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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:

WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM

in Blog, Interviews
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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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We are extremely honored to introduce you the new member of the 3rd annual B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION judging panel – one and only HEATHER EVANS SMITH!

Heather is a master of whimsical imagination and emotional storytelling!

Her work has been featured in solo and joint exhibitions nationwide, magazines, literary journals and online publications. She has been invited as a guest lecturer at colleges, universities and photography conferences such as Australian Exposure in the Gold Coast, Australia.

And she is now one of the judges on 3rd Annual International Photo Contest in B&W Child Photography!

Q: For the beginning, we have to say that we are extremely happy to have you as one of the Judges in The Second Half of B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION. How are you? How do you feel about the role of a judge on our B&W CHILD 2016?

A: Thank you for having me! I am honored and thrilled to be one of the judges for the competition. It’s a daunting task. There is so much great work out there!

Heather Evans Smith Judge

Heather Evans Smith

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. Has art been a part of your life ever since the early age, or you happened to find it later in your life?

A: As an only child I turned to my imagination to entertain myself. I even started conceptual photography at this early age, taking photos of my cats in precarious situations. Looking back, I believe this type of childhood molded my art.

 I eventually left my hometown but not the state of North Carolina. I married, had a child, two different careers (first as a graphic designer, followed by photographer) and immersed myself in different types of art over the years. My yearning to create was always there. I just didn’t know what to do with it at times. Classes in b&w darkroom photography ignited my love for the art form. Almost 10 years later I would dive into photography and watch it unfold into another career.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Cut” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: How did living in a rural part of North Carolina influence your work and creativity?

A: The south will always be that third party in my work, in the landscapes as well as the heritage and traditions. It’s familiar and comes naturally.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Breathe Me” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your photographic career?

A: Believing in myself and giving myself a break. The more successful one becomes, the more pressure one puts on oneself to do bigger and better things. That pressure comes from within. I have learned (and am still learning) to cut myself some slack and work when it feels right to me.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Shear” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: Let’s talk about your ongoing project “Seen not Heard”.  Can you tell us more about the urge to express the feeling of motherhood? How did that influence relationship with your daughter?

A: For the past few years I have been creating images to express the emotions of motherhood. My daughter has never been included in those images. But as she has grown from a baby into a force of nature all her own, I was drawn to pull her into my world of conceptual photography and explore our relationship during a time when emotions of love, stress and confusion are high.

Seen Not Heard takes its title from the Old English adage “To Be Seen and Not Heard”, a term often thrown about in reference to the desired behavior of children. These images are silent, but they create a voluble visual narrative on the relationship between parent and child. They explore the cycles that are passed down through generations and the tension between keeping to what is known and forging a newer, and perhaps stronger, path. As strong as the close, forever bond between mother and daughter is, there also exists a distance inherent between two different individuals.

My daughter and I worked on these images for two years. She was a huge collaborator in the project. You can only direct a child so much. Her poses and movements and “mistakes” led to images that were stronger than originally planned. She enjoyed the dress up and play of it all.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Cycle” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: Does shooting on emotional level sometimes wear you out? It is constant looking into your soul, and it can easily drain you and make you feel stuck. Have you ever come across that feeling?

A: At times. I envy those who can bring their camera wherever they go and enjoy the process of photography, capturing all that’s around them. Having such a conceptual/emotional focus means that there is so much planning and stars aligning. I would love to be freer with it.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Package Deal” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: How did you feel about transition from local artist to having been spotted by Italian Vogue, Ron Howard and Australian Exposure Conference?

A: You know, honestly it doesn’t feel any different. It seems different from those on the outside but my daily life hasn’t changed much. I work in my own little bubble balancing projects, motherhood and home life. It’s always surprising when someone meets me that’s familiar with my work.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

Q: What is the piece of advice you always give to people when giving a speech?

A: The most amazing opportunities can come from the most ordinary situations. I’ve been disappointed by events that seemed like a sure fire way to success and in the end didn’t work out. The amazing opportunities came through unlikely people. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the connection until several years down the road. 

Judge Heather Evans Smith

“Marks” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: What are the artists that greatly influenced and inspired your work?         

A: I’m inspired by the emotional qualities of Francesca Woodman and Sally Mann, the dress, props and sets of Tim Walker and the cinematic feel of Gregory Crewdson. However, it’s not just other artists that inspire me: a song lyric, a vintage item of clothing, an emotion, daily life or an old movie will ignite an idea. I keep my mind open to new ideas and immediately jot them down. Sometimes I will shoot these images right away and at times it may take years for the right timing.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Wrench” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: You are one of the few artists that successfully manage to balance between personal and commercial work, what is your perfect formula?

A: I don’t know that I have a perfect formula, but have found that staying true to your style and story will lead you to client work in that same style. If the commercial work is equally engaging and moody then it can be just as satisfying as the personal work.

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Stranger On This Earth” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: What is the importance of self-portraits? Do you feel more involved and connected to the final images in which you are the subject, or it is more about the process which is more intimate?

A: I started out shooting self-portraits. Initially, it was convenient. I was always available and knew what I wanted the scene to look like. I found that the result was a deeper emotional connection. Over the past couple of years I’ve moved away from self-portraits. I’ve enjoyed the change from being in front and behind the camera to just behind. I can see the scene as it is playing out and that is satisfying for me. However, I am sure I will make appearances here and there in future work.  

Heather Evans Smith Interview

“Shed” by Heather Evans Smith

Q: How do you constantly keep your creativity flowing, do you sometimes experience a struggle  to come up with a new, distinct artistic vision?

A: I have not yet experienced a block in creative ideas, just difficulty finding the time and energy to shoot the ideas. When your child is your subject matter you never want to force the work. During Seen Not Heard we would take several months off at a time. It should never be mandatory for your child to model for you. I spend a lot of time collecting items that will eventually become ideas for new shoots. I keep working on this scavenger hunt of sorts, and when the mood strikes get to work.

You can find more of Heather’s splendid photographs on her  Facebook page, Flickr and Instagram .

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We are happy and honored to have a chance to speak with a woman who won Silhouette category once again! She has got 1st , 2nd and 3rd places in the previous years of B&W Child Photo Competition, as well as many Honorable Mentions! But most important she has splendid eye for child photography! She is Karen Osdieck – Winner in The Silhouette Category In The First Half of B&W Child Photo Competition 2016 !

 

Q: Hey Karen! We are enormously happy to have you here! You won before and you did it again! How does it feel like? ☺

A:  One word… Unreal!  I am so honored to be featured in this competition along with talents from all over the world.  Thank you so much for hosting this. 

Karen Osdieck Interview Winning Shot

“Jump” by Karen Osdieck , USA – 1ST PLACE IN THE SILHOUETTE CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

 

Q: Introduce yourself with 5 words.

A:  Passionate, nostalgic, authentic, loyal and stubborn. 

Karen Osdieck 1st place B&W CHILD 2015 , First Half

“The Breakfast Club” by Karen Osdieck, USA – 1ST PLACE IN THE SILHOUETTE CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2015, First Half

 

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

A:  I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago.  I have always loved taking photos and I had a Polaroid, a film camera and then a point-and-shoot while growing up.  The passion for capturing moments was always there but once I had my first son I was on a mission to learn as much as I could to take beautiful photos. 

Karen OPsdieck 3rd place

“Double” by Karen Osdieck, USA – 3RD PLACE IN THE CONCEPTUAL & PHOTO MANIPULATION CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

 

Q: Are you related to the subjects you photograph? How does that influence your photographs?

A:  I am mainly a hobbyist and shoot my own family.  My passion is capturing my everyday with my boys and husband.  I would say that does influence my photography because I shoot them in a documentary style with no pressure!  I do also have a passion for teaching and I teach an advanced 4 week shooting course called Capturing Imagery With Purpose. 

Q: Do you photograph every day?

A:  Almost everyday but it is refreshing to take breaks (for me and my subjects).  I do work full time in the finance field so sometimes picking up my big camera everyday just isn’t possible.  But I shoot with my iPhone just as much. 

Karen Osdieck Interview

Q: What is a secret of succeeding in capturing such an intimate moments?

A:  My secret to succeeding is letting my subjects lead the shots!  I do make suggestions to them but I let them do what is natural to them which translates to more authentic moments on camera.   

Karen Osdieck Honorable Mention

“His Shadow” by Karen Osdieck, USA – Honorable Mention in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: We notice a lot of “negative space” in your work. We can freely say it’s your trade mark. How did you discover your style?

A:  I struggled to find my style early on and shooting with a 35mm and then a 24mm changed my photography!  I then started shooting at a wide angle to include more of the scene and including the negative space became a love of mine!

Karen Osdieck Honorable Mention

“Chores” by Karen Osdieck, USA – Honorable Mention in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

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

A: “Night Swimming” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada is my favorite from the silhouette category.  The light is so gorgeous with the rays streaming through the water and I’ve just started to shoot underwater photography myself!

Karen Osdieck Interview

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

A:  I provide course materials that include images as examples that I have shot over a year or two and after failing many times while practicing.  Many say right after being introduced to a concept that they are struggling so I tell everyone “It is difficult but do not get frustrated, it takes time and you will get it”.  No one is going to take perfect shots right away.  Once you take the pressure off it will click!

Karen Osdieck Interview

Q: How do you balance between doing photography as a business and as a hobby?

A:  I am running my workshop three times a year and those 4 weeks are intense.  I shoot but do not have that much time to edit until those four weeks are over. 

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

A:  That is exactly it… It is an inner feeling to know when you have the “perfect” shot.  I put the word perfect in quotes because everyone’s definition of perfect is different.  With shooting two young boys my final shots are rarely what I envisioned when grabbing my camera!  Photography has taught me to be patient, to see the beauty in everything and to be flexible.  I am definitely more open minded and relaxed. 

Karen Osdieck Honorable Mention

“Light and Water” by Karen Osdieck, USA – Honorable Mention in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

 

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A:  I find inspiration from light!  And from the quite moments that are so often overlooked.  I am naturally a nostalgic person so I am inspired to capture what is going on in our lives in unique ways.  I can tell already that I have passed the love of photography to my boys. 

Karen Osdieck Interview

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

A:  This too shall pass. 

Karen Osdieck Interview

Karen Osdieck Interview

 

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

A:  I do not spend much time editing my images I probably could shoot in JPEG and be happy but for my images I do like the film look.  I am careful to get exposure and white balance correct in camera (which is also part of the workshop).  I do like a purposeful crop though!

Karen Osdieck Honorable Mention

“Bonding of Brothers” by Karen Osdieck, USA – Honorable Mention in The Silhouette Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

 

Q: What equipment do you use?

A:  I shoot with a Nikon d750 and mainly the 24-70mm 2.8.  I also use a Fujifilm for my underwater images. 

karen Osdieck Interview

 

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

A:  I would say to never get frustrated and give up!

Honorable Mention Karen Ssdieck

“Untitled” by Karen Osdieck, USA – Honorable Mention in The Silhouette Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half


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Olga Ageeva is one of the photographers who is regularly participating in our Annual International Photo Contest B&W CHILD.  Her work has been well noticed by our judges and for the first time she has become The Category Winner! In this interview, we finally have a chance to find out more about Olga and her work. Enjoy!

 

Q: Hello Olga! We are so happy to have you here. Your winning photograph is stunning. Congrats! Well deserved. How does it feel to be a winner of the Lifestyle Category in our competition?

A: It is absolutely unexpected, but I am very pleased.

Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph? It is a real story within the frame!

A: It’s a picture of my daily routine. This was one of the acrobatic performances of my daughters in the winter evening, after their homework had been done. Retro music was coming from the TV, grandfather was surfing the Internet and there was also a cat who has been the necessary character of the frame.

1ST place in The Lifestyle Category B&W 2016 Child Photo Competition

“Untitled” by Olga Ageeva – 1ST place in The Lifestyle Category B&W 2016 Child Photo Competition, First Half

 

Q:  Could you please introduce yourself? Tell us something personal. Who is Olga?

A: Olga is a person who looks at the world with her eyes wide open, trying to capture the most interesting moments with her camera, and  also a mother of three children, who are her leading characters.

Olga Ageeva "Sea" , interview

Q: When did you meet photography? Was it the love on first sight?

A: I met photography at school. I used to took pictures using the film, then develop it and print the moments of my friends’ school life.Then I had had a long break and I resumed three years ago.

Olga Ageeva Interview

“Pendulum” by Olga Ageeva – Honorable Mention in The Fine Art Category at B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half

 

Q: If you could describe your work with only three words, which words would you use?

A: Kids, family and warmth.

Olga Ageeva Interview

“The Apple Time” by Olga Ageeva – Honorable Mention in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

 

Q: What does it lead you to recognizing and capturing that perfect moment you always manage to capture?

A: It’s a difficult question, I think it’s probably the kind of harmony which occurs in that one second in the frame.

Olga Ageeva Interview

Olga Ageeva Interview

“Melancholy” by Olga Ageeva – Nominee at B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half

 

Q: Can you tell us few photographers that influence your work?

A: William Eugene Smith, Sally Mann, Dorothea Lange

Q: What inspires you?

A: Books, music, strolling, travelling, photos.

Lifestyle portrait of the sisters

“One moment in the life of the sisters” by Olga Ageeva – Nominee at B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half

 

Q: What is the best advice you have received regarding photography?

A: Take more pictures.

Portrait by Olga AgeevaOlga Ageeva Interview

Q: What’s the importance of taking part in quality photography contests?

A: Contests gives you the opportunity to expose your work and to find out about other photographers.

Olga Ageeva interview

“Untitled” by Olga Ageeva – Nominee in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: Can you tell us which are your favorite photos from The First Half of B&W CHILD 2016

A: There is a lot of interesting and vivid photos, especially from CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY & STREET, for example “Life in Balkan”  and “Father”.

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Alicja is one of the photographers whose work we have a chance to see on every Annual Competition B&W CHILD. Every single time, her works stands out. This time, she took the 1st Place in The Fine Art Category at B&W CHILD 2016 – 3rd Annual International Competition in B&W Child Photography. 

Q: Hello Alicja, we are honored to having you once again in our competition. You won the first place in The Fine Art Category in The First Half of B&W CHILD 2016. How does it feel to be a winner this year and competing for the 1000 EUR Cash Award?

A: Winning definitely offers a huge positive stimulus. If you had doubts about what you were doing before you can believe that it makes sense once again. There are many very talented photographers taking part in this contest so I think choosing the winner will be extremely difficult.

grandfather learning his granddaughter to swim

“Untitled” by Alicja Brodowicz, Poland – 1ST PLACE IN THE FINE ART CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: We’re happy to have a chance to talk to you again, are there new things you would mention when having been asked “Who is Alicja Brodowicz?”.  Anything new since our last interview that you would love to share with us?

A: Well, I’d like to say that a few of my photos were selected for an exhibition during TIFF photography festival in Wrocław, which is going to take place at the beginning of September. This year’s theme of the festival is “Rivers and Roads” and I am going to present my photos from the “Learning to Swim” series. I am also working hard on my photography studies and hopefully I will graduate in September. So this is quite a busy time for me.

“Rebeka” by Alicja Brodowicz, Poland - ST PLACE IN THE PORTRAIT CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2014, Second Half

“Rebeka” by Alicja Brodowicz, Poland – 1ST PLACE IN THE PORTRAIT CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2014, Second Half

Q: Can you tell us who were your favorite photographers and photos from the First Half of B&W CHILD 2016? What do you think of competitors this year and First Half Winner’s gallery?

A:  I absolutely love Alicja Pietras’ photo entitled “Boyhood”. The title is perfect too. The little boy with a fragile naked body and a funny facial expression that makes you smile is standing among beautiful leaves. I adore it. I also really like two of Kelly Tyack’s photos that were awarded in the competition, “The Moth” and “Leaves”. There are great photos in every category. I enjoyed looking at photos from the Documentary category – they let you take a glimpse into the intimate life of other people in different places around the world.

Q:  Winning photographs is a part of your ongoing series ‘’Learning to swim” can you tell us more about the whole series?

A: Originally, I was just taking photos of my daughter and I did not think of them as a series. In the course of time, I realized that they form a certain pattern. It is obvious that they are about my relationship with her, but they are also about looking at your child grow and become independent and about the cutting of the umbilical cord in a more metaphorical way. It is about letting your child go and live in the world, stand firm on the ground on her own. You can no longer hold her in your arms and protect her, she has to go and live on her own and experience everything – the good and the bad things that happen in life. The parent can have very mixed feelings about it: I feel very proud and, at the same time, very scared. The series is accompanied by a poem written by a friend of mine. The poem explores the themes of water and gradual transformation from an aquatic creature (tadpole maybe?) into a terrestrial one and I found that it fits the idea that I wanted to convey in my pictures perfectly.

Interview with Alicja Brodowicz

From “Learning to swim” series

Q:  You also take self-portraits, do they have significant value for you?

A: I take self-portraits every now and then. However, they are not about documenting physical appearance and changes in my looks; they often mark some significant moments in my life. Even though they may seem completely ordinary to the rest of the world, yet for me they are worth remembering. They evoke memories of very specific events, persons, smells, weather conditions, etc. Together, they make up a specific self-portrait diary where every photo is connected to a particular event in my life.

Alicja Brodowicz selfportrait

Q: You are someone whose work has been recognized on many competitions. In which ways quality photo competition influence your work and your career?

A: I am often not really certain if the things I do are good enough. I often feel discouraged and full of doubts. When you get positive feedback like, for example, a prize in a competition, you definitely feel more self-confident and believe in yourself more. It is a great stimulus to continue working.

tree in the water

Q:  How do you imagine your perfect day?

A: I would love to go on a trip to some big city, like New York or Tokyo and take the camera and explore it, wander around all day long, without any specific plan. It would be great to get on and get off buses or underground in places that strike you as interesting with nothing else to do but just walking about and seeing new things. I have been working a lot recently and I really miss travelling – so that is probably the explanation for a perfect day that would look like this.

Polish photographer Brodowicz

Q: What is the most inspirational thing you’ve ever seen?

A: As far as photography goes, I still think that the thing that inspired me most was the work of Sally Mann. I love her photos from the “Immediate Family” album. I think it also makes you aware of one important thing: if you want to photograph, you do not have to look far for subjects. The most interesting people and places are the ones right next to you. I think that Annie Leibovitz also mentioned it as her piece of advice for aspiring photographers: “Stay close to home. Start with your friends and family, the people who will put up with you. Discover what it means to be close to your work, to be intimate with a subject.”

Portrait of Alicja's daughter

Portrait of Alicja's father

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

A: I do not really think that there was any specific moment. I just keep doing what I like. I do not do photography professionally, I treat it more as a hobby and something fun to do and I want to keep it this way. This works best for me.

Q:  How involved are your subjects in the whole process of one photograph?

A: I take photos of people who are close to me: my family and my friends. So there is always a close relationship between me and my subjects. However, their involvement in the whole process is quite a different thing though. When I ask my daughter if she could pose for me, she is often too busy doing other things and I simply have to resolve to bribery. When there’s more than one person involved – like for example the photo that won in the Fine Art Category – my father and my daughter – there’s usually a lot of laughing and everything goes horribly wrong: either I am unclear in giving instructions or they are not really following them closely and we have to repeat the same photo a number of times until the result is somewhat satisfactory – and my daughter usually starts laughing at the wrong time, so we have to try once again. Anyway, the final result is rarely as I have originally imagined it.

Family spontaneous photos by Alicja Brodowicz

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

A: It really depends on the photo. In some cases you take a photo almost unaware and realize later that it tells a story, only after you see it on your computer screen for example. Sometimes you are an observer and a story unfolds right in front of your eyes and all you have to do is to capture the right moment.

Alicja Brodowicz documenting her life in Poland

Alicja Brodowicz winner in the Fine art category at B&W CHILD 2016

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

A: Well, right now my primary goal is to finish my photography studies. I study at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava in Czech Republic and in September I am going to defend my BA thesis. I am going to spend the rest of the summer studying history of photography for the final exam and I have to print some photos too. So these are my immediate goals.

Landscape photography by Alicja Brodowicz

You can see more of Alicja’s work on her website and Lens Culture.

 

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Istvan Kerekes is talented photographer from Hungary who has been participating in B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION in the last few years. His work was always very well noticed on our competitions and this year he won the 1st Place in the Documentary and Street Category! 

Q: Congratulations Istvan! You took 1st Place in The Documentary & Street category in The First Half of B&W CHILD 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION! How does it feel to be a winner?

A: A very good feeling! It feels great to win category 1st prize at such a prestigious contest.

Q: What do you think of winners and finalists of The First Half of B&W CHILD 2016? Any particular photo or photographer you like this year?

A: Really unique pictures, with great impact … this year no, I’d not pick one photo or photographer …, but last year,  some photos of Chee Keong Lim from Malaysia left huge impression on me (Prying, Going home, Muddy football, Reading).

Q: Your winning photograph “Life in Balkan” is very captivating and has a lot of story in it. Can you tell us a bit more about the plot? How, when and why did you create this photograph?

A: I took the picture in June, 2015  in a former mining city in south Romania. In the communist regime, the Romanian dictator Ceausescu built here the biggest mining quarter in Romania. 26 years later, after falling of the communist regime … this is the vision I had: playful children swinging in front of an partially abandoned block of flats. A raw Balkan style playground. BUT, on the other side,  these children are very happy and feel very good. They are in the middle of the world and this is how they home look like.  Today, in this area the poverty and the unemployment  is very high. In years to come, many of these children will be beggars. Through this picture I wanted to show how life does it look like today in this area. I have a project which I started 2 years ago and  still working on it. This project is about every day life in the former mining cities in Romania.

Documentary child photography

“Life in Balkan” by Istvan Kerekes, Hungary – 1st Place in The Documentary and Street Category | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: So, how is life in Balkan?

A: I don’t know how is life in the rest of the Balkan,  I know only how is the life in the Balkan region of Romania because I spend a lot of my time taking photographs in Romania. In Romania, the opinions are divided. For me it’s a place with big impact, because in many places the poverty is high, but the soul of the simple people who live here is huge. In many places, the effects of modern wold are less present in the lives of their inhabitants.

"Life in Balkan" by Istvan Kerekes, Hungary - 2nd Place in The Documentary and Street Category | B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half

“Life in Balkan” by Istvan Kerekes, Hungary – 2nd Place in The Documentary and Street Category | B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half

Q: Can you tell us more about yourself? Who is Istvan Kerekes?

A: Istvan Kerekes is a teacher and freelance photographer who was born in 1977 in Targu Mures city, Transylvania (region of Romania). I lived in Romania for 30 years. For the last 10 years I live in Hungary.  I photograph mostly portraits, social life and nature photos.

I am proud of my achievement in the art of photography the FIAP (Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique). They gave me the EFIAP/platinum distinction. I am the first Hungarian who got this distinction (2012) and the world youngest photographer who holds the EFIAP/p. With my most valuable picture “Yelena” from 2010 February to this day I won 227 prizes in 37 countries / 5 continents – Unique record result in the life of the Hungarian photography of all time. A very very important thing: I do not have a Facebook site, and I have never had one !!! In Hungary, there is 4 photographers called Kerekes Istvan !!! They all have Facebook page. I don’t!  So, if anyone is interested to see my pictures, I have only one webpage: www.kerekesistvan.com

portrait of little girl Yelena

“Yelena” by Istvan Kerekes – Nominee at B&W CHILD 2015, First Half

Q: How did you find photography? What is that one thing that makes you fall in love with it again and again?

A: When I was a child, my parents did hiking every weekend and they took me to go with them. Later on, I walked the fields and forests with my childhood friends and became very interested in the wonderful world of nature. Most of my friends are ornithologists, biologists and environmental experts. Therefore, hiking and the love for nature pervaded me in my childhood and adolescent years. I started photography to document hiking at weekends, and one or two interesting moments I’d saw in nature along the way.

In 1997, I decided I should do photography more seriously. I was eager to show the wonders of the nature I’ve seen at my weekend hikings to the people around me. Until 2000 I actually photographed only nature. But, while I was walking the nature at that time, I came across many interesting and unique social photo and portrait themes, which were worth shooting. So in the beginning of the 2000s I gradually started doing social and portrait photography as well and I became successful very soon both: at national and international level. I fell in love with social and portrait photography so much that the balance is tilted now in favor of these fields …

Interview with Hungarian photographer Istvan Kerekes

“Face” by Istvan Kerekes – Nominee in The Second Half of B&W CHILD 2015

Q: Why documentary photography?

A: Because I like to capture the human fates. I talk to people, I try to understand people’s thoughts. Human destinies are written on their faces …

Q: What are the few things you have learnt while being documentary photographer?

A: To appreciate my life … the situations … to know the really life in the different social classes.

Woodcutters home

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your workflow? 

A: Every time is different. Sometimes I am thinking and planning what I will photograph, and some other times,  the theme happens in front of me and I document it.

Documentary child photography

“Lightbar” by Istvan Kerekes

Q: What equipment do you use?

A: Camera: Nikon D3, lens: Nikkor 24-120mm and Nikkor 80-400mm

Portrait of a young girl

“Katryna” by Istvan Kerekes

Q:  Do you travel worldwide to take photographs or you are rather local photographer?

A: Majority of my social life and portrait pictures (about 90%) I take in Romania.

Q: Are you a full time photographer?

A: No, I am not a full time photographer. My official education and qualifications are in physical education, so I work as a physical education teacher. But for me, the most important think is the photography. It’s my life calling.

Social portraits by Istvan Kerekes

“Best friends” by Istvan Kerekes

Q: Can you tell us why it’s so important to take part in the quality photography contests?

A: In my opinion, a quality contest is a great challenge for every photographer. I think photography contests push us forward, inspire us to make new and unique photos, with innovative ideas … I learn very much from the contests … The most important thing for me is this: I am very determined from the very beginning not to copy others with any of my work.  I try not to create similar or the same photo that someone else did before me. I strive to develop a completely unique point of view and the world of unique images and thoughts.

So, if I feel that the theme is good for me, I send my photos in the contests. It is a real challenge.

Interview with Istvan Kerekes

Q: What would be your message to other photographers?

A: I have a message for those who  are starting out photography and competitions. First thing: decide what is your goal in photography and what do you want to achieve by participating in the competitions. I advice you to follow up with the state of today’s photography. For example, see what were trends in The First Half B&W CHILD 2016. Watch carefully and think about it. Observe carefully,  but never copy or do the same. Trends are here to inspire us, to make us think from a unique viewpoint, out of the box, so as a result we can create our own unique photographs. You should experiment a lot, as the persistent work will bring it’s fruit sooner or later. A few years later,  viewers will recognize the photographer’s hallmark while looking at their work.

 

in Blog, Interviews