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Martin Lee : cinematic portraits at their best

by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 5th of June 2023

Martin Lee is a big movie fan.  He doesn't just watch a movie as a spectator but observes everything: emotional expressions and impact, the composition and especially the lighting. He studies how the individual scenes are lit, how they reflect the perfect mood to combine all these elements during a photo shoot.  To Martin, it is essential that the viewer is captivated and sympathizes with the atmosphere he creates.  Let's have a walk in his cinematic world and learn more about this artist through this interview.

 'Family photo'

Dear Martin, first I would like to thank you so much for taking the time to answer this questionnaire! To begin, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!
My name is Martin Lee and I am from Bruntál, in the Czech Republic. I am 36 years old. My other interests outside of photography are traditional Chinese martial arts and bodybuilding.

When and how did you start your photographic journey?
My photographic journey began somewhere when the first photo-mobiles appeared. I first succumb to this trend and bought a newer and better photo-mobile? Next step was switching from a mobile to a Nikon camera. I'm currently involved in photography for approximately 10 years. I had the Shaolin Centre in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, the Covid measures wiped out this centre financially and I had to close. I had to do find another activity immediately. And as I ever enjoyed taking pictures, I went into commercial photography in 2021.


'Mulan series'

For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?
For me, photography is everything, it is my hobby, my livelihood and most importantly my lifestyle. I look for inspiration at every corner and outside of commissions I regularly take pictures for my own  larger projects. I think that if I only photographed commissions, I would stop enjoying it one day. I combine my photography with my ideas and projects.


'Mulan on the battlefield'


What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
I don't really know if any experience was essential to me. There are a lot of small experiences that fit together into a whole, like a puzzle. I encountered problems with light, composition, emotions, atmosphere, weather conditions, and many other obstacles. And when you make a mistake, you learn from it and do it right next time. Currently, my studio is equipped the way that no negative influences can take me by surprise and the way I can influence them enough. But the greatest influence on my work are films, books, series, fairy tales. I am a fan of movies, I love movie lighting, atmosphere, and I try to transfer the same into photography.


'The girl on the balcony'


Describe your overall photographic vision.
I consider photography as Art, just as painting, music, singing, dancing, etc... I don't like flat photos where families take turns as if on a treadmill, 20 minutes for one photo shoot, no atmosphere and the result is poor. My personal opinion is that you have to think about the photo, plan the photo, know what result you expect, prepare a storyboard, etc... I often plan photo shoot months in advance, secure locations, costumes, make-up artists, etc.


'Red Christmas series'


The mood, composition of your fine art portraits are outstanding! What is your secret and why are you so drawn by this photography type?
It's not really a secret (laugh), I'm happy to share this information. As I mentioned above, I'm a movie fan. I'm not watching a movie, just as a spectator. I observe everything in the film, emotional expressions, composition, but especially the lighting. I study how the individual scenes are lit, how they got the necessary mood. Then I combine these elements during the photo shoot. I will never be an actor or a film-maker, so I try to give life to photographs at least in this style (laugh). To me, it is essential in photography, that the viewer feels the atmosphere. Taking photos can basically an experience where you can feel like a star in the spotlight.


'Ave Maria'


What are the main features of a successful portrait photographer in your opinion?
A portrait photographer should know what he's doing; being able to work with light, with composition, but mainly with photo technique. Post-processing is also important for portrait photos.


'Goody Addams'


Can you please tell us something more about your workflow from the idea to the final product?
Of course I can. Ideas usually come by themselves. I see something somewhere and it immediately pops into my head. Sometimes a make-up artist comes up with an idea, sometimes a friend. Now, for example, I am working on the project "Woman as Man", which was suggested by  a friend: the idea is to photograph a woman disguised as a famous man. We have already photographed Charlie Chaplin and John Lennon. Now we are preparing Mozart. Or I watch a movie or a fairy tale, and an idea for a photo pops up. Then I start planning what character I want to photograph, what I want to capture. Accordingly, I then look for models. Once I have the models , I scout the location, if I don't want to shoot in a studio. Subsequently, I ensure the costumes. We have a lot of luxurious dresses, costumes and accessories in the studio. If we don't have a specific costume, I either buy it or go to theatre costume rentals, where I can always get the necessary costume. I work on the storyboard, plan the lighting, angles, poses, etc. When I have everything ready, the photos can be taken. These photo shoots usually take a whole day, sometimes two. I then spend countless days in post-production.


'Sometimes the power of motherhood is greater than the laws of nature'

Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what gear you use (camera, lenses, lighting, tripod, etc.)?
There are two different sides to this question. It is simply said that equipment is not important to those who already have equipment. However, the practice is different. In the beginning, it was very difficult for me. I had one light, an SLR, and a tiny studio. No way to be creative as when you have professional equipment. So it's not entirely true. Again, it depends on what you want to photograph. My photographs cannot be taken without the necessary equipment. While a landscape photographer only needs a camera and a great eye for composition.
Currently, I already have more equipment, I have a huge photo studio, with built backdrops. A large number of costumes, luxurious dresses, various accessories. I use lighting technology mainly from Fomei. I have 4 large RGB panels, 2 Fresnel, one led mini light that is conveniently portable, a large panel for lighting a larger area, 3 mini RGB leds, with which I complete the possible atmosphere, such as light from the fireplace, imitation of various light bulbs, etc. I also use large Led RGB light. I have two powerful, battery-powered flashes for field work. As you may have noticed, I mostly use permanent lights. And my equipment has grown considerably since the beginning of 2021 when I started photo shooting commercially. I use a Fujifilm GFX 50S II camera. I have 45mm/F2.8, 63mm/F2.8, 110mm/F2, 35-70mm/F4.5-5.6 lenses. Fujifilm has literally grown on my heart and I'm already planning to buy a GFX 100S II.
I also use fog generators and other necessary things to create an atmosphere.


'The girl in the frame'


What would be your favourite photo? Please tell us the story behind it.
My all favourite photo is 'Woman in red dress'. It is my wife on the picture. I think it was taken in 2020. One day, I decided to go take pictures of this lighthouse, which is located in Podersdorf, Austria. My wife agreed, we packed our things, children and went. I forgot my daughter's bag who was two years old at the time, at home. So we had to go to a shopping centre in Hungary and buy her all the clothes and things she needed. (Laugh). Let me explain why in Hungary and not in Austria. Podersdorf is located not far from the Hungarian border. And accommodation in Hungary cost about 20% of the accommodation price compared to Austria. So we stayed in Hungary near the border and went to Austria to take pictures at sunset. Then we took pictures at sunrise the second day. I am aware that this photo is compositionally wrong for some of you, as she is looking out of the photo. But that's just how I felt, and that's how I wanted it. She is a woman who looks into the unknown. The viewer can only guess what she is doing there or why she is there. I love this photo.


'Woman in red dress'


Who are your favourite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?
I like the work of Erik Almas. From the Czech Republic, I like the work of Stanislav Petera and Radovan Bartek. And in my city, I like the work of Jozef Danyi. I also like the black and white documentary work of my friend Martin Kašpar. Basically, I like every excellent image, I can appreciate a beautiful photograph (laugh).


'Woman as man series : Charlie Chaplin'


Now, since we have almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or photographic projects you would like to be involved in.
I am currently preparing a large Marie Antoinette project. I have already arranged the premises, prepared the storyboard, rented costumes. Now the date of the photo shoot is approaching, and of course you will see the photos here in the 1X gallery. I also have a Fallen Angel planned, which is still in early preparations and the costumes are in production.


'Lady in the room'


Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
1x suits me very well. It's a gallery full of beautiful photos. I enjoy browsing through other artists' photos here. I also really like that I can see the popularity of my photos in percentage and what I can do better. Photography is a lifelong learning, just like kung fu, and I am constantly striving to improve.

'I'm a woman'





'The evil Queen'


'A woman in the spotlight'


'Joker series'


'The Mermaid series'


'The little match seller'

Thank you very much for the interview




Very beautiful gallery! All these photos so vivid and full of life, each telling a story or capturing an intriguing moment! Flawless technique! Congratulations, Martin!
Thank you very much Ludmila
For me it was a pleasure to view and comment on these your beautiful images, congratulations for your technique and creativity.
Thank you very much Guiseppe
Featured Exhibition: Movement, dance, contrasts

by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 2nd of June 2023

This month's featured exhibition is titled 'Movement, dance, contrasts'  by Eduards Kapsha
The introduction to his exhibition : 
My love for photography is blind, it satisfies my ego and ambitions, heals like a psychotherapist and intoxicates like an ordinary wine. Thousands of frames shooting ballet both in performances and at gala concerts in servo from prompters and sound direction rooms and many hours spent at the computer selecting pictures. However, in the end, this resulted in around ten pictures approved for publication. Ballet has its own rules. So has photography. Movements and poses must be precisely fixed. Everything has to look perfect. That’s what ballet is - perfectly precise in choreography and music, the athleticism of dancers and mind blowing realization of movements. The spring of 2020 was the time when exhibition halls and performance stages were closed. Culture was paralyzed, as a result, many professionals and also aspiring artists were left without work, training opportunities and without the attention of audiences. They trained in apartments, parks, and by the seaside. Away from people. During this quiet and inactive time, an idea emerged to invite ballet artists to collaborate, using abandoned factories, old manors, and castle spaces as the stage, which would contrast with the model, but at the same time highlighting the depressing mood of the pandemic.

This exquisite exhibition celebrating the elegancy of ballerinas will be exposed on the opening page  / Gallery of our site during the whole month of June 2023.

Click here to see the entire exhibition: Movement, dance, contrasts by Eduards Kapsha (

To trigger your curiousity, here is a small compilation of images out of
Movement, dance, contrasts by Eduards Kapsha


'Young girls' 

'If I could'

'E & A'


'Ex Ballerina'

Your work is fantastic, great technique and creativity ... many compliments!
Labi pastrādāts, Edžu!
Impressive! As a former ballerina, I must say that I was quite pleased with this article. Not to mention excellent photos. Beautiful! Great work.
Splendid! The composition and lightings are just spectacular.Bravo!
The making of 'Poppy' by Izis

By Editor Michel Romaggi in collaboration with the author Izis 
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 31st of May




Izis's creative portraits are remarkable, but I was at once attracted by the wonderful light in her flower pictures.


Your portfolio is diversified, has variety?

Yes, it's true. I often jump from one style of photography to another. The reason is my neurotic personality and my aversion to monotony in my creations. When too much attention is consumed by nature photography, I start to get frustrated and feel the need to create something different, sometimes extremely different. I set it aside to devote myself to the portrait form of painting. The same is true for creative portraiture, during which I use double exposure, layers, textures, and filters in photo-montage. I mostly use this editing when I am going through a more difficult time (emotional or environmental nature). After all, our lives are not only happy moments but also a conglomeration of the hardships of everyday life, challenges that trigger various feelings. Art for me is a valve, a respite from joy, happiness, and a sense of beauty, but also sadness, fears, and tribulation.




There is special light in all your photos. Can you explain how you get it?

I love natural light, found in the morning or evening. It is the most valuable, magical for me. I work with models on cloudy days, I avoid midday because such light is too flat, and not very attractive. I prefer late afternoon or dusk for shooting. I sometimes use a blender for portraits to illuminate the face. I haven't worked much with the light obtained by photographic lamps. I have soft-box lights at home, but I don't use them. This light is not appealing to me. Maybe someday, when I have more time at my disposal, then I'll experiment with other types of artificial light.  For the time being, foundational light is enough for me.

For natural, bokeh colouring, I use sunlight in the early morning or just before daybreak - in summertime around 9 pm. In wintertime, I already have a favourite light at 1-2 pm. Many issues depend on the season. 





'Poppy in bokeh'



About the image titled 'poppy', can you tell us under what circumstances you took it? When, where, what camera, what circumstances, what settings?

I took the entire series with a Pentacon 50/f1.8 fixed focal length lens, according to my preference, that is, with ambient light, in front of my kitchen window.
There are days when the wind blows hard, the motion in the images taken with the manual lens, used to be out of focus. I then take pictures from my apartment.
On the poppy flower, rays of sunlight are falling on it but in the upper part, the sun was low behind the poppy.  I placed a glass sprinkled with water. This gave me a decorative background in circles. For this picture, I used a double exposure: the first shot of the flower, and the second from the background with a dewy glass. I set the exposure time to 1/1600s and the aperture to f1.8.


To finish, could you tell us about your vision for photography?

My photographic passion is not commercial. I even find it disconcerting to treat it in a businesslike manner, or more precisely, tailoring my vision to the client, shallows its form, and objectifies it. I avoid commercial shoots because there I have to meet the requirements of the people paying me for the photos. Although sometimes it still happens if someone insists. But I don't like to do it. I can't really express myself  then. I often create my works in solitude or with one person (who poses for me), so that the superfluous "crowd" does not drown out my alter-ego.

For me, photography is a form of introverted communication with the world, an attempt to abstractly depict what is in my thoughts, feelings, and subconscious, as well as a creative play with my imagination. It is a kind of meditation on the past, present, and future. My passion for creating also helps me organizing my thoughts and treat the world optimistically. It has a therapeutic effect on me.

I am grateful to God for giving me the talent and sensitivity to share with other sensitive people.


'in the hands'



Gratulacje :)
So beautiful, so artistic and so dreamy! Excellent interview plus the fantastic collection! Congratulations!!!
Great article! Thank you for sharing your beautiful artwork.
Beautiful images, congratulations Izis
Beautiful images, congratulations Patrick
Great article, nice to know a little more about you and your process.Best regards, Patrick
Very nice work, Thanks Ivette!!
Editor Michel Romaggi and Izis did a great job together ! Thanks for your appreciation, Joan -:)
Thanks a lot for the short dive into your beautiful work! Your portfolio is unique and stunning. My compliments!
Fantastic portfolio, my compliment and thanks for this inspiration!
Miharu PRO
Fantastic ART images! Love this ❤️
Benny Pettersson : Environmental conscious landscape photographer

by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 29th of May 2023


Benny Pettersson's landscape photographs all have an wonderful ethereal touch and contain a lot of emotions. Photography gives him calmness, harmony and allows him to create.  He also has a tremendous respect for Mother Earth and is concerned with the way we, humans, live and behave. Let's wander through his work and discover more about the artist behind the images in this interview.


'The day wakes up'


Dear  Benny, first I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer this questionnaire! To begin, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!

My name is Benny Pettersson and I'm from Sweden.
I live just outside Gothenburg,on the Swedish west-coast.
I work at Volvo Cars as a test driver. I test cars that will go to customers.
When I'm not photographing, I ride MTB and swim.


When and how did you start your photographic journey?

My first camera was a Kodak instamatic that I got when I was maybe 8 years old.
I got my first real system camera when I was 13 years old. I photographed until I turned 17.
Then there was a long break because I rode motorcycles until I was 30 years old.


'Never quiet'



'Evening by the sea'


For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?

Photography is very important to me, because I have a great need to create and experience what I see. Photography gives me a calmness that makes me forget all the musts of everyday life.



'The Boulders'



'Ramhulta waterfall'

What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?

For me, the atmosphere is a very important part of my work. It gives me harmony and a lot of satisfaction. Then I really feel good. And of course, the technical perfection is also necessary and fun. But first there must be emotion in the image to go for the best processing.


'Towards the end of the road'



'The handicap bath'


What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?

My relationship with nature is that we humans must be more aware of it.  We have too think more about how we live and behave. As it feels right now, we humans are destroying what we are supposed to consider as our place to live.  We should respect the way we use water, air and earth.
I don't do much preparation before i shoot. The most important thing for me is the weather report.


'Dawn light'



'A foggy morning'


What are the main features of a successful landscape photographer in your opinion?

The most important good qualities to become a fine landscape photographer are patience and getting up early in the morning. You should be there before the sun rises.


Can you please tell us something more about your workflow from the idea to the final product?

I process my images in Lightroom and some final adjustment in Nik software.





'Dawn at lake Haketjärn'


Where do you look to find inspiration and what inspires you the most?

A lot of what gives me inspiration can be found in all the pictures at 1x. But it doesn't necessarily have to be landscape shots, action and architecture shots can work just as well. The important thing is that the pictures are giving me a good feeling.


Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what gear you use (camera, lenses, lighting, tripod, etc.)?

To me the equipment is somewhat important. Not the camera brand but filter and stands, which should be of good quality.
My camera equipment: Nikon D800e,D800,D3s Nikkor 16-35f/4 , 24-120 f/4 , 70-200 f/4,
50f/1,8 ,Micronikkor 105f/ 2,8 ,Tamron 150-600 f/ 5-6,3 Flashes SB700, SB800, SB910, Nisi filters, Leofoto tripod.







Who are your favourite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?

My favourite photographers and inspirations all are here on 1x. Thanks everyone. But if I have to name one, it would be Mikko Lagerstedt.


Now, since we have almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or photographic projects you would like to be involved in.

My plans for this year are to visit some car graveyards here in Sweden. And of course there will certainly be a visit to the Swedish West coast.


'The new day'


Clean, simple and beautiful! Learning! Appreciate the excellent interview and the artistic works displayed! Congratulations!
izis PRO
Congrats! Beautiful !
Beautiful calm and soothing images, congratulations Benny
Excellent photos, excellent mood and workshop. All well-thought-out compositions hit the spot and regale with calmness. Many congratulations and thanks to Yvette for a great article.
Thank you, dear Slawomir.
I have truly enjoyed this interview and the calming/peaceful landscapes! Congratulations dear Benny!
Very Much absorbing and Picturesque shots. Lucid Narrations.
Succinct and to the point. Let the images do the talking. Very enjoyable interview. Thanks
Estupendo. Me ha encantado esta entrevista. Enhorabuena, Benny.
Classic Storytelling

by Editor Lourens Durand
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 26 of May 2023


'Goodbye My Lover' by Ismail raja sulbar


Classical music is a genre of entertainment that has been around for centuries and has evolved over time, in tune with historical changes in social mores.  If we look closely at its structure, we will see that it has always had several layers of complexity that contribute to its unique beauty and appeal, all of them together evoking emotions, captivating moments of import, and telling stories.

These layers include melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, form, emotions, and expression, each requiring a high level of skill and knowledge, both for the composer and the performer (and the listener).
There is nothing like experiencing the interplay of the different orchestral instruments reflecting a balance of pitches and melodies above a baseline of rhythm and complemented by harmony and drama, building a series of pictures that build up to a crescendo of emotion that tells a story, evoking memories and emotions, whether of happiness, toil or sorrow.


Similarly, good photography uses layers of complexity to evoke emotions and tell powerful stories, capturing moments in time that are memorable and making them stand out from the thousands of other pictures seen daily.

The most basic layer is the technical skill of the photographer in using aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focal length in an optimal way to get the message across. Complementing this is the photographer’s ability to process the results optimally in post-processing, either in the darkroom or in image editing software.

One of the most important layers after this is composition, the conscious arrangement of elements like lines, shapes, and combinations of tones and colour to create a sense of balance and harmony, whilst adding to the emotional effect.

Also important is that the blend of light and shade, the direction and intensity of the lighting used enhances the mood of the story.

Then there is the setting, the choice of background, the clothing (in the case of portraits), and the props, all of which add to the story.
Finally, there is the story.  All the elements in the photo need to be carefully thought through and planned in advance, anticipating the situation, the overall scene, the lighting, the mood, and even the use of symbolism to enrich the story. All of this requires the EYE – the ability to see the final picture well before pressing the shutter button.

Here is a selection of photographs taken by photographers, illustrating the value of visualization, planning, and storytelling in photography, in the same way as classical music masterpieces are built up, primarily in the mind of the composer.

Or, sometimes, the moment just arrives.
But still the story behind it needs to be recognised…

Lourens Durand


'Persian musician girl' by Moein Hasheminasab



'Repairman violin.' by Israel Fichman


'High seas 2' by Adrian Donoghue



'Still life with violin and candle' by Andrey Morozov


'The Greatest Love of All' by Ario Wibisono



'symphony to my best friend' by dete



'Music Lesson MMXV' by Karol Szejko Zeiko



'Sophie' by Chris Bos



'Mysteries of Depth' by Sergey Parishkov



'Through time.' by Silvia Simonato



'Story Of Family Farmer' by A.Madestra. W



'Gift' by Natalia Simongulashvili (NATALIORION)



'What shall we do next?' by Ineke Mighorst



'Maasai Mother and Son' by Yuzheng Ren



'Happy hour' by Adrian Donoghue



n/t by Leila Emektar La_



'The silence of water' by Mohammad Sorkhabi (Sorkhe Abi)



'Red Rose 3' by Sebastian Kisworo



'The Rhythm of Sorrow' by Sebastian Kisworo



'The performer' by Marc Apers



'Long LOVE' by Sarawut Intarob



'Shepherd' by Mustafa Cebecioglu



Гармонист by Viktor Cherkasov



'When you say nothing at all' by Lita Pratikto



Aydın/klasikler by Yavuz Arslan



'Swimming of Memory' by Kenichiro Hagiwara



'Insomnia!' by Ali Khataw


Thank you for selecting my image! The whole series was an experience. Kudos to the amazing photographers and a big thanks to Laurens and Yvette!
Wow. Just Wonderful. A big Thank you and off course congratulations to the creator of the stories.
Thanks for sharing these amazing story-telling images, and congratulations to all the photographers who have told the stories!
A wonderful collection of storytelling photographs. Thanks a lot and my compliments to the photographers!
Beautiful collection of storytelling photos .
Wonderful collection of beautiful storytelling photographs
Excellent repertoire of images, congratulations to the authors.
Both in terms of composition and colour tone are very extreme, exquisite.
This is a wonderful collection of images. I aspire to get stories in my images and these are good examples.
Excellent images, it was treat to watch
Excelentes fotografías