Showcase: Maria Sturm

Meet Maria Sturm, 26 year old photographer born in Romania and currently living in Germany.

Maria is studying photography at the University of Applied Sciences of Bielefeld, Faculty of Art and Design.

Hi Maria, where are you now and what`s the weather like?

I just came home from the train station, it’s wet and cold outside. ah and now it started to pour again.

Who is Maria? Tell us about your background?

Hmm, I don’t know who I am, that’s a tuff one. But I can tell you a bit about my background. I’m a 26 year old photography student, who was born in Romania. My mother and i came to Germany after the revolution in 1991. After finishing highschool, I studied a little bit of this and that. But most of the time I took photos of my friends. So now I’m studying photography in at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld. Should finally come to an end though.

What is photography for you? When did you start?

Photography is like my mother to me. Sometimes I love her, sometimes I really hate her, but still I love her in the end, no matter what. I don’t remember how old I was, but I started as child with photographing everything I noticed with a compact camera, if you wanna count that one. When I was a teenager, I thought more about photography and took tons of pictures of my friends with my moms SLR.

How would you define your style?


We particularly liked the series “East-West”, how did this project start?

Well, I always was interested in youth culture and youth in general. In the summer of the same year, i went to St. Petersburg and photographed youth on their city’s roofs, which is kind of a movement there and also typical for St. Petersburg, because the roofs there are connected to each other, so you can take a walk on the roof or just chill. So I came to Hanoi  to make a series about a youth movement, that again would be characteristic for the city Hanoi. I didn’t find one. But i found out, that all kids i met, even though not all of them knew each other, they were linked to each other over somebody else. I met a small circle of kids, who think different then the mainstream, who are very western and I made this my topic.

Interestingly your series represent either close portraits or empty desolated places with no human presence, can you tell us more about this choice?

It’s not always a choice I make from the beginning. I mostly take pictures while traveling.  In the series “Common and uncommon places in Israel” I photographed nothing but “empty” places, because I was simply thrilled about their picturesque impression or about them just formally. In the series “Country Roads” about youth in Georgia on the other hand, I took the landscape pictures to create certain feeling of freedom.

Tell us a story about one of your pictures? What is your favourite shot and why?

The picture of Linh laying naked on her bed [above]. As soon as I knew, what I’m going to photograph in Hanoi, I wanted to take a picture of a naked girl. But that is hard to get in Vietnam, because life’s different there. With a nude picture, I wanted to emphasize the fact, that those kids I photographed are very different, very western if you may call it that way. It was hard to find somebody to do that. Even a very open girl, who I became friends with would’t do that for me and even the nude model of the art school, I had contact to wouldn’t do that. And then I met Linh!

What`s in your photography bag? What would like in it that you don`t have?

A Bronica 6×4,5 and a 5d Mk II. I’d like to have a mamiya 7 II rangefinder or a Linhof Technica or both.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face to get a great picture?

That would be getting a girl to undress for the East=West series.

If you had the chance and there were no limitations…what would you like to photograph?

I couldn’t tell a topic, but i’d like to photograph in Japan.

What`s the last book you read?

Max Frisch – Gantenbein

Are you working at a new project?

Yes, I’m flying to the States in October to work on my final project!

Who is your favourite artist (any media) ?

Leon Reindl

Is life a dream or dreams help to live better?

None of both. Life is beautiful, but it’s seems very real to me. Maybe that’s what you start to think, when you get older.

What`s the question you wish I had asked? …and what is the answer?

“Hi Maria, what would you always take with you, when you photograph, except your equipment?”

“Mmmmmhhhhmmm chocolate, now i want some.”

More of Maria’s work here

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