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Q: Hello Hayley! First of all, congratulations on winning the 1st Place in the amateur Category at NEWBORNS 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION! How does it feel to be a winner?

A: Thank you so much! It actually feels surreal to be a winner. I haven’t really been using my camera for all that long, and I still feel like I have so much to learn!

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your winning photograph “Immediate bond”?

A: I had been trying to find a good place to take a couple of simple portraits of the little one with her mama and daddy, and I ended up finding a wall that was right next to a north facing the window. From there I asked her father to hold his daughter up for a kiss, and the magic happened from there!

"The Immediate bond" by Hayley Garnett

Q: Can you tell us something about yourself? Where were you born and raised? When did you start with photography?

A: I am a 28 year old mama to a three-year-old! I was born and raised in central Missouri and started with photography around 18 months ago! Really in the last year, i have learned a lot more about post processing and my work has really grown from there!

Interview with Hayley Garnett

Q: Why you are drawn to newborn and baby photography?

A: I love how all moments are candid moments. A baby is not aware of the camera and that is the sort of subject I’m drawn to. Also the fact that there is no better feeling than to witness the brand new love a parent has for their newborn.

Hayley Garnett talks about her work

Q: Where did you learn photography? Are you a self-taught or officially educated photographer?

A: I like to say that I am “community taught”. I taught myself the in’s and out’s of my camera but social media has really helped to push me in my photography journey. Without guidance from inspiring professionals and access to youtube, I really wouldn’t know a darn thing!

Hayley Garnett Photography

Q: What’s in your camera bag?

A: Oh it’s a mess! My canon 6d, my only two lenses- Sigma art 35mm and sigma art 85mm, a polarizer and nd filter and my battery charger!

Newborn and baby photography by Hayley Garnett

Q: Do you edit your photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom?

A: I mostly use lightroom but use photoshop to clone distractions and smooth skin!

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: “No one is you and that is your power”.

Lifestyle candid baby photography by Hayley Garnett

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: Instagram, facebook, my friends, and family!

Q: Describe your work with three words.

A: Candid, emotional, honest.

Black and white portrait of a newborn baby

Q: How did photography change your life?

A: It gave me a lasting hobby. Something to be passionate about, that still involved my son. It has brought me the best friendships of my life. I am devoted to it!

Q: What do you think about other entries in NEWBORNS 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION?

A: All gorgeous. Every single one. And Lisa’s photo? Mindblowing!

Q: How do you grow in photography? What are the steps that one must follow in order to learn and grow?

A: Determination and patience. I used to try to skip steps- move up to a higher skill level than I was ready for. That doesn’t help in the long run!

Interview with Hayley Garnett Photography

Q: What would be your message to other photographers?

A: Stay true to your art. You do YOU

Hayley Garnett Photography Facebook Page.

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Q:  Hello Magdalena! First of all congrats on winning 1st place in the Documentary & Street Category at B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION! How did you react when you heard the happy news?

A: First of all… thank you so much for the recognition! It really means a lot to me and makes me feel I’m going the right direction in my life. As this is the first time I’ve entered a quality photo competition and there are so many amazing, talented photographers, I really didn’t expect to win, so the 1st place was a huge surprise which I couldn’t believe. That day I didn’t stop smiling!

Q: Would you tell us the background story of ‘Looking for the queen’?

A: The photograph was taken at Austin Nature & Science Center while visiting with all family and friends. It is a fantastic place where everyone can not only look at but also touch all the nature exhibits. There is also a beehive behind the glass. The queen can be easily located as she has a large white dot on her. Children love looking for her and the photograph was captured while my daughter Alicia was doing just that.

Interview with Magdalena Hutchins

“Looking for the queen” by Magdalena Hutchins – 1st Place in The Documentary & Street Category at B&W CHILD 2016

Q: Can you introduce yourself. Who is Magdalena Hutchins?

A: Magdalena… so official. Short and easy: Magda. I’m adventurous, confident and curious about the world, but also an introvert looking for peace. I’m a wife of 1 😉 and mother of 3 little ones’ ages 2, 3 and 5.

Q: Where you were born and raised? Is your official education related to photography?

A: I was born and raised in Poland where I lived most of my life… until I met my British/Irish husband. At that point, I moved to the UK where we started our family life. As we like adventures and traveling we took the opportunity to move to Asia and we lived in Malaysia for nearly 3 years. Currently residing in the USA. What’s next? Definitely somewhere warm… we’ll see what the fate brings us next.

Magdalena Hutchins photographs her children

Q: What’s your professional background?

A: Regarding education, I always loved maths and am a very technical person so I’ve studied and successfully worked in Information Technology Industry for years until my youngest son was born. At that point, I decided to take photography more seriously and learn it while being on maternity leave. I’ve found an online Child Photography Academy in Poland, where I started and… couldn’t stop learning. That was 2 years ago and I’m still absolutely addicted to the Academy 😉

Interview with Magdalena Hutchins

Q: How did you fall in love with photography?

A: I always enjoyed taking photographs and people enjoyed my pictures but I never was very serious about it until my youngest son was born. I decided to do his newborn session by myself without any knowledge or experience. I really enjoyed it and as this is our last child I said to myself ‘I will learn it properly now or never again’ and that’s how I started my photography adventure.

Lifestyle photographs of children

Q: On your facebook page you said you document life and childhood of you children. How do they react to being photographed by you? Do they enjoy as much as you do?

A: I think they are so used to the camera that very often they even don’t notice when I take pictures especially when they have lots of fun. Sometimes when I take photos of one of them, the other ones get jealous and want to be photographed as well but I never push if they don’t want it, which is very rare. A few times recently in return for a session I had to allow my daughter to decorate our little studio with her vision and I had to take photos of her or turn myself into a model for her! I must say, we had so much fun doing it…

Child photography by Magdalena Hutchins

Q: What is the one thing that you strive to achieve in your photographs? How do you succeed in doing that?

A: I try to catch interesting moments telling a story, but also feelings, emotions. To succeed I always must be ready, having camera around, watching what is going on and quickly react when is the right moment, but also predict when a situation may evolve into something interesting. Another method is organizing some fun for kids, could be at home or just taking them to places where they will have fun.

interview with Magdalena Hutchins

Q: In case you had to use only 3 words to describe your work, which ones would you pick?

A: passion, emotions, life

Q: What equipment do you use? How much is a good camera important to you?

A: I am a Nikon lover. I use D750 which I truly love. My mostly used lens is Nikkor 24-70 2.8. I also use 50mm 1.4 and Sigma macro 105mm. A few months ago I got my sweet Lensbaby set but I definitely have to spend more time to learn it, and that’s my goal for the next few months.

I heard so many times that pictures are taken by people, not a camera and I never thought this was true …until my D750 broke and had to be sent to a service. As I had to keep taking photos for my course I had to go back to my backup old, worthy D90. And guess what… I was still able to take good photos that were recognized. Definitely good equipment helps to take good photographs, especially in difficult light conditions but it is not crucial and we still can create amazing art with older/lower quality cameras.

Candid moments in child photography

Q: Can you share a moment of pure happiness you’ve come across while doing photography? What is that one extra special moment you’ve felt while documenting your loved ones?

A: My very special photo is the one with the rainbow (it has got a nomination in Silhouette category). I was driving my children back home from school. While I was approaching our road, I was more and more amazed by the rainbow that just has formed above us. I quickly drove to the driveway, took children out, ran to the house to get their umbrellas and said: ‘and now you just run!” There was so much excitement and happiness that it will stay with me for ever.

Little kids running under the rainbow

“We’ll find you” by Magdalena Hutchins – Nominee in The Silhouette Category at B&W CHILD 2016

Q: Can you tell us who your favourite photographers are?

A: I am truly amazed by Chee Keong Lim’s work. His photographs are amazing and they bring back memories from the time we lived and travelled around Asia. Also Elena Shumilova or Summer Murdock. As I love lifestyle and I think that’s going to be my path, they are my true inspiration.

Unique photograph of siblings running under the rainbow

Q:  How much of your work are personal projects and how much commissioned by clients?

A: As I’m not for long in the photo world, most of my photographs are personal but recently I decided to start doing some work for clients as well, so I’ve done a few sessions. I hope it will grow over time.

Q: What images from B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half have amazed you the most?

A: Ohhh, there are so many good ones that I can’t stop looking at them over and over again! My biggest favourite is Olga Ageeva’s “Playing with light”. This truly artistic picture leaves so much space for viewer’s own interpretation. When I was younger I loved watching horrors and thrillers. When I look at this photograph I can feel this thrill, exciting anxiety… what is the girl’s intention? What’s going to happen next? It reminds me of my still very favourite “Sixth sense” movie.

The other photographs that bring a lot of attention are “Batman” by Anna Kuncewicz and “The Mask” by Ewa Cwikla. Than “Hands” by Aleksandra Vereshchagina, “Childs Play” by Lora Moore Kakaletris.

Lifestyle child photography by Magda Hutchins

Q: In your opinion, why every photographer should take a part in quality photo competitions?

A: Taking part in quality photo competitions is a good way of confirming the level where we are currently. We also view other photographers’ high quality work which trains our photographic eyes and helps to find inspiration.

Interview with Magda Hutchins - the winner of documentary and street category at B&W CHILD 2016

Q: The best advice related to photography you ever received?

A: Maybe it is not a direct advice but everyone can draw a conclusion from this Annie Griffiths’ sentence:

‘Most important moments are fleeting. Hands touch. The ball drops. A smile flashes. Miss the moment and it is gone for ever.’

Interview with photographer Magdalena Hutchins

 

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Q: Hey Anna! We are enormously happy to have you here! You won The First Place in The Silhouette Category at B&W CHILD 2016 Second Half! How does it feel?

A: My first reaction to the news was astonishment. I thought “I’m just a hobbyist, why would they choose a photo of mine?”. The initial shock has now passed and I feel incredibly happy, grateful and honored.

Q: Tell us more about the winning photograph “Batman”!

A: For the past six months I have been involved in a project called the University of Child Photography Academy. I had to fulfill a few photography challenges and one of them was titled “Light”. While carrying out my research, I became fascinated by the unique shadows created by the sun and decided to use them to my advantage! The photograph was taken one sunny afternoon. My son likes dressing up in hero costumes so I encouraged him to play Batman and land from the window in our living-room with arms spread wide. In spite of the heat, he made several jumps until I managed to capture the perfect silhouette.

"Batman" by Anna Kuncewicz, Poland - 1st Place in The Silhouette Category at B&W CHILD 2016 Photo Competition, Second Half

Q: Please introduce yourself in 5 words.

A: Melancholic, stubborn, tolerant, forgetful, loyal.

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz

Q: What is your life story? Where are you born and raised?

A: I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Gdansk in Poland. Right after completing a master’s degree in Psychology, I decided to emigrate to Ireland and lived there for 3 years. The longing for my country, family & friends became so strong, however, that I finally moved back to where my roots were.

Lifestyle child photography

Q: Why photography?

A: After a period of stressful work & life events, I suddenly felt I needed an escape from my routine. I never considered myself a very creative or artsy person, but for some reason I found myself diving into jewelry-making, then scrapbooking and finally child photography. I love capturing the fleeting moments of my sons’ childhood and the unique connection between them. The phrase “Kids grow up too fast” may be a cliché, but it’s still very true and it’s the main reason I’m trying to save memories of their youth. Otherwise I’m afraid I could easily forget their tiny habits and all the changes they’re going through.

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz thw inner of the silhouette category

Q: Do you photograph every day?

A: No, I don’t. At the beginning of 2017 I embarked on a 365 photo project, but I couldn’t stand the pace for more than three weeks! From time to time I need to put my camera away on a shelf and wait for a few days for the right moment to grab it again.

Q: What’s in your camera bag?

A: My camera is the old, trusty Nikon D90 and my lenses are the Sigma 50mm, f/1.4 and the Sigma 17-50mm, f/2.8.

Black and white child photography

Q: How would you describe your style in photography?

A: I haven’t discovered my style yet. I’m still searching and experimenting in photography, but I hope that sooner or later I’ll find my niche.

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz

Q: Do you have any personal favorites from the Second Half of B&W CHILD 2016? If you hadn’t won silhouette category who would have won?

A: I’m relieved to be a participant of the contest and not the judge. The images submitted were absolutely stunning and I would have had enormous trouble choosing the winning one.

Winner of the silhouette category at B&W CHILD 2016 Photo Competition

Q: How do you know that you took the perfect shot. Is that the inner feeling or something else?

A: I don’t think I ever take perfect shots – very often I feel there’s some element of the image that could be improved. That’s why I normally aim for photos I consider ‘good enough’. They just have to be meaningful to me.

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz

Q: Who are your favorite photographers?

A: There are too many to mention but the first three names that come to my mind are Polish female photographers. I admire Magdalena Berny for her beautiful portraits, Mariola Glajcar for conceptual images and Iwona Podlasinska for her whimsical photos of her two sons.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I find a lot of inspiration from my kids’ emotions and activities, as well as their toys and storybooks. And of course the light – in photography interesting light is everything.

Creative natural light in child photography

Q: Do you have any quote that leads you through life?

A: “This too shall pass” but in a funnier version by a Polish poet and satirist Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, I would translate it as “Everything passes and goes away, even the viper with the longest tail”.

Q: How do you feel about post production, since it is spoken a lot whether photographers should edit photographs or not.

A: My editing software of choice is Lightroom and I keep my basic post-processing workflow relatively simple. In saying that, I hold nothing against photographers who use Photoshop to achieve a more artistic result. With all my admiration for conceptual artists, I realize that due to the nature of their photographs, getting things correct in-camera may be impossible and the final image does require a lot of post production.

 Anna Kuncewicz interview

Q: What would be your advice for other photographers who are planning to enter B&W CHILD 2017?

A: Just go for it! I had a lot of doubts about entering the contest, but my friend convinced me to give it a try by saying I had nothing to lose. Now I’m really happy I had the courage to submit my photo. I wish the best of luck to all the 2017 contest participants!

winner of the silhouette category at B&W CHILD 2016

Anna’s Facebook Page

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Q: Hi, Ekaterina! First of all, congratulations on Winning the 1st Place in The Portrait Category of B&W Child Photo Competition! Can you start off by telling us a little about yourself?

A:  Great news! Thank you so much!  Ok, I am a freelance documentary photographer, based in St. Petersburg. I graduated press photography at  St. Petersburg  Galperin Photofaculty of Journalist Union.  I used to photograph news and events for the local media, before the birth of my son.

documentary photography

Social and Documentary photography by Ekatarina Vedenina

 

Q: How do you feel like as the winner of the Portrait Category?

A:  I’m very glad to see my photograph as finalist.

Q: So, could you tell us the story behind your winning photograph?

This photograph was taken in Crimea.  We spent time in old hamlet house.  It was a sunny day and my friend’s kid woke up after a nap. She started playing with the curtains, waiting for her mom and i captured this beautiful candid moment.

The best photos in the portrait category

“Dancing with the curtains” by Vedenina Ekaterina, Russia

 

Q: How does your degree in journalistic affect your photography? Would you describe your approach to making art more documentary than pre-planned?

A:  It makes photography focused on real life situations. Ordinary incidents of daily life attract my attention. While shooting children I also have documentary approach. It is interesting to capture instant, candid moments of childhood.

Interview with Vedenina Ekaterina

Q: When did you start doing photography?

A:  About 8-9 years ago.

Real life situations captured by russian photographer Ekaterina Vedenina

Documentary photography by Ekaterina Vedenina

Q: Do you participate regularly on photography competitions?

A:  Not often, maybe twice a year.

Photos of children in rural Russia

Q: Why photographers you participate in high quality competitions?

A: I think, it is an excellent form of communication and information exchange.

Lifestyle and documentary child photography

Q: Where do you seek inspiration?

A: From nature,  paintings I see in museums, cinema and so on.

Q: What cameras and lenses can be found in your gear bag?

A:  Canon EOS, lenses  35 mm and 70 mm

Interview with portrait category winner at B&W CHILD 2016 Photo Competition

Q: How does one grow in photography? What are the steps that one must follow in order to become better photographer?

A:  It seems that each of us should find our own path, look around, be alert and aware, always study and practice photography.

Lifestyle child photography

Q: What is the best advice on photography you’ve ever received?

A:  Make photography with your feelings.

Q: If you hadn’t won the Portrait Category, who would have won it? What are your personal favorites from the B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION?

A:  “Shadow boy” Monika Strzelecka, Poland

Russian photographer Ekaterina Vedenina

 

 

 

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Q: Dear Ewa! We are so happy to have you here! First of all, we want to congratulate you for winning the First Place in The Conceptual and Photo Manipulation Category at B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half! So how does it feel to be one of the winners on a such a strong photo competition?

A: Thank you for this wonderful prize! I’m really happy and honored. I would like to congratulate to all the winners! Well done! It is always surprising and then that wonderful feeling of YES! It’s a huge satisfaction. Every year, the talent and the quality of images just keeps getting better and better. Images entered at B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half were incredible. Many talented and amazing photographers took part in this edition.

Q: We cannot wait to hear the story behind the photograph “The Mask”. Can you please tell us how did you get idea for this photograph? Can you reveal the process “making of” this photograph?

A: The story began in Poland in the summer in June 2016. Model Nina brought the old mask and when i saw it, I knew what I am going to do with it.  The picture was formed and inspired by beautiful model Nina. Nina is a model that fits like no other to my story with a mask. When I gave her the mask to hold in her hand and when I saw the scene already I knew how  the final photograph is going to look like, I simply knew what to do. A few weeks later When a few weeks later when I started editing, I was in a real elation when I saw the final effect.

Ewa Cwikla - 1st Place in the Conceptual and Photo Manipulation category at B&W CHILD 2016 Photo Competition

“The Mask” by Ewa Cwikla – 1st place in The Conceptual and Photo Manipulation Category at B&W Child 2016

Q: You are with us from the year one. What’s your impression of B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION? What do you think of your “rivals”?

A: I feel with you at home and always in the company of the best photographers. I also see more and more of famous names from all over the world that participate in your contests. This is a proof that professional panel of judges in CPC choose the photographs that have the “soul” and high quality.

Child portraits by Ewa Cwikla

Q: Can you tell us who were your favorite photographers and photos from the Second Half of B&W CHILD 2016?

A: OLGA AGEEVA, RUSSIA – THE GRAND WINNER OF B&W CHILD 2016. I am delighted with the sensitivity of her image. 1ST PLACE IN THE SILHOUETTE CATEGORY Batman” by Anna Kuncewicz, Poland. I like “Batman” because of wonderful creativity of the author. I think that all the winners showed in their photos pieces of their soul and it is precisely you also see and appreciate. Pure photography with emotions and story.

Little girl and bird

Q:  We follow your work for years. We noticed you had a huge jump in your body of work in 2016. Can you tell us more about this? What happened? 🙂 Is this jump the result  of practice, experience, inner thoughts, maturity, certain workshop?

A: I am over 20 years into photography with a private company and the studio. Last 3 years I started to photograph more for myself, my soul and not just for profit and clients. After so many years doing photography for my clients, I am truly enjoying this feeling of discovering myself as an artist. I strive to make photographs that represent me, my persona and how I feel.

Child portrait by Ewa Cwikla

Q: Emotion or technical side of photography?

A: If I have to choose between emotion or technique, emotion would always win.  You can always learn technique while emotions are miracle. Emotions are always close to each of us, but not seen by every photographer. Photographer that sees, makes miracle photographs!

Emotional child photography by Ewa Cwikla

Q:  How your typical day looks like?

A: I wake up and check out what’s the weather like. Then I take my dogs for a walk and my cameras and I’m looking for beautiful morning light. I get a cup of coffee, and I enjoy. I do this every time when it’s a beautiful, sunny day. After the walk, I check my emails, edit photographs or I have a meeting in the studio. I live next to my shop / studio so I am near photography and my work even when I cook and do domestic stuff. When I finish daily domestic stuff, lunch with my husband I go back to my studio and work. So..entire day I am pretty much into photography. (happy face)

Photos of children taken in forrest and nature

Q: How and when did you realize that fine art photography is “your thing”?

A:  I think I always felt fine art photography was part of me, but when I started out 20 years ago, I wasn’t doing fine art photography. I started my business for portrait, wedding and nature photography. Digital photography offers more possibilities and more imagination, it definitely inspired me to experiment more with my own photography.When i started photography, 20 years ago, I started with analog camera and I learned everything on my own.

Fine Art photography by Ewa Cwikla

Q:  Are you a full time photographer?

A: Yes, since 1995.

Boy playing accordion

1st Place in The Fine Art Category at B&W CHILD 2015

Q: How much of your story comes to life during actual shooting, and how much during the editing?

A: It is varies, sometimes when I take pictures, I know in advance how final photograph is going to look like. Sometimes it’s a simple portrait without too much editing, sometimes it includes a lot of editing. I think you should start each photo with a real good concept and know what you want to do with photos. But leisure;) ha ha experiment.

Serious portrait of a young girl

Honorable Mention at B&W CHILD 2015

Q: What are your goals you set in photography that you are yet to archive?

A: I love street photography but somehow I do not have boldness to go on the street with my camera. I truly hope I will challenge myself in this genre of photography.

Fine art child photography

Q: Can you give a piece of advice for photographers who are reading this interview?

A: Ha ha advice ?……..o this one:  See all the adventure and catch the light.

Unique and bold child photography by EWa Cwikla

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Q: First of all, we want to congratulate you on winning the Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half! The Lifestyle Category is always one of the toughest categories to win, how do you feel as a winner?

A: I would like to congratulate all the winners! Well done! And thank you very much for this recognition. Of course I was surprised I won cause so many talented and amazing photographers take part in this edition. Also, lifestyle is my favorite genre in photography so it was a great feeling to be recognized and appreciated in something that I love doing.

Q: If you had to introduce yourself with only 3 words which ones would you choose?

A: …loyal, realist, reliable, haha doesn’t sound like an artist, does it?

playing with sheets and shadows

Q: Why did you fall in love with photography as an art form? Would you still be an artist if you had chosen another path in your life?

A: I wanted to have a record of memories, capture life’s moments and feelings, but I couldn’t have done that on paper. I love memories and traveling back in time to the past. I decided to capture life’s moments and it was then that I realized that I like to capture moments where life is just happening, where nothing is arranged. I would like my photos to be like a diary that people will happily open and go back for many years to come. Would I still be an artist If I wasn’t a photographer – absolutely not! (laughs). My educational background is in mathematics and accounting.

kid suprisingly looks at bones of dinosaur

Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph ‘Rodos’?

A: “Rodos” has a special meaning for me because on that photo the main characters are my children and my parents. The moment captured in that photo is not really that unique. It’s the kind of moment that I capture a lot while spending summer vacation with my parents. But it is important time for us – a time spent with people who loves each other unconditionally. The photo captured authentic and pure summer vacation moment. I hope that the photo shows real emotions and feelings and if anyone is looking at that photograph it will bring them back to their special summer vacation, moment filled with positive and joyful emotions. I also must add that for Polish people Rodos has a double meaning. Rodos as you know is a popular Greek vacation destination for many people, but in Poland RODOS is a funny abbreviation for spending your summer vacation at your family’s garden plot in your hometown.

Q: When looking at the image what really catches the eye is an extremely hectic  atmosphere captured in such a harmony! How do you manage to freeze and catch that perfect moment when all the elements of photograph are in the perfect place telling the stories of their own?

A: I won’t pretend that each shoot is perfect. There were many photos taken in the” Rodos” series. I like to wait, observe and capture the perfect moment. It was the case in this situation. I was observing my older son playing basketball while in the background the younger son was playing badminton with his grandparents. That moment seemed interesting for me, but I also wanted to showcase where the photo was taken -the previously mentioned Rodos.  I couldn’t work a lot in terms of the width of the frame. It was limited because of the other neighbour’s garden plot. So hence the idea of having Antoni playing basketball slamming into the frame.

"Rodos" by Karolina Wawrzyniak - 1st Place in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION

“Rodos” by Karolina Wawrzyniak – 1st Place in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION

Q: Technical side of photography seems to be one of your strengths. How much concisely pay attention to this aspect of photography?

A: Honestly? My favorite quote is by Henry Cartier Bresson ” Sharpness is a bourgeois concept”. Of course I would want all my photos to be technical and detailed oriented, but if I were to choose between the emotion or technique, emotions would always win.

Portrait of Anthony

Q: What separates bad photographs from good ones?  Do you tend to analyse your own body of work in order to grow more, or you just go with a flow and improve without thinking too much about it?

A: I think that part of the answer to that question lies in my previous answer. I love capturing emotions, authenticity and honesty. It’s not easy to select the perfect frame. I often use my intuition when I choose photographs especially lifestyle photographs. Technical aspects of the photos are always important, but I think that at this stage, I notice them on a subconscious level.

Lifestyle child photography

Q: Let’s talk about inspiration. What inspires you the most? Do you seek inspiration externally or you tend to find it within yourself?

A: Life inspires my photos. Of course, I browse through many photo albums and I love looking at photographs of my favorite artists. But I feel that the pictures you take can’t be someone else idea. According to H.C.Bersson “It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera. They are made with the eye, heart and head.” This quote captures everything.

"Click" by Karolina Wawrzyniak

Q: What is the one special photograph you took that is the dearest to you?

A: I wouldn’t be able to pick just one photo that’s dearest to my heart. As a mother, I love photos of my kids. My favorite photos are the ones that capture my son’s relations. When I can see that I captured their trust and love for each other and their close ties I am very happy. As you can see it all comes down to emotions again.

Brothers hugging and laughing

Q: Which photograph was your biggest competition in the Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016 in your opinion?

A: That’s a difficult question to answer. How could I just pick one photograph when I love all the photos that have won in this competition. However, I must mention Karolina’s Piórkowska photo. Her photograph won the 3rd place in „Lifestyle” category. Karolina is my friend and an amazing photographer. It’s a great honor for me to take part in this competition with her and to share our victory together.

home domestic atmosphere with kids

Q: What’s your overall impression of B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION and quality of photographs?

A: The high level of this contest and outstanding judges made me send my photos to the B&W Child 2016 Photo Competition.  I think that a photography competition is a form of checking your own abilities and if you want to check your abilities the best option is to do it among the best of the best (laughs). I can’t stop looking at all the photos submitted in this competition. It is a great honor to find my own photograph among all the other amazing and special photos.

children enjoting childhood and playing outside

Q: Can you offer a piece of advice to all photographers who are just starting out there? Something that helped you when you were stepping into the world of photography?

A: If I were to give advice to all the photographers who are just starting out, I would say to photograph with a heart and passion. Of course, it’s important to know all technical aspects of photography such as rules of composition, cropping and so on, but the most important thing is what you are feeling. If you love what you do, it becomes your passion. Photography isn’t always easy, but that’s what’s fascinating about it. It’s a never-ending journey. You can always do something in a different and a better way.

kids playing ping pong

You can follow Karolina’s work on her Facebook Page!

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Q:  First and foremost, we would like to congratulate you for becoming The GRAND WINNER of  The B&W Child 2016 Photo Competition! Back in the first part you told us that being a Category Winner came to you as a surprise, did you expect to become the GRAND WINNER?

A: Thank you very much! When I sent my photographs to the second part of the competition, I couldn’t even imagine I’d become The Grand Winner. I only hoped I could become a winner in some particular category.

"Playing with Light" by Olga Ageeva - 1st Place in The Fine Art Category - B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half

“Playing with Light” by Olga Ageeva – 1st Place in The Fine Art Category – B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half

Q: What was the first thing you did after you had heard that you are the overall winner? Does the feeling differ a lot from being crowned as a category winner?

A: I was definitely shocked. I was reading the letter several times in order to realize that I hadn’t misunderstood what had been written there. And, obviously, the feeling differs a lot. This I time I wanted to dance and sing, even though I’m not good at it, but still I was really happy.

The best photos of Olga Ageeva

“Sleeping” by Olga Ageeva – 2nd Place in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half

 

 

Lifestyle child photography by Olga Ageeva

“Untitled” by Olga Ageeva – 1st Place in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: Is there anything new in the life of Olga Ageeva?

A: Well, this didn’t change a lot in the way I live, but it has given me the feeling that I had chosen the correct path and I should now follow it.

Little girl and her cat playing hide and seek

“The game of hide and seek” by Olga Ageeva – 2nd Place in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half

Q: You went big in the second part and your photographs were the favorites in almost every category! Have you taken any of them exclusively for the competition or you decided to send in some of your older photographs?

A: No, they weren’t taken exclusively for the contest. I take photos quite often in order to depict the life of my children, so I just picked and sent some of them.

Cat, curtain and child

Q: Would you mind telling us more about your winning photograph?

A: The photograph was taken by accident. I was shooting my elder daughter when I saw the light, which was falling on the younger one, while she was waiting her turn to be the hero of the frame. So that’s how the shot with both of them was born.

Q: In which photograph from the ones you’ve submitted you believed in the most? What was that one photograph that you knew it would catch the eye of the judges?

A: I can’t actually name one of them, because each one is very precious to me. I sent them all, so I believed in all of them.

Interview with Olga ageeva, the grand winner of B&W CHILD 2016

Q: Who was your biggest competition this year? Which photographs you wish you had taken?

A: I didn’t think about it.

Olga Ageeva Interview

Q: Is your everyday life as interesting as much as it seems in the photographs you take?

A: My photographs are my life, so it’s really interesting for me and I always try to show it in my work.

The grand Winner of B&W CHILD 2016 Photo Competition - Olga Ageeva

Q: What are the few things that make the good photograph?

A: Technically there is a light, composition, angle, then there are emotions and a story behind the picture, but any photograph should come from inside the author. It should depict his attitude to it.

Russian photographer Olga Ageeva

Q: Do you use social media as a platform for showcasing you work or you tend to enjoy photography in more silent, intimate way?

A: Yes, I post my work to Facebook, and sometimes to Instagram.

Interview with Olga Ageeva

Q: As a Grand Winner, what is the advice to all the photographers taking part in B&W CHILD 2017 when choosing which photograph to send? How they should select their best photograph?

A: I think that they should choose that photos that they personally like, ones that they always want to come back to and watch them again.

Melancholic child photo by Olga Ageeva

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Q: Hey Lisa! We are enormously happy to have you here! You won before and you did it again! How does it feel to be The Winner of NEWBORNS PHOTO COMPETITION for 2 years in a row?

A:  Thank you so, so much!  I will say that I am completely shocked at winning again this year, and very honored and humbled as well.  Thank you for this great honor!

Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph “Damien & Sylvie the Great”?

A:  I did Sylvie’s newborn photos myself, and one of my goals was to photograph her with each of her 10 older siblings.  This particular portrait of Sylvie and Damien is very special to me.  Sylvie was born with a critical congenital heart defect called total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) and had to have corrective open heart surgery when she was 3 months old.  2016 was the scariest year of my life, but also one of the most rewarding.  For the past 4 years, Damien has been telling us that he wants to be a pediatric heart surgeon when he grows up.  It was such a crazy coincidence that he would gain a baby sister who needed the services of such a doctor.  You can clearly see the love he has for his little sister in this photo, and she has wisdom beyond her days in her eyes.  I believe her to be an old soul.  I have it framed on my wall now as it is so special to me.

1ST PLACE IN THE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER CATEGORY – Damien & Sylvie by Lisa Holloway

Q: Last year was big for you in so many ways and we can only guess, but the biggest miracle that happened last year is little Sylvie? How is Sylvie? How did your life change since her arrival?

A:  Sylvie is doing well – thank you for asking about her!  She is still tiny, but mighty.  She is such a strong girl!  She is meeting all of her developmental milestones on time, so we really just need to work with her on gaining weight.  That said, none of my kids are big, and my girls in particular are especially petite, so I think some of that is just genetics.  She is such a blessing to all of us.  She has really made us appreciate LIFE and taught us to not take the day to day for granted.  Her strength is inspiring to many.

Newborn photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: Can you give us any hint how does it feel to be a professional photographer, a mother of so many children, educator, a wife? How do you manage all this?

A:  I definitely have a lot on my plate – there is no denying that.  Trying to find that elusive balance between family life and work is an ongoing struggle.  I get a lot of help from my husband and my kids.  I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.

Kids of Lisa Holloway

Q: What is your life story? Where are you born and raised? Why photography?

A:  I grew up in Olympia, Washington with my mother, father and younger sister.  We had a pretty typical 1980’s childhood – we played outside until the street lights came on, rode our bikes with the neighborhood kids, swam all day at the pool in the summer, read books, played with our toys, and used our imaginations.  In some ways I feel like it was a better childhood than kids these days have, unspoiled by electronic gadgets.  In fact, it was this childhood that cultured my love for art.  I would spend hours painting and drawing and was pretty good at it!  Photography is a natural extension of that love of art for me, and a way to stay imaginative and inspired as an adult.  I initially picked up a camera because I longed to document my children and their daily lives.  It has grown bigger than that now, but photographing my own children is still at the heart of my love for photography.  It’s been a much needed creative outlet for me.

1st Place at the NEWBORNS 2015 Photo Competition

1st Place at the NEWBORNS 2015 Photo Competition

Q: What’s in your camera bag and what lenses you love the most?

A:  Oh boy, that is a loaded question!  I am a bit of a lens hoarder.  Rather than listing them all here, you can check out all of my gear on my WEBSITE.  I set up a page specifically for this as it does get asked often.  I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark IV, and my favorite lenses are my 200L, 85L, and Sigma 50mm Art Lens.  Which lens I ultimately select totally depends on what I am trying to achieve for a particular portrait or session.

Newborn and baby photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: Do you have any personal favorites from the NEWBORNS 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION? If you hadn’t won, who would have won?

A:  I LOVE ‘Smile’ by Marta Obiegla.  What a precious, heartwarming portrait!  I also adore ‘In His Hands’ by David & Lissette.  I am really draw to newborn images that show a relationship to a parent or sibling.  There were so many gorgeous entries!

Q: Since you teach photography, what is the thing you always say to your young students?

A:  I have two bits of advice that I offer to everyone.  The first is to ALWAYS stay true to yourself.  You cannot please everyone, and that is okay.  Shoot what you love, and without apology.  Secondly, never stop practicing and learning!  Always strive to keep growing in your art.  If you feel like you are stagnating or uninspired, set up a creative shoot and have fun with it!  Try something new, go for a drive and look for new locations, or collaborate with a photography buddy and feed off of each other’s creativity.

Artistic newborn photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: How do you know that you took the perfect shot. Is that the inner feeling or something else?

A:  I usually just know – it’s definitely an inner feeling.  Sometimes I see it on my LCD on the back of my camera and cannot wait to get home and edit!

Baby photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A:  I find inspiration everywhere.  The colors and textures in nature throughout the different seasons, gorgeous light filtering through the trees, or pouring in through a window, going for a drive or a road trip.  Other photographers inspire me.  The artwork of old masters, movies, and paintings.  Inspiration is everywhere!

Lisa Holloway photography

Q: Who are your favorite photographers?

A:  There are so, so many!  To name a few, I love Elena Shumilova’s environmental portrait work with children and animals.  I love Sally Mann and Alain Laboile’s raw lifestyle portraits.  I love Peter Coskun’s gorgeous, colorful landscapes.  Jessica Drossin does beautiful, fine art portraits.  I love Magdalena Berny’s dramatic portraits of children.  I could go on and on, there are so many inspiring artists out there that it is impossible to list them all.

Baby portraits by Lisa Holloway

Q: Do you have any quote that leads you through life?

A: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Smiling baby captured by Lisa Holloway

Q: It seems like entire world knows who Lisa Holloway is! Can you tell us how did you get over 607,000 followers on Facebook??

A:  I started my Facebook page in 2010 I believe.  It’s taken a LOT of hard work to grow my following on that page.  I try to regularly post fresh and inspiring content, and strive to keep my work visible on multiple platforms – social media and otherwise.

Lisa Holloway won Newborns 2016 Photo Cometition

Lisa Holloway - The best photographer on Newborns 2016 Photo competition

Q: How does it feel to be a celebrity? Is it more a painful experience or do you enjoy it? Is there a balance when entire industry knows about you?

A:  I really don’t feel like a celebrity, and am also a HUGE introvert.  I have a tiny circle of friends and spend the majority of my time at home with my family.  It makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable to be honest.  I feel like my every move is watched and that is a little bit awkward and unnerving.

The best photographer at Newborns 2016 photo competition

Q: You are well known for amazing post production of your work! What’s your favorite tool in Photoshop? Curves or some other magic ingredient you care to share with us?

A:  I have a lot of tools in Photoshop that I love, but I’d say my favorite or most used tool is the Levels adjustment layer.  It is a very powerful way to alter the light, contrast, and even the color in your images.  I think every one of my edited images has at least one or two levels layers in the final mix – sometimes more.

Interview with Lisa Holloway

Q: Older, wiser, more experienced and definitely multiple times awarded-photographer. What would be your message to other photographers?

A:  Work hard, stay fresh and inspired, and always be true to yourself and your art.

Interview with famous child photographer Lisa Holloway

LISA HOLLOWAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Flickr

 

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Warmly welcome to Kelly Tyack! She connects nature and people, light and shadows, surroundings and landscapes  in order to create otherworldly photographs – nostalgic and whimsical. Kelly’s work has been recognized and awarded not only with the 1ST Place in The Conceptual & Photo Manipulation but also with 2ND Place in the Lifestyle Category ,  3RD Place in The Fine Art Category and many Honorable Mentions and Nominees.

We are extremely happy to have you here Kelly!

Q: Hello Kelly! First of all, congratulations on winning the Fine Art Category in The First Half of B&W CHILD 2016! How do you feel? Were you surprised when you found out the results or deep inside you knew you deserve it?

A: I am definitely beyond surprised! Every year, the talent and the high caliber of images just keeps getting bigger and better. The images entered are incredible. Being among that selection is just mind blowing.

Interview Kelly Tyack

“The Umbrella” by Kelly Tyack – HONORABLE MENTION in The Lifestyle Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: For the beginning, can you tell us something about yourself?

A: I live in rural NSW, Australia. My family (husband and four children) lives on the land we own , working sheep, cattle and growing cereal crops. I have a degree in Environmental Science, Rural Science and Secondary Education. I love the land and love working and playing on the land.

Interview with Kelly Tyacks

“The Caravan” by Kelly Tyack – 2ND place in The Portrait Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: What is the story behind your winning photograph “Leaves”?

A: Autumn is just another change of season. The leaves are just beautiful and the bare trees are even more beautiful. I wanted to combine this with my beautiful daughter. As she grows older, a change in the season also happens, she changes slightly ….. Just as a beautiful tree is always there after the leaves have fallen, I will always be left with the same beautiful daughter .It just makes beautiful sense.

Interview with Kelly M - Kelly Tyack

“Leaves” by Kelly Tyack – 1ST place in The Conceptual & Photo Manipulation Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q:  You were truly noticed in Fine Art Category, is this your main genre?

A: I love creating what I see and feel. Sometimes it is a little bit different, but it’s always me and it makes me feel complete. This genre just happens to suit what I love to interpret.

Interview With Kelly M - Kelly Tyack

“The Moth” by Kelly Tyack – 3RD place in The Fine Art Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: Where did you learn photography? Are you self-taught or officially educated photographer?

A: Totally self-taught. If I was to be honest, I probably do not know that much about photography or the technical side of it – perhaps a part of me doesn’t want to learn it. Not knowing the do’s and don’ts  gives me the freedom to create what I think is right – no matter  whether it is technically right or wrong. If it satisfies the feeling in my body and I have interpreted the image how I had envisioned it – its totally right in my eyes.

Q:  Why fine art?

A: It allows me to be me. It makes me happy. It satisfies me. It allows me to express the way I see the world.

#16

“Silver Leaves” by Kelly Tyack – HONORABLE MENTION in The Fine Art Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: What’s your equipment?

A: Nikon d600 (with broken aperture mechanism – I just don’t have the heart to get it fixed because I love it) and a 50mm 1.4 lens.

Q: Do you edit your photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom?

A: Lightroom. For some unknown reason I just cannot wrap my brain around Photoshop. I can do the basics in PS and a little bit more but LR just makes more sense to me.

Interview Kelly Tyack

“The Moving Girl” by Kelly Tyack – HONORABLE MENTION in The Conceptual & Photo Manipulation Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q:  What is your favorite quote?

A: Not photography related but just life related:

“Because she competes with no one, no one can compete with her” Lao Tze

Kelly Tyack Interview

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I find it in my land and my girls. Mood of my girls is changing daily, just like the land and the environment . I love trying to match the two. My mind constantly is thinking and looking for connections. I am drawn to the connection of light and shadows, shadows and the environment, shadows and my girls. I love looking at the world through black and white eyes. I love showing the world what my black and white world looks like.

Interview Kelly Tyacks

Q: Describe your work with three words.

A: 1.(kelly)  2.(m)   3.(photography)

I interpret what I see and love. I can’t describe that in 3 words, but what you see is totally me. Those who see my images are more than welcome to describe them.

interview Kelly Tyack

“Flowers” by Kelly Tyack – HONORABLE MENTION in The Conceptual & Photo Manipulation Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: How did photography change your life?

A: It has satisfied a little part inside of me… It is difficult to describe it in words… I now know that if I keep dreaming and thinking of  particular thing, I have to create an image out of it to make the feeling go away….That does sound little crazy and dramatic, but hopefully someone gets it!

Interview Kelly Tyack

Q: What do you think about other entries from the First Half of B&W Child Photo Competition? Is there any photograph or photographer from The First Half that caught your attention?

A: Last year it was Niki Boon. Niki Boon, Niki Boon and once more Niki Boon! Such an incredible artist and talented lady. I love looking at her images on a daily basis – they are so inspiring. I also adore the work of Lee Jefferies – the portraits are just stunning. Every single artist is outstanding, no matter if it is  a winner, honorable mention or a nominee. Looking through the gallery of the First Half of B&W CHILD 2016 , as well as the previous galleries of winners, is honestly like going to a gorgeous candy shop where all your dreams come true !

Interview Kelly Tyack

Q: How do you grow in photography? What are the steps that one must follow in order to learn and grow?

A: Shoot, shoot and shoot. I think education is always important but I think taking the time to grow as a person, listening and interpreting your visions and ideas is just as important. Just as we grow in age and our environment around us grows and changes its important to go with the flow. Yes, I should probably learn how to use my camera better and I really should sit down and play with Photoshop a little more , but at the end of the day I create what I see as beautiful in my mind and Im not sure my nikon d600 manual can help with that.

Interview Kelly Tyack

“The Calm Girl” by Kelly Tyack – NOMINEE in The Fine Art Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: What would be your message to other photographers?

A: Do what you love. Don’t do what you think other people love. Be you and shoot YOU.

Check out more of Kelly’s work on:

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We are happy to welcome once again an amazing photographer Anna Ajtner! Anna is taking part in B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION for the last 3 years and her work has been well noticed by our judges every single time. In 2014, Anna took the First Place in The Conceptual and Photo Manipulation Category with her photograph “Birds” and this year she took The First Place in The Portrait Category in The First Half Of B&W CHILD 2016.

Q: First of all, we want to congratulate one more time for achieving incredible success on B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2016!  You took the 1st place in the Portrait Category! Are you surprised?

A: Yes, I am! Once again, it’s a nice surprise.

Anna Ajtner Winner In The Portrait Category B&W CHILD 2016

“The Horse Whisperer” by Anna Ajtner – 1ST place in The Portrait Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: You were one of our Category Winners in 1st Annual Photo Competition B&W CHILD in 2014. You won The First Place in The Conceptual and Photo Manipulation Category.  How does it feel to be among the winners after 2 years and competing for The Grand Prize of 1000 EUR this year?

A: It seems like it was the last year, but it was actually back in 2014. It’s a great feeling for me and my daughter, it’s a proof  that we are a close-knit team. She is older now and much more understanding, and of course we will give our best to get GP and the main prize.

“Birds” by Anna Ajtner, Poland – 1ST PLACE IN THE CONCEPTUAL & PHOTO MANIPULATION CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2014, Second Half

“Birds” by Anna Ajtner – 1ST place in The Conceptual & Photo Manipulation Category | B&W CHILD 2014, Second Half

Q: We noticed you moved to The Netherlands in the meantime. How is your “new life” in the foreign country and how does it influence your work?

A:  I’ve been there many times in my childhood. We have a family here, my mom’s sister has already been living in The Netherlands for about 20 years. Generally, I like changes. However, it was a new challenge for us to accept. Sandra mastered the Dutch language excellently while I’ve found it much more difficult. I’m having a lot of fun with learning new words. One thing that is different is that we do not have as much time to photograph as we had before, so we try to do fewer but more refined photographs.  I’m learning a principle called canon, characteristic light and poses in portraits. I also visit a lot of photo exhibitions and I tend to meet local photographers. There are many new experiences here!

Anna Ajtner Interview

Q: In the interview we done in 2014, we had a chance to hear more about you and your daughter Sandra. Can you tell us what’s new in your life since then? How is Sandra? We see she is still your muse.

A: She is my little star. Sandra is growing up, but she still varies between a child and a girl. We’ve moved to the Netherlands last year and she has finished the first year in a Dutch school.  She speaks Dutch perfectly!

Anna Ajtner Interview

Anna Ajtner Interview

 Q: How did your degree in painting influence your work?

A: I rarely paint anything. I rather try to involve my painting experience and a sense of color when it comes down to  my photography.

Anna Ajtner Interview

Q: What drew you to photography and at what point during University did you know that it was what you wanted to pursue?

A: Photography had become a fascination of mine in an art school…. Many years ago. It was my quiet love, and at that point I knew that photography will stick with me for my entire life.

Anna Ajtner Interview

Q: Can you tell us your favorites (photographs and photographers) from The First Half of B&W CHILD 2016?

A: Alicja Brodowicz, Olga Ageeva and Kelly Tyack!

Q: Do you have your own personal favorite photograph taken by you? Why that image?

A: I really like the one that took 3rd place in The Silhouette Category. I love the atmosphere of this image!

Little girl and cat

“Rest” by Anna Ajtner – 3RD place in The Silhouette Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: Where do you seek inspiration?

A: Inspiration is a moment in life – unique and unrepeatable. I am really happy to be able  to capture it with my camera.

Anna Ajtner

Anna Ajtner Interview

Q: What do you struggle with the most?

A: I’m doing everything manually. So I’m happy when I menage to get the perfect setting.

Anna Ajtner Interview

Q: What advice can you give to the emerging photographers?

A: Be honest with yourself…

Anna Ajtner Interview

Q: What have you learnt about life while doing photography?

A: Life consists of moments, save them and record them. You have to learn to love life and accept it the way it is, so you can enjoy your life to the fullest and see the magic in front of you. Sun is not always shining, but after every storm it will shine again for sure!

Anna Ajtner Interview

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