Sweeping landscapes, aerial architecture shots, and poised protagonists: photographer and videographer Martin Reisch creates cinematic moments that shift the viewer into unusual and surprising points of view. He often positions himself as a mere speck at the center of his photos of sports fields, historic buildings, and public gardens. These familiar public spaces take on abstract qualities through his inventive use of scale, dimensionality, and perspective.
Reflecting on the balance of still and moving images in his repertoire, Reisch says he feels equally passionate and connected to both mediums. “I always felt that my video work was heavily inspired by my love of photography, and it’s always a tough thing to pick one or the other as my ‘title,’” he explains.
Reisch, who is based in Montreal, Canada, has a long history of working with narrative and atmospheric visual moments: his early career comprised designing DVD covers and video menus. The lackluster raw materials he worked with inspired him to take his design work to the next level and step behind the camera himself. “After being frustrated with the material clients were giving me to design with, I convinced myself that I could do better. I shot a few gigs doing on-set production photography on short films and fell in love immediately.” After finding success with his early experimental and ambitious efforts as a photographer and videographer, Reisch quickly shifted his focus to creating original work and has been working as a freelancer ever since.
While Reisch employs a wide range of professional equipment to create his photos and videos, the work that he shares on Instagram is primarily created with his iPhone or his DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone camera.
The portability and compact size of these creative tools empower Reisch to be always at the ready, incorporating spontaneity into his carefully framed shots. The photographer says that some of his most successful images have been ones he created “without really setting out to do so.”
Reisch balances his on-the-go flexibility with planning and research. From blizzards to dramatic sunsets, he keeps an eye on the weather so he can schedule shoots during conditions that contribute to his desired aesthetic. Once he (or his drone!) is on location, the full idea begins to take shape: “I think the biggest spark for my creativity tends to happen in those unexpected moments,” he says.
Although Reisch incorporates universal imagery like lush landscapes and historic architecture in his images, he has worked hard to set his work apart from that of other photographers. Having a recognizable style, with consistent aesthetic choices about framing, composition, and color, has helped establish Reisch as a strong voice in a crowded field.
Strategically creating and responding to limitations has helped Reisch tap into his innovative energy. “I love the challenge of having only an iPhone to create with or only a very brief amount of time or budget to produce a project,” says Reisch, who reframes these situations as opportunities to stretch himself and rethink capabilities. “Being constrained is where I find myself at my most creative,” he says.
Case in point: a recent science-fiction short film that Reisch made with his iPhone—Sadstronaught II (the sequel to a 60-second film he’d made previously)—won Best Narrative Short at the Moment Invitational Film Festival.
Working with a limited budget, Reisch and his team fashioned sci-fi props from hardware stores and vintage cameras. They even made an astronaut helmet out of an old globe and plastic wrap. Reflecting on the largely improvised and tightly budgeted—yet award-winning—short, Reisch says he “felt like we had everything against us, but in some ways that made our choices more confident and inspired.”