Week 7 photographer Martin Prihoda is no longer active on Flickr, but you can find some of his work here.
This week Spotlight Seven features Martin Prihoda as presented by guest curator Ryan Brenizer.
1) Where are you from and where do you live now?
I'm originally from Vancouver and though I've spent much time abroad, I still call this beautiful city home.
2) You also list yourself as a filmmaker and writer. What sort of projects do you do with these, and how do they intersect with your photography?
Filmmaking and photography are similar in so many ways yet worlds apart. A photograph has the potential to be iconic in a way a film can't be, yet a film can elaborate and contextualize in a way that isn't possible for a photograph. A picture is a frozen moment in time, leaving the observer to determine a past and a future. A film, however, can set the past and determine the future, it can flash back or fast forward, it is a million frozen moments strung together to create a perceived linear timeline.
I guess to say I prefer one over the other would be like saying I prefer a spoon over a fork...I'd have to know what I was eating. I enjoy working in film for the reason that I can spend time developing a script with actors over a linear timeline. Everyone I know loves movies, its the populist tradition of our time so its a great way to communicate as an artist.
I'm currently writing a feature film which I will be directing, its in the embryonic stages and I'm really excited about the process. To make a film is a two to three year process, in the mean and between time I go out an shoot stills...it keeps me sane.
3) You do a lot of location lighting. What are your go-to lights, and how many people are usually working on your shoots? I love shooting outdoors with strobes, it gives such an inspired, unusual and dramatic feel to a photo. If its just me and a few buddies I'll bring out my 2 600w/s Visatek strobes, pocket wizards and a few light stands, as well as a soft-box or two. If its a bigger job I'll work with and assistant or two, location manager, producer and a hair and makeup girl. I'll usually have a Profoto package on hand for these shoots, battery packs and generators. I'll shoot anything from a Canon 30d to Nikon D3 to good ol fashioned medium format on a Hasselblad.
4) A lot of these images are from your fantastic yoga series. What about yoga speaks to you (other than the fact that it looks really cool)?
I practice Yoga daily. I credit this, as well as a meditation practice, to deepening my creative abilities and tapping into my authentic self. 'Yoga' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'union.' This union refers to the union of our true self with that of the universal consciousness and its from this unity that all creation arises. The more we can experience silence and connection with ourselves, the more abundance we can bring into our lives.
and its a great workout ;-)
5) Are there any photographers that you admire or seek to emulate?
Of course, absolutely. As I began to learn how to light with more efficiency I began to look for ways to enhance the look and feel of my work though post production. I saw Joey Lawrence's work and I realized that we had very similar lighting styles, but his post work was where I wanted to be. I began a correspondence with him and he shared with me his use of layers as well as dodging and burning techniques. It definitely brought my work up to the next level. He's a great artist though and was very willing to share. Though there's similarities in our styles, I write and develop my own original concepts.
I also admire Michael Grecco's work and to be honest there's a lot more; James Nachtway for example.
6) What made you decide to focus on portraiture instead of another area of photography?
I love people. We are all reflections of each other in some way. All of life is relational and when you see someone on the street, whether you like them or not, its like seeing a big mirror. I suppose I see alot of myself in my subjects. In a face, after all, is the map of life...
7) Talk about one of the photos we chose for Spotlight Seven.
I particularly love this photo. David is a good friend of mine and we wanted to do a father/son portrait but we wanted something different. I asked him how much his son weighed and he said about thirty pounds, for some reason I immediately thought of dumb-bells and the shot was born. Its shot simply with a strobe and softbox above camera. A wide angle lens and a gloomy sky helped out.
8) It seems you do a lot of work that you don't show on Flickr -- the coprorate and editorial stuff. What is this part of your life like, and what makes you decide an image is "Flickr-appropriate"?
If I'm proud of it I'll put it up. I don't worry to much much if its corporate or not. I do tend to be fairly strict with my selections though.
9) Tell us one of the funniest moments you've had on a shoot.
We were doing a mock suicide scene once. A guy was supposed to be standing on a bridge looking down. We were shooting from below and giving orders to the actor from a walkie talkie he had in his jacket.
He was only supposed to be looking down, contemplating, but a passing driver had called the cops saying there was a 'jumper,' next thing we knew our actor was getting tackled down by a couple of officers...scared the s**t out of him. and us.
10) Show us a photo on Flickr that you wish you had taken.
I've liked this shot for awhile. I like Zuan's work, it has energy and movement coupled with a great technical skill. This photo is a particular favorite.