Ten years ago, South African photographer and Canon Explorer Martin Osner left behind the creative trappings of commercial photography to follow a career in fine art. CPN writer Mark Alexander catches up with him for an inspirational chat and to find out about a remarkable project that has taken him around the world...Occasionally you stumble upon a new technique or a way of looking at the world that doesn’t just enthuse, but fundamentally challenges the way you approach photography. When that happens, you get renewed motivation and a desire to push yourself further as a photographer. Martin Osner is that catalyst.
The South African fine art photographer has been shooting “all his life” and is currently in the final throes of completing an epic ten-year project that has taken him around the world photographing a collection of objects that have elegantly past their sell-by dates. ‘Abandoned’ is a body of work with purpose and direction; it dispels with many of the trappings usually associated with landscape photography. For instance, Osner isn’t a fan of the tripod.
“The tripod is a necessary evil,” he says calmly, “I will only use it when I have no other choice. My advice is that you try to shoot with the camera in the hand as much a possible because making an exciting composition is much easier this way as you can ‘feel it’ and move small amounts until it is perfect. But if you need to use a tripod, first look for the best composition handheld and then make sure the tripod is placed in the exact position that has been established. Most people plonk the tripod down at a convenient height, place the camera on the tripod and shoot form a boring, convenient and compromised angle. But tripods do not understand composition.”