18 Surreal Images from Martin Stranka: Photographer Spotlight - Digital Photography School

18 Surreal Images from Martin Stranka: Photographer Spotlight

Today we I have the pleasure of introducing you to an interesting photographer from the Czech Republic – Martin Stranka who has kindly agreed for us to showcase some of his work. He’s also included a little background information – I hope you enjoy it!

Above.jpg

I was born in Most on Friday the thirteenth in April 1984, graduated high school in Litom??ice, where I lived more than 20 years and then I finished university in Prague in Czech Republic.
I was involved into photography since 2007, but I never studied it and I have been always self-taught myself. I perceive photography as an unique space located in a balance and serenity.

And I Keep Falling.jpg

Between Light And Nowhere.jpg

My work exist in that narrow space of a few seconds between dreaming and awakening.

But I Would.jpg

Close.jpg Hope.jpg I Came So Close.jpg I Was Falling High.jpg I Wish I Was .jpg Into You.jpg Meet Me Half Way.jpg More Than This.jpg Reborn.jpg Rejected.jpg Someone Like You.jpg They Taught Me How.jpg Tied Together.jpg White Night.jpg

During the last two years I gathered over twenty international photography awards. Some of them that I really appreciate the most are:

  • Emerging Talent Award in Nikon Photo Contest International 2010-2011 with over than 60,000 entries
  • Finalist of Sony World Photography Awards 2010 with over than 43.000 entries
  • Directors Choice of Center International Awards with over than 6.000 entries
  • 1st place in International Photo Award 2010; Finalist of Photographer Of The Year 2010, over 114.000 entries
  • Artist of the week at The Saatchi Gallery and 3rd place in Digital Photographer of the Year Awards with over 300.000 entries.   

My exhibitions were possible to see from South and North America, through whole Europe and to Asia. I love the smell of autumn, sparkling grains of dust floating in the sunset and the feeling when driving a car take out the windows of an open palm against the flow of air.

See more of Martin Stranka’s work at his Website and on his Facebook page.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://blog.sophiegoldsworthy.com Sophie Goldsworthy

    This is a stunning showcase. Thank you for sharing Martin’s work.

    I’m particularly drawn to the way he uses light and space in his images, leaving great swathes of negative space in the frame. There’s something very bold about that, and it really grabs the attention. They’re compositionally very simple too, and I love the way he plays with the human frame. Great collection, and very inspiring!

  • John Ayo

    I love these images and would love to be able to do something like that. I’m still looking for my style, really.

    Also, my 2-year-old likes the 2nd to last one and has been trying to stand like that, and laughing when he falls.

  • http://egozarolho.blogspot.com Crocodilo

    Amazing, creative, dreamy work. Inspiring. Congratulations, and thanks for the moments of pleasure viewing these images gives.

  • http://www.iamchrisphoto.com Chris

    Thanks for sharing such a fantastic series of creative images.

    I particular like his use of negative space and composition.

  • Gdaiva1

    First of all I want to tell yo how exited I was when I saw this article on Yahhoo, when I opened the page and I see its digital photography, and I’m already subscriber of yours :). yeaaa! Best of luck to you!
    But I have a question, I’m a newbie, so don’t lough :), how do you take a picture of a falling or diving person, like that girl in the water?
    Thank you!

  • http://www.cnbphotos.com Chris

    I love the work. I would really like to know how you suspend your subject in air to accomplish your shot. Absolutely amazing work. The colors are perfect for that dreamy kinda hazy feel. Beautiful.

  • sumit

    marvellous showcase. yet to wrap my head around the creative process involved but its top notch. the light n shadows, the presence and absence of nothing – wonderful blend. Not sure why but reminded me of Laphroaig – nice, smoky, bold and just superb.

  • Mark

    Love your work, I’d love to know how there done! Really great work, mark

  • http://yahoo markopolo

    inspiring…….photo ,,,wow…i love it…..

  • ccting

    I can’t believe my eyes….

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/dylan66 david butali

    he’is a great artist. NO doubt.

  • Paul

    wow. amazing work.

  • Daniel

    Two years ago I lost my wife of 25 years to cancer. Several of these pictures stirred up some of the same emotions I experienced after her death. Especially “Above” and “But I Would”. For pictures to have that affect on a rough old salt like me, well, bravo Mr. Stranka. Keep up the good work.

  • Kevin

    I’m in no way at Martin’s level and it’s superb work but the heavy processing is tiring to my eyes.

  • dok

    Definitely not a criticism but a real question : is it still considered as photography or more “graphism” or something like that ? The answer “who cares ?” is not accepted ;-)
    For example, in the first “water” photo you can tell the girl is not really in the water (looking at the t-shirt). And considering the huge amount of post-processing…

    Now, for my opinion I have to say that, sadly for me, it reminds me too much of some advertising works, which has the effect of kinda preventing me to feel any emotion.

    Nevertheless, the number of awards is impressive ! :-)

  • http://www.adichiru.ro Adi

    I am also wondering if this is still photography or something else, that pretty much takes photography to a different level (not necessarily up or down, better or worse).

    I share dok’s view. It is impressive work but I would not consider this photography as there is way to much “artificial” composition in it. It does not records something but compose an image, a picture, not a photo.

    Heavy post-processing is not necessarily a problem in photography but Mr. Stranka here was more of a painter than a photographer. He used photography to create something else, his own vision of something that is not actually in any of its original photos (at least as far as I can imagine).

    This is not a bad thing but competing with these compositions into photographic contests it’s like comparing apples with oranges. I know these may not be the photos that brought him those awards but still, this is a photography web site….

  • Rich

    great work :) super robotka martin :) zdravim zo Slovenska

  • Michelle

    Dok, it is called ART. There are no rules in art whether it is created in a camera / computer or any other way.

  • http://frich481@verizon.net Fred

    Great images.Imagination is what shows as art.

  • Ryan

    @Michelle, exactly…..and Dok,who cares. Manipulation in photography is as old as photography itself. Go look at Misha Gordin or Jerry Uelsmann’s work, done entirely in the darkroom. Then come back and justify how it’s ‘graphism’…whatever that means.

  • Chris

    Photography is art; not all art is photography.

    In my mind photography is creating a capture of what is seen to exist. Sure everyone sees differently and creates differently I just do not see stacking different layers (or whatever Photoshop technique is used) from different shots as photography. It is still art however.

  • Fer

    This is an absolutely beautiful, evocative set – I can almost smell the fallen leaves, and (perhaps unlike others) I love the vignetted sepia style.

    Why sych criticism of post-processing? We all use it to enhance out photography and bring out the images in our mind’s eye. Whether one wants their final image to be true-to-life or more ethereal and artistic – in the end it’s all still photography.

  • Chris

    @ryan and Michelle: saying “it’s art” and therefore is exempt from all rules may be so, but this i a photography website and all Dok is pointing out is that these images are not really photographs. Sure there are images within the artworks that are, indeed, photographs and it depends on what your definition of a photograph is but I think it would be silly to not see things from Dok’s point of view regardless of what you think of these works. Personally, from a photographer’s point of view, I’m not massively impressed as it looks to me like something you would find on deviantart or some such site. From an artist’s perspective, I like it alot more. I like the concepts and I think it serves it’s purpose. It is in no way groundbreaking stuff but then again, neither is any of my work (not that I’m trying to do so).

    My point is, opinions are just those, opinions. And I believe Dok’s is valid. “It’s called ART” is not a valid response to his question if what you’re trying to do is tell him he’s wrong. By saying it doesn’t matter if it was created on a camera is also a little silly because, Michelle, it really does. If it wasn’t created on a camera then is it a photograph? And would the artist be considered a photographer?

    I respect these artworks and can safely say that in my teens I would have loved them. But Dok speaks sense. Adi does too.

  • Leah

    These are awesome!

  • photoman

    I think the quality of Mr Stranka’s work speaks for itself but I also wonder whether this can be classified as photography. This debate must be as old as the mountains :) For me, this is digital art and I don’t think they’ll be allowed in any photo competition. I’m assuming the awards he won were for different photos. Still, I’ll gladly hang any of these in my house! They’re stunning.

    ps: I’m sure there are thousands of definitions for what photos are and what digital art is but for me personally, you can edit a photo on a computer similar to what you could in a darkroom (dodge, burn, contrast, crop, chemical treatments etc) and it’s still a photo and it still shows exactly what you captured but as soon as you change the content of your photo (add or remove objects) it becomes digital art as it no longer represents what you captured with your camera.

  • Yvonne

    Stunning images and to me it is art – I would love to be able to create such creative work because it is so very different

  • http://www.glitterbirdphotography.com Tammy

    Beautiful work. Very emotional. I would have like to know how some of these shots were taken. I guess this article was more to showcase the work, not a technical breakdown of the work. ;)

  • bigdave

    I LOVE this type of art/photography. Very surreal, and in a lot of the shots, a case of less is more. Very well done!

  • alvin

    breath-taking images!

  • Robin Oberg

    I am with Chris. Beautiful pictures, sure. But just that, “pictures”. And maybe they started out as photographs, but somewhere along the line they left that area.

    We need DIY’s :)

  • Alex

    Wow, these photos are stunning! It’s amazing how lighting, texture and negative space can create this surreal, post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

    Thank you for sharing Martin’s photos – I always love looking at great inspiration for photography. His images kind of remind me of Ashley Adam’s (over here at Academy of Art University), in that they capture very real things in a totally different setting/perspective.

  • http://lightshooter.500px.com Tom Leparskas

    It’s gorgeous work – no denying. The journey started with a camera and a vision. Mr. Stranka’s vision’s are very powerful and the resulting art is beautiful.
    Without a camera, there would have been no work.
    Bravo!

  • http://www.silverhandphotography.smugmug.com gina englet

    I am smitten. This is a beautiful display of tranquil, dream-like art.

  • audrey

    totally utterly my style !! wonderful images. you are truly one fine artist i will definitely keep on following closely as a great inspiration. impressive collection!

  • http://www.imagingbycareaga.com Miriam Careaga

    Thank you Martin, for inspiring me. Your work is so other-worldly, ethereal. It is like visual poetry from another dimension.

  • Debo

    your work is fresh & highly inspirational.

  • http://www.blueskyphotography.net.au Benn brown

    Quite simply amazing work. Anyone who can take an imaginative idea like this and turn it into into real piece of art is truly an artist, regardless of methods used:)

  • http://jackarson.aminus3.com Jack Larson

    The discussion about whether or not Stranka’s work is really “photography” strikes me as ludicrous. It clearly is incredibly creative. Today we are flooded with gorgeous staight photographs. Not only does Stranka press the envelope for himself, he gives me encouragement to stretch the boundaries of my own photographic journey.

  • Benjamin Morgan Tetteh

    wow! i love these shots

  • Peter

    Wonderful images. To add my 2 cents to the discussion whether this is photography, I would say that any time you take a photo you in fact distort reality. What I mean, you are faced with the limitation of your equipment, whether it means the colour gamut, distortion of the lens (wide vs. telephoto), quality of the lens, resolution, etc. So, while I’m maybe playing devil’s advocate here, I’d say we should not feel guilty about playing with the pictures we take, and creating our own reality in the images, as we see it in our heads. I think that is what Martin’s work is about, not what the camera sees, but rather what the artist sees.

  • http://www.barryjacksonphotography.com Barry Jackson

    Great photography!
    Great art!
    I understand why he wins some top awards.

  • Subhash Parihar

    I have seen the works of the greatest surreal aritists. Don’t know why the pics by Martin Stranka appear a bit artificial.

Some older comments

  • Subhash Parihar

    July 5, 2013 03:43 pm

    I have seen the works of the greatest surreal aritists. Don't know why the pics by Martin Stranka appear a bit artificial.

  • Barry Jackson

    December 30, 2011 05:05 pm

    Great photography!
    Great art!
    I understand why he wins some top awards.

  • Peter

    December 30, 2011 07:21 am

    Wonderful images. To add my 2 cents to the discussion whether this is photography, I would say that any time you take a photo you in fact distort reality. What I mean, you are faced with the limitation of your equipment, whether it means the colour gamut, distortion of the lens (wide vs. telephoto), quality of the lens, resolution, etc. So, while I'm maybe playing devil's advocate here, I'd say we should not feel guilty about playing with the pictures we take, and creating our own reality in the images, as we see it in our heads. I think that is what Martin's work is about, not what the camera sees, but rather what the artist sees.

  • Benjamin Morgan Tetteh

    December 30, 2011 07:00 am

    wow! i love these shots

  • Jack Larson

    December 29, 2011 03:13 am

    The discussion about whether or not Stranka's work is really "photography" strikes me as ludicrous. It clearly is incredibly creative. Today we are flooded with gorgeous staight photographs. Not only does Stranka press the envelope for himself, he gives me encouragement to stretch the boundaries of my own photographic journey.

  • Benn brown

    November 13, 2011 10:26 am

    Quite simply amazing work. Anyone who can take an imaginative idea like this and turn it into into real piece of art is truly an artist, regardless of methods used:)

  • Debo

    November 1, 2011 11:10 pm

    your work is fresh & highly inspirational.

  • Miriam Careaga

    November 1, 2011 05:56 am

    Thank you Martin, for inspiring me. Your work is so other-worldly, ethereal. It is like visual poetry from another dimension.

  • audrey

    October 27, 2011 07:11 pm

    totally utterly my style !! wonderful images. you are truly one fine artist i will definitely keep on following closely as a great inspiration. impressive collection!

  • gina englet

    October 26, 2011 06:28 am

    I am smitten. This is a beautiful display of tranquil, dream-like art.

  • Tom Leparskas

    October 26, 2011 05:32 am

    It's gorgeous work - no denying. The journey started with a camera and a vision. Mr. Stranka's vision's are very powerful and the resulting art is beautiful.
    Without a camera, there would have been no work.
    Bravo!

  • Alex

    October 25, 2011 09:49 am

    Wow, these photos are stunning! It’s amazing how lighting, texture and negative space can create this surreal, post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

    Thank you for sharing Martin’s photos – I always love looking at great inspiration for photography. His images kind of remind me of Ashley Adam’s (over here at Academy of Art University), in that they capture very real things in a totally different setting/perspective.

  • Robin Oberg

    October 24, 2011 11:42 pm

    I am with Chris. Beautiful pictures, sure. But just that, "pictures". And maybe they started out as photographs, but somewhere along the line they left that area.

    We need DIY's :)

  • alvin

    October 23, 2011 01:56 pm

    breath-taking images!

  • bigdave

    October 22, 2011 11:09 am

    I LOVE this type of art/photography. Very surreal, and in a lot of the shots, a case of less is more. Very well done!

  • Tammy

    October 22, 2011 02:33 am

    Beautiful work. Very emotional. I would have like to know how some of these shots were taken. I guess this article was more to showcase the work, not a technical breakdown of the work. ;)

  • Yvonne

    October 21, 2011 11:19 pm

    Stunning images and to me it is art - I would love to be able to create such creative work because it is so very different

  • photoman

    October 21, 2011 09:08 pm

    I think the quality of Mr Stranka's work speaks for itself but I also wonder whether this can be classified as photography. This debate must be as old as the mountains :) For me, this is digital art and I don't think they'll be allowed in any photo competition. I'm assuming the awards he won were for different photos. Still, I'll gladly hang any of these in my house! They're stunning.

    ps: I'm sure there are thousands of definitions for what photos are and what digital art is but for me personally, you can edit a photo on a computer similar to what you could in a darkroom (dodge, burn, contrast, crop, chemical treatments etc) and it's still a photo and it still shows exactly what you captured but as soon as you change the content of your photo (add or remove objects) it becomes digital art as it no longer represents what you captured with your camera.

  • Leah

    October 21, 2011 06:00 pm

    These are awesome!

  • Chris

    October 21, 2011 05:35 pm

    @ryan and Michelle: saying "it's art" and therefore is exempt from all rules may be so, but this i a photography website and all Dok is pointing out is that these images are not really photographs. Sure there are images within the artworks that are, indeed, photographs and it depends on what your definition of a photograph is but I think it would be silly to not see things from Dok's point of view regardless of what you think of these works. Personally, from a photographer's point of view, I'm not massively impressed as it looks to me like something you would find on deviantart or some such site. From an artist's perspective, I like it alot more. I like the concepts and I think it serves it's purpose. It is in no way groundbreaking stuff but then again, neither is any of my work (not that I'm trying to do so).

    My point is, opinions are just those, opinions. And I believe Dok's is valid. "It's called ART" is not a valid response to his question if what you're trying to do is tell him he's wrong. By saying it doesn't matter if it was created on a camera is also a little silly because, Michelle, it really does. If it wasn't created on a camera then is it a photograph? And would the artist be considered a photographer?

    I respect these artworks and can safely say that in my teens I would have loved them. But Dok speaks sense. Adi does too.

  • Fer

    October 21, 2011 04:35 pm

    This is an absolutely beautiful, evocative set - I can almost smell the fallen leaves, and (perhaps unlike others) I love the vignetted sepia style.

    Why sych criticism of post-processing? We all use it to enhance out photography and bring out the images in our mind's eye. Whether one wants their final image to be true-to-life or more ethereal and artistic - in the end it's all still photography.

  • Chris

    October 21, 2011 10:53 am

    Photography is art; not all art is photography.

    In my mind photography is creating a capture of what is seen to exist. Sure everyone sees differently and creates differently I just do not see stacking different layers (or whatever Photoshop technique is used) from different shots as photography. It is still art however.

  • Ryan

    October 21, 2011 10:48 am

    @Michelle, exactly.....and Dok,who cares. Manipulation in photography is as old as photography itself. Go look at Misha Gordin or Jerry Uelsmann's work, done entirely in the darkroom. Then come back and justify how it's 'graphism'...whatever that means.

  • Fred

    October 21, 2011 10:21 am

    Great images.Imagination is what shows as art.

  • Michelle

    October 21, 2011 09:39 am

    Dok, it is called ART. There are no rules in art whether it is created in a camera / computer or any other way.

  • Rich

    October 21, 2011 08:23 am

    great work :) super robotka martin :) zdravim zo Slovenska

  • Adi

    October 21, 2011 07:25 am

    I am also wondering if this is still photography or something else, that pretty much takes photography to a different level (not necessarily up or down, better or worse).

    I share dok's view. It is impressive work but I would not consider this photography as there is way to much "artificial" composition in it. It does not records something but compose an image, a picture, not a photo.

    Heavy post-processing is not necessarily a problem in photography but Mr. Stranka here was more of a painter than a photographer. He used photography to create something else, his own vision of something that is not actually in any of its original photos (at least as far as I can imagine).

    This is not a bad thing but competing with these compositions into photographic contests it's like comparing apples with oranges. I know these may not be the photos that brought him those awards but still, this is a photography web site....

  • dok

    October 21, 2011 04:04 am

    Definitely not a criticism but a real question : is it still considered as photography or more "graphism" or something like that ? The answer "who cares ?" is not accepted ;-)
    For example, in the first "water" photo you can tell the girl is not really in the water (looking at the t-shirt). And considering the huge amount of post-processing...

    Now, for my opinion I have to say that, sadly for me, it reminds me too much of some advertising works, which has the effect of kinda preventing me to feel any emotion.

    Nevertheless, the number of awards is impressive ! :-)

  • Kevin

    October 21, 2011 03:18 am

    I'm in no way at Martin's level and it's superb work but the heavy processing is tiring to my eyes.

  • Daniel

    October 21, 2011 03:09 am

    Two years ago I lost my wife of 25 years to cancer. Several of these pictures stirred up some of the same emotions I experienced after her death. Especially "Above" and "But I Would". For pictures to have that affect on a rough old salt like me, well, bravo Mr. Stranka. Keep up the good work.

  • Paul

    October 21, 2011 02:03 am

    wow. amazing work.

  • david butali

    October 21, 2011 02:01 am

    he'is a great artist. NO doubt.

  • ccting

    October 18, 2011 08:50 pm

    I can't believe my eyes....

  • markopolo

    October 18, 2011 03:00 pm

    inspiring.......photo ,,,wow...i love it.....

  • Mark

    October 18, 2011 09:02 am

    Love your work, I'd love to know how there done! Really great work, mark

  • sumit

    October 18, 2011 12:13 am

    marvellous showcase. yet to wrap my head around the creative process involved but its top notch. the light n shadows, the presence and absence of nothing - wonderful blend. Not sure why but reminded me of Laphroaig - nice, smoky, bold and just superb.

  • Chris

    October 17, 2011 04:46 pm

    I love the work. I would really like to know how you suspend your subject in air to accomplish your shot. Absolutely amazing work. The colors are perfect for that dreamy kinda hazy feel. Beautiful.

  • Gdaiva1

    October 17, 2011 04:36 am

    First of all I want to tell yo how exited I was when I saw this article on Yahhoo, when I opened the page and I see its digital photography, and I'm already subscriber of yours :). yeaaa! Best of luck to you!
    But I have a question, I'm a newbie, so don't lough :), how do you take a picture of a falling or diving person, like that girl in the water?
    Thank you!

  • Chris

    October 16, 2011 10:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a fantastic series of creative images.

    I particular like his use of negative space and composition.

  • Crocodilo

    October 16, 2011 09:17 pm

    Amazing, creative, dreamy work. Inspiring. Congratulations, and thanks for the moments of pleasure viewing these images gives.

  • John Ayo

    October 16, 2011 02:21 pm

    I love these images and would love to be able to do something like that. I'm still looking for my style, really.

    Also, my 2-year-old likes the 2nd to last one and has been trying to stand like that, and laughing when he falls.

  • Sophie Goldsworthy

    October 16, 2011 06:26 am

    This is a stunning showcase. Thank you for sharing Martin's work.

    I'm particularly drawn to the way he uses light and space in his images, leaving great swathes of negative space in the frame. There's something very bold about that, and it really grabs the attention. They're compositionally very simple too, and I love the way he plays with the human frame. Great collection, and very inspiring!

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