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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’