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Day 136: First Friday Feature: Martha Sturm

From the first moment I discovered Martha Sturm on Instagram, I fell in love with her imagery and creativity. As a dancer, they are so meaningful to me, but it is so much more than that. There is something so mesmerizing about the storytelling and the colors, so it is my incredible honor to have her on my blog for this First Friday Feature.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am the 28-year-old photographer behind Martha Sturm Photography. I live together with my boyfriend in Dresden, Germany. Since a little more than 2 years I share my pictures with others. Before that I have been trying out different styles for years and mainly photographed friends. Now I focus on dancers, acrobats and other creative people who want to express more than just having beautiful pictures of themselves. Unfortunately, such people are hard to find.

2. What go you started in photography?

I have always been a creative person and have long tried to express my creativity in a way that suits me. At some point I had a camera in my hand, and I have never put it down since that day. It helps me to process experiences and tell stories about life, elegance and movement.

3. Describe your workflow, what is unique about your process?

My process starts with the model search. When I have found a model that inspires me, I search for a suitable image idea that fits to the model. Afterwards it is time to search for a location and different poses. On the day of the shooting we get to know each other and drive together to the location. Then the shooting starts. This usually takes about 2 hours. Afterwards I work on the best pictures (mostly around 4 or 5) with Lightroom and Photoshop. I personally don’t like editing; I also think I’m not very good at it. Nevertheless, I edit each picture for several hours. I don’t even know if there is anything unique about my process. I think many photographers have a similar way of working.

4. What do you enjoy most about creating an image?

What I like most is the process of creating the photography. Working together with the model on the pose and the feeling in the picture is incredibly creative and fulfilling for me. It is wonderful to meet new people all the time and to get to know what motivate and inspire them.

5. What camera equipment do you use? What have you used in the past?

I started taking pictures with the Canon EOS 5d mk ii and the Canon 50mm ff 1.4. The 50mm is still one of my favorite lenses. Currently I use the Sigma 20mm lens as well. Recently I bought the Canon EOS R and I adore it.

6. Is there a certain theme you try to express in your work? What do you feel a need to share that?

No, there is no particular theme that I express in my pictures. However, all photographs are very personal. I have implemented everything that moves me in my pictures. I have noticed that my photographs touch other people and remind them of beautiful or sad moments in their own lives. For some they give strength, they inspire, or some find them just beautiful. However, it triggers something in people. That is why I share my pictures with others.

7. Where do you find inspiration?

I find most inspiration in experienced situations. Moments that have touched me, made me happy or sad, often represent the basic mood of my pictures. I often find inspiration for poses or locations on the internet, on maps, in books or simply from the respective situation.

8. Out of your images, which is your personal favorite and why?

The image below is one is my favorite pictures. For me it combines the feeling of freedom, happiness and energy. It was a magical moment.

9. What is the biggest piece of advice you have ever been given? What advice would you give your younger self, the you who just started creating?

Do you know the book “The Big Five for Live” or the book “The Why Are You Here Café”? The contents of both books inspired me a lot and showed me that I should spend my life with things that makes me happy. Photography is one of these things.

To my younger self, I would say that photography is a shared creation process. Especially in the beginning (but unfortunately still today from time to time) I met models who were not interested in the story of the picture or in the creation process. They only wanted nice pictures of themselves and the rest didn’t matter to them. That totally demotivated me, because I put a lot of time, motivation, money and feeling into each picture and the creation process behind it.

10. What do you hope people will take away from your images?

I hope that people can see the world through my eyes. In each of my photographs people and nature are connected. My viewers should be able to escape through my pictures into a world where elegance and movement come together in a fairytale setting.

You can find Martha on Instagram.

Until Next Time,
Lillian Merritt

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