Martin Stranka work is characterized by a dreamy and quite atmosphere that I particularly like. Monochromatic pictures of tiny silhouettes of wanderer in an empty nightly landscape, portraits that seems old souvenirs, details of hands and foots. A wonderful and intimate universe of melancholy and metaphysics.
Following text and photos by Martin Stranka.
One day I asked my good friend, Stephen Pierce, from the U.S., for a little favor. I needed a few lines to describe my work for an exhibition in Prague. I was also interested in seeing someone else’s interpretation of my art and the letter he sent back really took my breath away.
I don’t think I could have found better words myself, especially since English is only a second language for me, and I’d like to share them with you.
Martin Stranka’s work exists in that space between dreams and waking, those split seconds when a person has a foot in both worlds. Light like the first rays of twilight filtering through a curtain when even the dust seems to glitter with some sort of hidden purpose or meaning.
The language of stillness.
The solitary sound of your own footsteps echoing down the streets of a deserted city. And on every building the flickering image of a silent film like faded memories.
So personal yet somehow universal they seem like your own memories. Your moments.
And maybe they are…
I would like to share some ideas that were mentioned above in the hopes it will shed some light on my own perspective on art. On life.
…space between dreams and waking, those split seconds when a person has a foot in both worlds.
I believe we all know the moment, when we wake up early every morning, the bell is ringing and you don’t know if is it real or still a dream. It’s really just a short time, when your mind is confused and thinking: “Am I dreaming, or is that my hated alarm clock?”
These few seconds are so incredible and amazing. Even though we have experienced these moments many times, even though we have found it so familiar to us, we are still always confused by these few seconds. That is what I try to put into my art. I want the viewer to ask: “Am I dreaming?”
..light like the first rays of twilight filtering through a curtain when even the dust seems to glitter with some sort of hidden purpose or meaning.
Try to imagine an early evening sunset. The last rays of sunlight. Everything is suffused into orangish shades. Light is coming through your curtain. You can even see the particles of dust slowly floating through your room. Thats the magic moment. Light. The most powerful tool for an artist.
…the language of stillness.
I use many synonyms for stillness in my titles.
I’m not exactly sure why I find myself using this imagery. I live in a loud capital city. I listen loud music. I work in a noisy job. Perhaps that’s the answer – why I run into my calm, inner world.
Stillness – it gives me a place where I can decipher my thoughts, read my own mind. A place where I understand all the pictures in my head.
…the solitary sound of your own footsteps echoing down the streets of a deserted city. And on every building the flickering image of a silent film like faded memories.
My other imagination. My other dream. Many people have asked the question: am I involved in films because of my pictures? They look like movie scenes. They seem to be cut from a film. They look like our own faded memories. Something what we all have lived through.
…so personal yet somehow universal they seem like your own memories. Your moments.
Have you even had a feeling that somehow you have seen that scene already? Do you find these moments somehow familiar? Deja vu? We are all human and we all live in the ‘same’ world, true.
The same physical world but at the same time a different ‘inner” world. When I take photographs, I try to materialize my thoughts and dreams into the conscious state. Many people tell me they have found themself in these pictures. They say it feels strangely familiar.
Photographs as mirrors?
Yes, they should be a mirror of our souls, dreams, reality. And maybe they are…
Usual things at unusual moments.
Few descriptions of my photos (behind the scenes”)
It Was A Snowy Night
This photo has been taken in my country – in the Czech republic year ago. This is my secret place where I love to go. Lot of people asked me, where I search these places. It is about having open eyes – and watch the world around us. In this very place I can refresh my thoughts and dreams. This was breath-taking place. This exact moment was amazing, snow was slowly falling all around me, and I was just watching the play of the street lamps light and shadows of that night. As I always say – who hasnt seen this in his life as if he has never lived. Moment, that you will keep in your mind for ever.
Brrrr. It was really cold night. Silent night. I was only observing the light and shadows scene again. Than I saw this moment. Light of arriving car was really scary in combination with human silhouette. It looked like suicide. But it wasnt. It was really calm and peaceful moment.
But I Would
I guess we all know the moment, when we are facing the ligh, small pieces of dust are floating in rays of lights. That moement, when my my mind stopped working and only one thought came to my mind “Look, these are moments, what we are living for”. It was moment like cut from a movie scene.
Since You Are Gone
I remember that evening. I met one of my friend. We were walking by center of Prague. It was quite nice day. Sun was falling slowly down. Lamps lighted up. I remember, he was telling me his stories about love. How easy we can lose someone close. He is really young guy. Then he lighted another cigarette. I was listening to his stories when I unexpectedly did shout at him „stop, dont move, please“. And then I only pulled the trigger. There is much more behind this scene, behind this photo – than beholder can see.
Martin Stranka short biography
Name: Martin Stanka
Date of birth: Friday 13th 1984
Current residence: Prague, Czech republic
Education: Bank University in Prague
Photographer: since 2006
Tools of trade: Canon EOS 5D; Canon 50mm f1,4; Canon 17-40mm L f4,0; Canon 70-200mm L f4,0; my two short-sighted eyes and my dreamy mind…
My Personal Quote: Be yourself, be loved by a few and not understood by the rest.
My private web: www.martinstranka.com