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.
Q: Please introduce yourself in 5 words.
A: Melancholic, stubborn, tolerant, forgetful, loyal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!