“I think it’s the light that tells the story, and the shadows that hold the beautiful secrets.” This month we are ecstatic to share with you the beautiful artist that is Martha Schuster of i see the moon photography.
Just reading her words gives you an insight into her sensitivity, and viewing her images transfers that sensitivity into some other magical world that really portrays the human soul.
Please enjoy childhood through the eyes of Martha Schuster….
Childhood and lifestyle images are often full of color and joy. How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography by portraying such images in a different way?
I have always felt that there is an unnamed magic in childhood. As much as I love the color images, I think that some of the mysteries fall within the colorless shadows. Perhaps they allow you to look a little deeper. I never thought I was breaking the rules…I’ve never been good with rules.
For us as a group, the use of deep strong shadows is what sets the mood in our lifestyle images. How do you define “mood” in your own lifestyle photographs?
It is important to me that my images convey emotion to the viewer. I want to be able to tell a story in just one image, or at least have the viewer drawn into their own imaginations from the image. I want you to be able to feel something from what I’ve made, whether it be movement of wind, nostalgia, and even sometimes the feeling of being slightly disturbed.
Why do you like portraying your lifestyle images in this way? What draws you to this style of photography?
My family has always described me as “intense” since I was a child. I live a lot in my
imagination, even now. I think this is what I see in others, and my way of leaving pieces of myself behind as well. I’m not sure I could do it any other way. I can also be described as uncomfortable in my own skin a lot of the time. I think I’ve always hidden in shadows and moodiness. I’m drawn to photography like this as I think I find comfort and authenticity in it.
When shooting in beautiful light, what attracts you more- the light, or the shadows that go with it?
Oh this is hard to say…I know that certain beautiful light will create those beautiful shadows, so initially I think i seek the light. I think it’s the light that tells the story, and the shadows that hold the beautiful secrets.
What do you find inspiring in childhood that drives your need to capture it?
Most definitely the fleeting aspect. The desperate need to hold on to the moments, to keep them, come back to them, be a part of them again myself. I think children are very open with their souls and willing to share the pieces of what makes us uniquely human. These mysteries become closed off and harder to find as we age I think.
Can you give one tip on how to shoot in “moody” light or low light?
I always look for that slight illuminating “shadowed light” – something that will result in depth and mystery in the background, but give you a start at finding the story in the image. I like to shoot with a wide open aperture most of the time, but experiment with pushing the boundaries with the shutter speed. I’m a huge fan of blur and slower shutter speeds. I think the best tip is to just keep experimenting. Learn to expose correctly, but then push it.
What keeps you going when you feel uninspired?
I have a collection of vintage cameras that I have been given or picked up along the way. I love to test them out, or research their history. One of my new goals is to go back to developing my own film and learning to manipulate it in the darkroom. I’m TERRIBLE at getting my film developed, so when I finally get it back, I’m usually spurred on to keep going and try new things – either to expand on what I’ve already done, or more often…to improve. lol! I would like to not have to rely on others to create my images.
What is your favorite time of day to photograph? And why?
My absolute favorite time of day is dawn on a foggy morning. I don’t get to do this very often, so when it happens, I hold on to every moment. Much like childhood, there is an ethereal magic in morning fog. You can’t quite put your finger on it, you’d love to see further, and it almost whispers to you. There are so many sub stories in morning fog that you have to really look for, and the results of shooting in it never fail to amaze me. Morning fog is a gift.
What’s in your camera bag?
Canon 5D MkIII, 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2, 70-200 mm 2.8, Tilt shift 45mm 2.8, Lensbaby and a pile of accessory lenses, Hasselblad 500cm with 80mm planar 2.8 lens, speed graphic 4×5, 120 film (across 100) and 4×5 film (tri-x 320), manfrotto tripod.
JPEG or RAW? Photoshop or Lightroom?
I shoot all in RAW and I use both Photoshop and Lightroom.