Featured Member: Line Martel

Editors Note:

Despite being fairly new to photography, Line has achieved something that many of us find difficult. Her images cover a wide spectrum of subjects and do so with a consistently high level of composition and style. From portraits to animals to architecture, it would be a rare viewer who could not connect with an image in Line’s portfolio. -J

Line Martel: Multifacted Photography Subjects

Who are you and where do you live?

My name is Line Martel. I am originally from Montreal, Canada. I currently live in North Texas – Dallas/Fort Worth area where I work as an infographist for a marketing research company.

How (and when) did you get started in photography? In short, tell us the story of your photographic journey.

I started photography as a hobby in late 2010-2011. The circumstances that led to this new hobby are quite dark and probably not to be discussed here. But, short story: after some tragic events in my life I needed a life saver, and opted for photography. What started as a form of therapy soon developed into a passion.

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Who (or what) have been your main photographic influences and inspirations?
Your Photo.net portfolio has many portrait images, many of which seem to strive to convey a story or emotion. How did you get started with this type of photography?

I always had a great interest in photography as art. I remember in the 70s and 80s buying many books on photographers and having a monthly subscription for years to the French PHOTO magazine. I was always in awe of the work of art, and thinking that, I too, had this kind of vision, but I felt photography was out of my reach. The digital age changed that perception.

Your Photo.net portfolio includes wide-ranging subject matter. From animal images to architecture to portraiture and more. Do you have a favorite? Is it something that has evolved over time?

Because I, indeed, have a wide range of subject it is quite difficult to pinpoint one. I have favorites in different categories for different reasons. Architecture is my favorite subject, but opportunities are limited in North Texas.

Explain how you see your body of work and what draws you to do the photography that you do?

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I think my work is quite eclectic. For some type of photography I like very clean and mostly unprocessed. But having a background in art, I also really enjoy post processing where I can blend different skills to create. As stated, my favorite subject is architecture. Shortly after starting photography I decided to master macro photography of insects. This is a consuming and tedious exercise that requires a lot of patience and skills both in shooting and processing. This exercise helped me greatly to improve my skills in all type of photography. Once I mastered this, I set my new goal to do color photography of people. This was a double challenge for me. I used to do pencil portraits, so I am most comfortable with black and white. Secondly, I suffer from social anxiety disorder. So, this meant approaching people. As I started this new journey, I discovered that having spent most of my life observing people instead of interacting with them might be an advantage to this task instead of a hurdle as how I capture people. When I decide on a goal, I work at it as often as possible. I look for opportunities and do not wait for an occasion to present itself. It cannot be repeated too often: you need to be passionate. My photography is and will always be a work in progress and will evolve with me.

Have you ever worked as a professional photographer? If “no”, why not? Is it something you would like to do? If “yes”, do you wish you could do more of that work? What does it bring or take away from your photography?

I have never worked as a professional photographer. I definitely would not consider photographing people. I have done so, free of charge a few times in the past, and cannot cope. I would not decline any other type of commercial photography and have sold some of my work as art.

What do you enjoy most about photography?

I don’t look odd alone in a crowd when I am holding a camera. But seriously, when I am shooting, I am in my own world. You become aware of your surroundings in a very different way. I enjoy the challenge, the excitement of the results. I am always excited to look at the results, hoping to achieve what my vision was…

What was the most recent photographic technique that you learned or mastered? And what is the next photographic technique that you would like to learn?

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As stated previously, my latest challenge was color photography of people. I would like to tackle landscape photography, and night photography.

What was the most recent piece of truly useful photographic equipment that you purchased? What is the next piece of equipment that you are looking to acquire?

I recently purchased a Nikon VRII 70-200mm. I would like to get the 24-70mm. I would like to convert to full frame eventually. Now in dreamland, I would love to have a Mamiya Leaf Credo 80MP Digital Back Kit and all the lenses to play with, oh! and money to travel, etc.. I am on a small budget and definitely would not let that deter me from pursuing photography.

What is in your camera bag on a typical day?

I don’t really have a typical day. I pack according to what I set out to shoot. If I am going to the field to shoot macro of insects, I try to keep my load as light as possible. Tokina 100mm on the camera, tripod attached to the body, and will carry a Nikon 18-200 in my bag in case I see something else worth shooting. If I am going to shoot street portrait or animals, I would replace the 100mm with Nikon VRII 70-200 and carry a wide 11-16 Tokina, no tripod. Incidentals are remote trigger, cleaning kit, model release, etc. There is a tripod that lives permanently in the car and a Nikon 50mm that lives permanently in the bag.

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What is your typical downloading/storage/sorting/processing procedure? Where do you store/backup your images? What programs do you use for post-processing?

For storage I use external and portable HDs. I do a lot of post processing. My artistic background is in drawing and painting, so this allows me to blend those skills with photography. I use Camera Raw, Photoshop CC, Nik Collection and Topaz Labs suite.

What words of advice or encouragement do you have for anyone just starting on their photographic journey?

First things first! Learn how to use your tools. Learn new skills. Set goals, be patient, and work on achieving the results you desire. Never assume you are as good as can be, challenge yourself, compare your work, be critical. Have fun, be an artist and let your own personality shine through. And finally, most importantly, PASSION! you need to be passionate. The equipment does not make you a photographer. Most of my portfolio was shot using a kit lens and I am still only using my D7000.

A favorite image…

I selected this image as my favorite. After countless days of practice in the field and on the computer trying to achieve the perfect shot, I remember being elated by the results from this shooting. And this meant I could now set some new goal. This is a focus stack of 15 frames. Shot at f/8 with the Tokina 100mm. In macro photography of insects, the first thing to learn is their behavior, so you can get at macro distance. Then you need to learn to focus and refocus very, very quickly and precisely, so you can get as many shots as possible without movement. All stacking and processing was done in Photoshop CS5.

-Line

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    • Much enjoy your work. Line probably has the best grasp of photoshop on PN .Congratulations!

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    • Great that Line Martel is featured here. I've always admired Line's macro shots. In fact about three years ago I was so impressed with one of her spiders that I wrote a personal mail to her and asked how she made the image. And she was very kind to reply immediately. I learned about stacking from her!! And this technique did make my macros look better!! Best wishes to Line. Ajay.

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