1 Agosto 2017 By Ale Bettoni

Martin Sander and the photography of life

Martin Sander is brilliant photographer based in Germany. Architecture and the contemporary urban setting is particularly suited to his style of photography and enables him to fully express his personal vision.

di Alessandra Bettoni

Architecture and Urban photography is not only about lines and geometry. It can be more about life rather than symmetry. Many images strike necessarily our imagination, they tell us about situations, places, amazing buildings, some of them simply catch our attention because they tell a story, the author’s story of life. That’s the way Martin Sander’s photographic work can be sum up, the photography of life.

Martin, born in 1963, lives in Essen, a town located in the German Western Region. As we start the conversation we immediately realize he is so pleasant and happy to tell about himself, even though words don’t come easily. We start by his job, a very delicate one. He is a grief counselor, he is helping people to overcome grif situations. He deals with people and for job’s reasons he does it probably in the most painful moments of their lives. That’ s why photography. As he softly tells us:

Photography is my way to ‘escape’ from the hardness of my job.


As you might imagine, photography takes time and Martin was realizing not to have the time needed to dedicate to his deep passion. In 2011 he finally took the decision. He took a break from his job and spent almost one year dedicating to his great passion, starting photographing and producing those images he had always wanted to shoot.

“That was the trigger. ” – he says – “I was just taking my time to better realize what I wanted to represent in my photographs and put a lot of energy in it. At that time Architecture and Urban settings started attracting my attention and since then my keen eye for this kind of photography has been continuously evolving.”


AVB: Martin do you remember the moment you realized the need to fix time through a shot, it is something everyone feels especially at the very beginning of photographing.

MS: Well, I was a child actually. My father had a Leica at that time. I remember the trigger, so shimmering and that captivating click sound as he shooted. I was fascinated by his gestures. That was a new world to me and I felt, I wanted to explore it somehow.

AVB: We can say that the passion for photography is something you have been learning in your family, when did you start practicing? Do you remember your first shot?

MS: My aunt gave my first camera to me, I was only 6. I can’t remember now the brand but I can remember how happy I was. My father gave me patiently the first tips to start use it. That was the beginning and I started immediatly practising and my preferirei subject at that time was my father’s wonderful Meceds Benz. To be honest, my grandparents too got me inspired, they had a certain inclination for creativity and arts.

AVB: What is your approach today to photography?

MS: I think I put a lot of myself and of my way of living in my photography. I pass through life as if I were on a stage where people’s existence acts and unfolds. Always with open eyes, I try to fix its fragments in photographs which are representing moments and scenes that catch my attention and often are unusual to my eyes.  I don’t think my images are mainstream, I think they often are the expression of my very personal, may be different, in some way intimate point of view.



AVB: How would you describe you images if you should explain what you do to people that don’t know you as a photographer? What are your plus, in your opinion?

MS: My images are in part the result of a mental processing. They are first in my mind and are conceived before shooting. Obviously, I also get inspired by the situations I see around me and I follow my istinct. By practicing photography you learn to see what others can’t. Maybe this is my strength, having developed over the years a keen eye for things and situations.


Martin shots mainly with digital cameras but he started with analog ones. Today he uses a Canon 5 Mark III and a Canon AE1, but sometimes he shoots even with a Leica 1935. He uses also different fix focal lengths depending on his needs but also a more flexible 16-300.

Architecture is very captivating to him and an endless source of inspiration: perfect geometries and crystal clear lines resulting in the many architectural elements surrounding us are among his preferred subjects.  His approach to architecture photography is always aiming at originality: he likes to playing with different perspectives and capturing buildings from an unusual perspective. The harmony of lines and the geometrical order of architectural structures are probably a reflection of his personal way to ‘act’ in life.

Observing the surrounding urban architecture and capturing it in my shots is something than make me feel home.

Martin’s vision is amazing, he is able to combine the rigorous perfection of architecture with the emotional touch of a contemporary urban scene. No doubt on his deep sensitivity, his peculiar artistic style and his remarkable technical background. Just have a look at his images and you’ll soon understand what we mean. Thank you Martin.

 Photographic gallery by Martin Sander