is featured in "Swahili", a book released by Contrejour Publishers in May 2019 (available on amazon.fr and amazon.co.uk). Six degrees south The Zanzibar archipelago, an highly evocative name even for those who are quite unable to locate it on a map, lies six degrees south of the Equator. It is also the exact geographical center of the Swahili Coast, a unique physical, historical and cultural entity running from Southern Somalia to Mozambique, which first grew in the 10th century through trade with the Arab world, India and China. Gold, coconut, ebony, mangrove wood, sisal, myrrh and the infamous slave trade helped make the wealth of this region, slowly shaping it and giving it its unique present character. For a thousand years now, wooden dhows have sailed these lonely shores, with their characteristic white cotton sails, using the monsoon winds to help traders move goods between Africa and Arabia. And for a thousand years too, fishermen have ploughed these rich seas for their bounty of fish, contributing with the traders to the emergence of rich city-ports like Stone Town or Mombasa. But all of this is changing now. A combination of overfishing by both local and foreign ships, population increase, changes in weather patterns as well as the recent discovery of huge gas fields in the region, is threatening this fragile equilibrium. The fishing communities that occupy these shores are particularly at risk, and it could be that we are now witnessing the last of fishing and sailing traditions that had remained largely unchanged since Ibn Battuta, the famous 12th Century Arab explorer, first described them in his travel memoirs. With this recent work I have tried to testify to the unique beauty and timelessness of the Swahili Coast, and to record it for generations to come. It is a personal, melancholic, sometimes dreamy vision of a place and a culture that are very dear to my heart but which, I now realise, may soon disappear.
Solmaz Daryani
Solmaz Daryani is an Iranian photographer and photojournalist, based between the UK and Iran. Her work is particularly known for exploring the themes of climate security, climate change, water crisis, human identity and environment. Daryani has worked internationally, covering social and environmental documentary stories in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as National Geographic Magazine, L'OBS Magazine, Foreign Policy Magazine, Polka Magazine, Zenith Magazine among others. The Eyes of Earth (THE DEATH OF LAKE URMIA) "A lake is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." Henry David Thoreau Lake Urmia is located in the northwest of Iran. It was once the biggest salt lake in the Middle East and sixth biggest salt lake on earth situated between two neighboring provinces (East-Azerbaijan and West-Azerbaijan) in Iran. Lake Urmia was home to many birds like ducks, pelicans, and flamingoes.10 years ago; the lake was still a popular destination for vacationers. Bathers immersed themselves in the saline water and smeared their bodies with its legendary black mud, which helped to treat skin disease. My extended family on my mother's side born and lived in Sharafkhaneh port. The town used to be one of the heavily traveled touristic villages on the north coast of Lake Urmia. My grandfather had built a motel beside the lake, and my uncles were sailors. Less than a decade ago, my grandfather hosted dozens of tourists a day in the summers, with his two sons taking them on boat tours. During the past 20 years, approximately 80% of this lake dried due to climatic changes, excessive development in the agriculture sector, lack of correct management of water consumption, and excessive dams constructed on the lake's basin river in this area. At the moment, hopes for the salt lake's survival have been revived after 2018 torrential rain has boosted a government program aimed at preserving it before it dries up. The desiccation is one of the most unfortunate environmental disasters of Iran in recent years. It will increase the frequency of salt storms that sweep across the exposed lakebed, diminishing the productivity of surrounding land and encouraging farmers to move away. More than 4 million people live in two neighboring provinces (East-Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan) around the lake and agriculture, animal husbandry, and handicraft making play a significant role in the region. As the lake dried up, agriculture waned which caused my grandparent's garden dry and deserted. Lake's ducks; flamingos and pelicans have vanished, too. My childhood in Sharafkhaneh seems like a long time ago. The motel abandoned, and the almond trees have withered. The port today is a sparsely populated village where most people are old, and it no longer resembles the place where I left my childhood memories. The project investigates the impacts of drying of Urmia Lake on people and the environment around it and to demonstrate environmental, economic, physical, and social changes that happened after lake shrinking. (the Year 2014-ongoing)
Robert Demachy
France
1859 | † 1936
Robert Demachy (1859–1936) was a prominent French Pictorial photographer of the late 19th and early 20th century. He is best known for his intensely manipulated prints that display a distinct painterly quality. Léon-Robert Demachy was born in the home of his grandmother in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on the outskirts of Paris, on 7 July 1859. His parents, Charles Adolphe Demachy (1818–1888) and Zoé Girod de l’Ain (1827–1916), had two other sons, Charles Amédée (1852–1911) and Adrien Édouard (1854–1927), and a daughter, Germaine (1856-1940?). The elder Charles had started the highly successful financial enterprise of Banque Demachy, and by the time Demachy was born the family was very wealthy. He had no need to earn a living, and there is no record of his having ever been employed anywhere. He dropped the first part of his name in his childhood and was always known as "Robert". After his birth his family returned to their mansion at 13 Rue François Premier in Paris, where Demachy continued to live for the next fifty years. His early years were quite idyllic, and each year his family would spend several months at their summer villa near Villers-sur-Mer in Normandy. The rest of the year he was educated in Jesuit schools in Paris, and he became fluent in English by the time he was a teenager. His education also included extensive musical lessons, and he became an accomplished violin player. About 1870, Demachy, his mother and his siblings left Paris for Brussels due to the increasing dangers of the Franco-Prussian War. His father stayed in Paris as part of the Commune and the Banque Demachy played an important role in financing the resistance efforts. When he turned eighteen Demachy briefly served a year as an army volunteer, but he soon returned to his life of comfort. In the mid-1870s he began frequenting the artists’ cafés and, perhaps in rebellion to his gentrified life, he became involved in the growing bohemian culture that was beginning to take hold in Paris. He began making sketches of café patrons and people on the street, a practice he continued throughout his life.Source: Wikipedia Robert Demachy was considered by many to be the most influential Pictorialist photographer across the whole of Europe. He was a man of independent means allowing him to focus completely on photography and international travel for it. He was a strong advocate of gum bichromate to enhance Pictorialist photography, for which he coined the term ‘ Photo-Aquatint’ associating it with intaglio printmaking. It is obvious when studying his work closely that his enjoyment of this process was from the artistic freedom it gave him. His gum prints were very successful, with their greatly softened detail quite deliberately reminiscent of impressionist art. Demachy became a strong and vocal defender of manipulated printing techniques. He is most famous for the prominent brushstrokes and rough-textured papers. Although these were greatly manipulated, he was able to bring an air of naturalism and poise to his work. He wrote “Do not say that nature being beautiful, and photography being able to reproduce its beauty, therefore photography is Art. This is unsound. Nature is often beautiful, of course, but never artistic ’per se’, for there can be no art without intervention of the artist in the making of the picture. Nature is but a theme for the artist to play upon. Straight photography registers the theme, that is all - and, between ourselves, it registers it differently” Quoted in Robert Demachy: Photographs and Essays. Bill Jay, 1974. Robert Demachy was a leader in French Pictorialist photography at the turn of the last century. He was elected to the Société française de photographie in 1882 and co-founded the Photo-Club de Paris with Maurice Bucquet in 1888. He had his first exhibition of gum prints in 1895 at the Photo-Club de Paris, which helped to promote his increasingly international status: the same year he was elected to The Linked Ring in London and made an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society.Source: Edward Draper
Thomas Hoepker
Germany
1936
Thomas Hoepker is a German photographer and member of Magnum Photos. He is known for stylish color photo features. He also documented the 9/11 World Trade Center destruction. Hoepker originally made a name for himself in the 1960s as a photojournalist with a desire to photograph human conditions. Hoepker was born in Munich, Germany. He first began taking pictures when he was 16 and received an old 9x12 glass plate camera from his grandfather. He developed his prints in his family's kitchen and bathroom, and began to earn a little money by selling pictures to friends and classmates. Hoepker studied art history and archaeology from 1956 to 1959 at Göttingen, in Munich, Germany, where he was taught about understanding images and composition. While in school he continued to photograph and sell images to help finance his education. From 1960 to 1963 he worked as a photographer for Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall, reporting from around the world. Then in 1964 he began working as a photojournalist for Stern. In the 1970s he also worked as a cameraman for German TV, making documentary films. In 1976 he and his wife, journalist Eva Windmoeller, relocated to New York City as correspondents for Stern. From 1978 to 1981 he was director of photography for American Geo. From 1987 to 1989 Hoepker was based in Hamburg, working as art director for Stern. Magnum Photos first began distributing Hoepker's photographs in 1964. He became a full member in 1989. He served as Magnum President from 2003 to 2006. For much of his career Hoepker used Leica cameras. In the 1970s he began to also use single-lens reflex cameras alongside his Leica, using Leicas for wide angle shots and Nikon or Canon cameras with zoom lenses. In 2002 he began using digital SLRs. Today, Hoepker lives in New York City with his second wife Christine Kruchen, with whom he produces TV documentaries.Source: Wikipedia
Nicholas Nixon
United States
1947
Nicholas Nixon is an American photographer, born in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan, known for his work in portraiture and documentary photography. Influenced by the photographs of Edward Weston and Walker Evans, he began working with large-format cameras. Whereas most professional photographers had abandoned these cameras in favor of shooting on 35 mm film with more portable cameras, Nixon preferred the format because it allowed prints to be made directly from the large format negatives, retaining the clarity and integrity of the image. Nixon has said "When photography went to the small camera and quick takes, it showed thinner and thinner slices of time, [unlike] early photography where time seemed non-changing. I like greater chunks, myself. Between 30 seconds and a thousand of a second the difference is very large." His first solo exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art curated by John Szarkowski in 1976. Nixon’s early city views taken of Boston and New York in the mid-seventies were exhibited at one of the most influential exhibitions of the decade, New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape at the George Eastman House in 1975. In the late nineties, Nixon returned to this subject matter to document Boston’s changing urban landscape during the Big Dig highway development project. In 1976, 1980, and 1987, Nixon was awarded National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowships. In 1977 and 1986, he was awarded Guggenheim Fellowship. Nixon's subjects include schoolchildren and schools in and around Boston, people living along the Charles River near Boston and Cambridge as well as cities in the South, his family and himself, people in nursing homes, the blind, sick, and dying people, and the intimacy of couples. Nixon is also well known for his work People With AIDS, which began in 1987. Nixon recorded his subjects with meticulous detail in order to facilitate a connection between the viewer and the subject. In 1975, Nixon began his project, The Brown Sisters consisting of a single portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters each year, consistently posed in the same left to right order. As of 2020, there are forty-six portraits altogether. The series has been shown at the St. Louis Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth the National Gallery of Art, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. In 2010, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston organized the exhibition Nicholas Nixon: Family Album which included The Brown Sisters series among other portraits of his wife Bebe, himself and his children Sam and Clementine.Source: Wikipedia Nicholas Nixon is known for the ease and intimacy of his black and white large format photographs. Nixon has photographed porch life in the rural south, schools in and around Boston, cityscapes, sick and dying people, and the intimacy of couples. Recording his subjects close and with meticulous detail, he facilitates an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject. In 1975, he began an ongoing series, The Brown Sisters, an annual portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters unchangingly posed in the same order. This seminal project has been the subject of multiple publications and exhibitions. In Summer 2013, Nixon’s book Close Far was released by Steidl. The body of work explores the self in physical and psychological proximity to the urban landscape. On the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s The Brown Sisters series, in 2014, the complete sequence of images was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and re-published in an anniversary catalogue. In 2017, Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid opened a comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, accompanied by a catalogue illustrating over 200 images, and the ICA Boston mounted a chronological retrospective exhibition. In 2021, Galerie Le Château d’Eau in Toulouse mounted an ambitious survey exhibition, accompanied by an expanded catalogue.Source: Fraenkel Gallery
Advertisement
AAP Magazine #40: Portrait
Win a Solo Exhibition in June
AAP Magazine #40: Portrait

Latest Interviews

Barbara Cole and Wet Collodion Photographs
Cole is best known for her underwater photography, but her other studio practice during the cold months in Toronto is an ongoing series of wet collodion photographs. This heavily analog process from the 19th Century is a years-long endeavor of revitalization and experimentation, offering modern day viewers an understanding of what it took to develop photographs in the early days of its invention. Cole has added her own unique take on the process by adding a layer of color in contrast to the usual sepia tones associated with the genre. The resulting wet plate photographs are tactile and dimensional dances between light and shadow, past and present, depicting women in timeless dreamscapes. We asked her a few questions about this specific project
Exclusive Interview with Michael Joseph
I discovered Michael Joseph's work in 2016, thanks to Ann Jastrab. I was immediately captivated by the power of his beautiful black and white photographs from his series 'Lost and Found.' His haunting portraits of young Travelers have stayed with me ever since.
Exclusive Interview with Debe Arlook
Debe Arlook is an award-winning American artist working in photography. Through color and diverse photographic processes, Arlook’s conceptual work is a response to her surroundings and the larger environment, as she attempts to understand the inner and outer worlds of human relationships. Degrees in filmmaking and psychology inform these views.
Orchestrating Light: Seth Dickerman Talks About his Passion for Photographic Printmaking
Seth Dickerman is a master manipulator of the wide spectrum of light densities that reflect off the surface of a photographic print and enter into our field of vision. His singular intent in making prints is to bring out the best an image has to offer, which means giving an image the ability to hold our attention, to engage us, and to allow us to discover something about an image that is meaningful and significant.
Exclusive Interview with Michel Haddi
Photographer and film director, Michel Haddi has photographed many high-profile celebrities while living in the USA including, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Uma Thurman, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, Faye Dunaway, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and many others. He also manages a publishing house, MHS publishing, which publishes his own books. Currently based in London we have asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive Interview with Sebastien Sardi
In 2008, Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi, inspired by an article exposing hidden mining-related incidents, embarked on a photography journey. Without formal training, he explored mines and ventured to India's Jharkhand state to document coal miners in Dhanbad, known as the "coal capital." His project, "Black Diamond," captured the lives of people, including men, women, and children, dedicated to coal extraction in grueling conditions.
Exclusive Interview with Debra Achen
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography. Her project 'Folding and Mending' won the September 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked here a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman is a documentary photographer who has who spent the last dozen years working with and photographing the people that live the housing projects in Coney Island. He was the winner of the July and August 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Aya Okawa
Aya is passionate about exploring the natural world and protecting ecosystems and wild landsAll about Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you into this world? Her project The Systems That Shape Us'won the February 2022 Solo Exhibition. We asked her a few questions about her life and her work.
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #40 Portrait
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes