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Dear Cassandra,

 

We want to congratulate you one more time for winning our 5th Annual International Photo Competition in Newborn Photography – NEWBORNS 2017!

Q: How did you feel when you receive the happy news?

A: Excited and grateful :-).

Q: Can you tell us more about winning photograph?

A: I had this idea in my mind for a few months before the shoot. I must say, it was not easy! As you can imagine, trying to coordinate two sleeping babies and several sleeping ducks was quite the job. These babies belong to a friend of mine, and she was able to get her toddler to sleep first so that I could get him in position and posed while she fed the youngest one. The toddler was the easiest baby of the bunch! Once the newborn was asleep, I posed him sleeping on his brother and took a “safe shot” of the two of them sleeping together. I had to move very quickly, as I did not want the babies getting too warm sleeping one on top of the other in their knits. Once I had the shot of the two babies together, I removed the toddler and photographed the ducks sleeping on the newborn baby’s back. I then merged the two shots together in PS.

Interview with Cassandra Jones

“-Ducky Doggy Pile” by Cassandra Jones, Canada – 1st Place in The Professional Photographer Category at NEWBORNS 2017 Photo Competition

 

Q: How do you like the winner’s gallery this year?

A: It is a wonderful gallery. 🙂

Q: If you didn’t take the first place in Professional Photographer Category and if you had a role of the judge, who would be the winner in your opinion?

A: Ooooh, this is a tough one. There were so many images to love. I was really drawn to Crystal Mercredi’s image, “Sacred Things”. It was full of meaning and cultural relevance.

Q: You’ve been part of our community for a quite some time now. We had a chance to see and feature your marvelous work so many times so far, but can you tell us more about Cassandra?

A: Thank you :-). Hmmmm, what can I share about me? I was born and raised on a farm like no other. It was the most stunningly beautiful land. My parents made a living from growing many varieties of fruits, flowers, shrubs, and trees. So, I guess you could say that my love of all things nature started very young. I think my upbringing has had an enormous impact on my work. Even though I now live in the city, my heart remained in the forest. This is where you will almost always find me shooting. Even when I take my camera indoors, I am always trying to bring nature in with me.

Interview with Cassandra Jones

HONORABLE MENTION-“Apple Dumpling” by Cassandra Jones, Canada | NEWBORNS 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION

 

Q: When did you start doing photography? How did you decide that you want to be one of the world’s most famous newborn photographers?

A: This question made me chuckle because I really do not consider myself one of the world’s most famous newborn photographers. I never had any intention of being a photographer at all. I have a master’s degree in psychology. Psychology was my passion for many years. But, life had other plans for me.

I lost my daughter, Ava Maria when I was working on my master’s degree. She was born into the world without ever taking her first breath. I cannot articulate the immense sorrow that followed. But, I can say that I was broken and living in darkness. I needed something to help me find the light again. I had taken a six-month leave of absence from my master’s program. During this time, I bought my first camera. I thought it might benefit me to have something to force me to get out of the house and look for beauty in the world again. So, this is what I did. I guess that is where it all began. I just did not know it at the time.

Interview with Cassandra Jones

HONORABLE MENTION-“Then there were four” by Cassandra Jones, Canada

 

Q: Where did you learn the art of newborn photography?

A: I have taken workshops over the years and had lots of practice early on with my own babies 🙂

Interview with Cassandra Jones

Q: Who were your role models in newborn photography?

A: There are so many newborn photographers that I admire. I think Luisa Dunn was one of my earliest obsessions. Hehe. I remember seeing her work for the first time years and years ago and I was just blown away by her creativity and use of colour.

Q: How did you develop your recognizable whimsical style?

A: This is a tough question to answer. I have gone through my oldest work and this style was there right from the beginning. Right from day one, before I had any training, I was editing whimsical photos and finding my inspiration in sleeping babies (before sleeping older babies were a thing). I have refined my work over the years, but it is so interesting to look back and see that “my roots” have not changed.

Interview with Cassandra Jones

 

Q: Where do you find all that cute wardrobe for the tiny models you are photographing?

A: I have most of it custom made. I loooooove handmade traditional knits on babies and I am always coming up with new ideas for outfits. Luckily, I have access to some very talented knitters that are able to bring my ideas to life for me. I have such respect for those that can knit. It is an artform in itself.

Interview with Cassandra Jones

Q: Can you tell us with which photo equipment do you work? (camera body and lenses)

A: Of course. I use the Canon 5D Mark III right now. I have the 200 2.0, 70-200 2.8, 135 2.0, 85 1.2, 50 1.2, 24-70 2.8, 14 2.0, and the 100 2.8 macro. I tend to use my longer focal lengths most outdoors (200, 135, and 85) and my wider lenses indoors (24-70 and 50).

Noelle Mirabella Photography

Q: What about your editing style? Which photo editing software you are using?

A: I do a bit in ACR and the bulk of my editing in PS.

Noelle Mirabella Photography Interview

Q: You are very popular and followed photographer on social media.  It seems like you successfully incorporated social media image with your high-quality work. This is something that many good photographers struggle with. Can you tell us how you managed to build such a strong social media presence?

A: Oh my goodness, I feel like social media is a challenge for all of us. I really do not have the answers when it comes to social media. That being said, for myself, I strive to share high-quality content, engage with those that so graciously support my work, and be personally congruent in my work.

Noelle Mirabella Photography Interview

Q: What’s your opinion on current newborn photography scene?

A: There is an enormous amount of talent out there and so many different options for newborn photos (documentary, lifestyle, studio, fine-art, composites, exc.). I have a 15-year-old and this level of choice did not exist when he was little! I think it is wonderful.

Noelle Mirabella Photography Interview

Q: The quote you live life or life principles you live by?

A: This is a tough one to answer. I have never really thought about a guiding principle. But, I guess if I had to choose, I would say that I have learned to trust my own inner voice. It seems to always know the right thing to do.

Noelle Mirabella Photography Interview

Q: What inspires you?

A: My children. Everything.

Q: What would be your advice for other photographers?

A: Do what you love and be yourself. Life is too short for anything else.

Noelle Mirabella Photography Interview

 

Noelle Mirabella Website | Instagram

 

in Blog, Interviews
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Dear Kinga

First of all, we would like to congratulate you one more time for winning the first place in the portrait category at B&W Child 2017 Photo Competition!

Q: Second Half of the contest was tough. We received a high amount of high-quality submissions. What is your personal impression of shortlisted photographs? How did you feel when you’ve heard the news?

A: I was preparing dinner for my daughters when I heard the phone signal. It was an e-mail message regarding the results of the competition. I saw the first sentence: Congratulations. I thought I probably had managed to get the award. When I read the news that I had won the first place in the Portrait category, I simply could not believe my luck.  My girls and I  started to jump and dance with happiness. It was a beautiful moment, which we will remember for a long time.

iNTERVIEW WITH pOLISH PHOTOGRAPHER Kinga Drążek

NOMINEE IN THE LIFESTYLE CATEGORY b&w child 2017- “Supplier of pancakes” BY Kinga Drążek, Poland

 

Q: Can you tell us more how does it feel to compete in such a specialized contest?

A: I am still at the beginning of my photographic adventure. I’m still learning and I know that there are lots of things to learn. The beautiful thing in photography is that the more you know the more unsatisfied you feel. The feeling makes me willing to continue learning. When I sent the photos to the competition (even for a moment) I did not expect that I could win the first place in the portrait category.

Kinga Drążek Interview

Photo by Kinga Drążek

Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph  “Fear”?

A: Last year in the spring, I received a referral for an abdominal ultrasound examination of one of my little daughters. The medical examination was to be carried out at the psychiatric hospital in Rybnik with which my clinic has a contract for such tests. Passing through the alleys of the psychiatric hospital, I saw this wonderful place. And I knew that I would return there again. The next day I took my husband and daughters and went to take this picture in that wonderful place. My daughter Paulina covering her ears completed the whole picture. And that’s how my “Fear” came about.

Interview with the winner in the portrait category

1st Place in The Portrait Category | B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION- “Fear” by Kinga Drążek, Poland

 

Q:  Can you tell us more about you? When and where you were born and raised? How old are you? How and why did you start doing photography?

A: My name is Kinga Drążek. I was born on March 24, 1987, in Suszec – a small beautiful town in Upper Silesia. I spent a happy childhood there. Since my wedding (2012) I have lived with my husband Damian in Rybnik. In 2013, I received a master’s degree in Materials Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology. My passion for photography began when my first daughter-Paulina came into the world. I wanted to photograph consciously and document her life, that’s why I started my education at CHILD PHOTOGRAPHY ACADEMY in 2014. I had to stop learning for a year because our Twins – Alicja and Zuzanna, who took over our lives, came into the world. I have completed a number of courses at the Academy. The beginnings were very difficult. More than once, I thought it was not for me. But in the course of time, I wanted more and more and more … I wanted to get to know my camera well enough to be able to use it and become a better photographer day by day.

Lifestyle child photography

Kinga Drążek Photography

 

Q: Is photography your full-time occupation?

A: Not yet. In the next few months, I would like to make photography not only my passion but also my profession.

Kinga Drążek Interview

Photography by Kinga Drążek

 

Q: Which camera bodies and lenses you use the most?

A:  I have a Canon 70d and lenses: Canon 50mm f / 1.8, Canon 24mm f / 2.8; Samyang 8mm f / 3.5. It is not professional equipment, but it is good enough for me so far.

Kinga Drążek Interview

“Rowanberry” by Kinga Drążek

Q: Who and what do you like to photograph the most?

A: I love children’s photography because it all started with taking photos of children. All my adventure with photography. I love to capture the emotions on the faces of children because they are completely true and after many years these photos will be the greatest keepsake from my girls’ childhood.

Interview with  Kinga Drążek

“In the church” by Kinga Drążek

 

Q: Do you photograph often, or every day or you wait the right moment to happen in order to take your camera?

A: I always have the camera with me so that I can catch it at any moment. It rests on the shelf and waits for the moment. I take pictures every day because every moment in my family life is valuable to me and worth capturing in the picture.

 Kinga Drążek Interview

“Medical care” by Kinga Drążek

 

Q: What inspires you?

A: Life inspires me. I am inspired by the moments of everyday life. But also by music and photographs of other wonderful photographers.

Kinga Drążek Interview

“Laundress” by Kinga Drążek

Q: Who are the photographers that you admire?

A: I love photographers who in the recorded moments of the picture are able to show the authentic emotions of the characters. The photographer I adore is Kamila Gruss. I love her photos of emotions and truth shown in pictures. I also admire her for wonderful photo editing.

Q: If you didn’t win the portrait category on our contest and if you had a chance to take a role of the judge, who would take the first place in your opinion?

A: For me, the unrivaled portraitist is Paulina Duczman and I would give her the first place without the slightest thought.

Q: What’s your opinion on social media and how they impact photographer’s career? Do you think that social media maybe distracts photographers from art and creativity since it’s quite demanding and time-consuming?

A: I believe that social media should be part of every photographer’s life. It is thanks to social media that we have the opportunity to promote our creativity on the web. Of course, this is demanding and time-consuming, but I do not think that it would distract photographers from art and creativity in any way. There are a lot of great pages that can be an inspiration for each of us. Since last November  I have been the administrator of the website: Through a Mother’s Eyes Photography and  I owe it to the great photographer – Anna Ajtner.

Interview with Kinga Drążek

Kinga Drążek Photography

Q: Why is so important to enter quality photography contests in your opinion?

A: I think it’s better to be the weakest in the best group than the best in the weakest group.

Q: Your favorite quote?

A: “Look with your eyes, photograph with your heart” (David duChemin)

Kinga Drążek Interview

“In the window” by Kinga Drążek

Q: Principles in life you live by?

A: I love people. I love meeting new people and their stories. I believe that a positive attitude to life is one of those principles that allow us to live our lives happily. I try to keep smiling through many times and in my case, it is a smile through tears.

Interview with  Kinga Drążek

“To the sky” by Kinga Drążek

Q: What would be your advice to other photographers?

A: What’s my advice? Be yourself. Do not look at others. If you do not have the “top shelf” equipment, you can also take great pictures. My win in this category is a perfect example. Enjoy what you have, because you can take pictures, it’s the greatest gift.

 

 

 

 

in Blog, Interviews
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First of all, we would like to congratulate you one more time for winning the first place in the lifestyle category at B&W Child 2017 Photo Competition!

Q: Second Half of the contest was tough. We received a high amount of high-quality submissions. What is your personal impression of shortlisted photographs? How did you feel when you’ve heard the news?

A: It was really a great surprise! The level of the photographs this year was high. I’m really impressed by the results and at the same time, happy to be among the winners. I honestly didn’t expect to win, but can’t hide I knew my pictures will be at the top, especially the winner one.

Interview with the winner of the lifestyle category at B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION

“Dreaming about stars and heaven” by Oriano Nicolau, Spain – 1st Place in The Lifestyle Category | B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Q: Can you tell us more how does it feel to compete in such a specialized contest? You’ve been entering our contest for years and your work was always well noticed. Can you tell us what is your expectation when entering B&W CHILD?

A: I Feel very honored, entering this contest, winning it and seeing so many positive reactions, makes think I’m in the right way. It is motivating!

Interview with Oriano Nicolau

“Below the window” by Oriano Nicolau | Honorable Mention in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION, 2nd Half

 

Q: Judges gave a special note regarding your photo editing style. In other words, they truly love it. Can you tell us more what is so special about your editing style? How did you develop recognizable “Oriano Style”?

A: This a great compliment! I always shoot in raw, so I have all the image data possible.  From this raw I create three separate images, with three different exposures, then I mix them together to create an almost Hight dynamic range image with dark/light areas containing information. The final process is playing with zones system, created originally in a film by Alsem Adams, but of course doing digitally in Photoshop, playing with layers and paying a lot of an attention to the histogram. The final result is an almost High dynamic range B/W image.

 

High dynamic range black and white editing

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q:  Can you tell us more about you? When and where you were born and raised? How old are you? How and why did you start doing photography? 

A: I’m 27 years old. I was Born in the Dominican Republic in the morning of the 31st of December of 1990 and raised in Mallorca, Spain.  My childhood happened between two separated islands in the Caribbean and Europe.

My father is Spanish and saw a business opportunity in the Caribbean.  He met my mother and there is where I was born. A few years after, they decided to continue to live together on another island, Mallorca. An Island of which I am in love. I grew up there and I made my life. Since young, I was passionate about drawing and painting so I consider myself a painter who found in photography the best way to express himself by capturing fractions of his daily life. I started photography early, by the age of 15 and since that, I’m always interested in experimenting with many styles like Landscapes, Macro Photography, Portraits, etc.

When I was 17, I started my photography studies at the design school of Palma de Mallorca. Those years helped me a lot to learn and improve my skills. But the real opportunity came when I went to live in Barcelona and started working hard in a fashion studio as an assistant and later as a photographer and video filmmaker, making fashion movies for Cosmopolitan and Pull & Bear. After that intense period and having acquired all that experience, I returned to Mallorca to work with a commercial local agency and at the same time looking for my own style and focusing on my art.

Interview with Oriano Nicolau

“Ghost” by Oriano Nicolau – 3rd Place in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2016

 

Q: Is photography your full-time occupation?

A: No, not at all, I’m also working in an Advertising agency as a 3D designer, making CGI animations for video Spots & Events.

Oriano Nicolau portfolio

“Hypnotic” by Oriano Nicolau

Q: Which camera bodies and lenses you use the most?

A: Canon EOS 6D/5D. 50mm 1.4. 28mm 1.8.  Sony Alpha 99II. 50mm 1.4/ 135mm 1.8

Q: Who and what do you like to photograph the most?

A:  Sebastian, the kid from the picture “Looking out” is the one I portrayed the most. He has great ability to give a great expression in every shot and he really enjoyed being part of this project. I’m really passionate about B/W landscapes photography and I feel lucky because Mallorca offers a beautiful rocky sea landscape to photograph. Landscapes that I use also as scenarios for my portraits of children and I reflect that in the series I was working Rocks & Skin. I really love Ansel Adams landscapes with this quality & textures. Is something I’m working to replicate.

Interview with Oriano Nicolau

“Looking Out” by Oriano Nicolau, Spain – 3rd Place in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2016

 

Q: Do you photograph often, or every day or you wait the right moment to happen in order to take your camera?

A: It depends, I photograph almost every day and every moment I consider relevant. I consider myself very patient so also wait for the right moment.

Interview with Oriano Nicolau

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q: What inspires you?

A: Family, love, and friendship is the engine that moves my art.

Portrait of a wet boy

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q: Who are the photographers that you admire?

A: I’m a very fan of Marinas Kazakova’s works. I think the way she manages to capture the youth, with this beautiful mysterious light & colors truly amazes me. Her photos are a great inspiration. Also, love Lee Jeffries homeless portrait series. I find they are powerful with this wonderful grainy W/B that tells everyday life stories. Chema Madoz, I consider him a poet of the image. I Love his ability to use objects to create a powerful, and sometimes tricky, images. Of course, my list goes on with Amsel Adams or Evgeny Mokhorev…

Interview with Oriano Nicolau

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q: If you didn’t win the lifestyle category on our contest and if you had a chance to take a role of the judge, who would take the first place in your opinion?

A: Is hard to choose since there are wonderful images! I love the photo from Kamila Celery-Kmiecik “Beginning of friendship” from Poland, that made Honorable mention, I think I show a very pure and warm moment between a boy and his pet, Or “Chamomile” by Tatiana Aygi, it has a beautiful atmosphere with the very texturized image. This would be a great choice for me.

Q: What’s your opinion on social media and how they impact photographer’s career? Do you think that social media maybe distracts photographers from art and creativity since it’s quite demanding and time-consuming?

A: I think social media brings a great chance to grow in a creative and professional way. People can find your work easily and is always comforting see their positive reactions. But you can also feel tired of them, creating the need to constantly post, and it becomes almost an obligation.  I think it’s good to take a break from time to time.

Interview with Oriano Nicolau

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q: Why is so important to enter quality photography contests in your opinion?

A:  I think is a way to get a recognition that you do not get in commercial works. A way to prove if your work is something that must be highlighted. It is great to know that your photos will be evaluated by professionals, it is something of great value.

Masters of b&w child photography

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q: Your favorite quote?

A: “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera”- Lewis Hine

Q: Principles in life you live by?

A: Live here and now. Learn every day. Every moment is a jewel. Fight for what you believe.

Interview with the winner of the lifestyle category at B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

 

Q: What would be your advice to other photographers?

A: Learning from others, is the best way to create your own path. Never stop learning and creating!

High dynamic range in bw child photography

Photo by Oriano Nicolau

Oriano Nicolau Website

Oriano Nicolau on Lens Culture

Oriano Nicolau on 500px

 

 

 

in Interviews
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Dear Marcel,

 

First of all, we would like to congratulate you one more time for winning the first place in the documentary category at B&W Child 2017 Photo Competition!

Q: Second Half of the contest was tough. We received a high amount of high-quality submissions. What is your personal impression of shortlisted photographs? How did you feel when you’ve heard the news?

A: Indeed. Submissions are really good. The first look at the photography (winner’s gallery) took my breath away. I don’t envy the jurors, it must be very difficult to choose from so many excellent works. The shortlist is definitely good. When I heard, in both cases, that I succeeded, it filled me with happiness – especially when I saw the work of others. It’s amazing to be part of so many great photographers.

Eastern European documentary photographers

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

 

Q: Can you tell us more how does it feel to compete in such a specialized contest? You’ve been entering our contest in both halves and your works were standing out in both halves of the contest. Can you tell us what’s  your expectation when entering B&W CHILD 2017?

A: This year was the first time I registered for your competition. At the same time, I never thought I would compete in child discipline. But the idea immediately approached me for the BW. I’ve never searched for photos of children, it always comes out from the situation. I realized that I actually have a lot of pictures of children and some of them have the potential to reach out. Honestly, I didn’t know that so many excellent photographers appeared in the competition and that competition has so high level. After the first round, it was clear to me that it was a competition of real talents. Success in the second round really pleases me, I feel it as recognition of my work. I appreciate that I was able to excel. Every time I submit photos in the competition, I expect a potential success. I know they have the potential to succeed. There are not “blind shots”. I believe them. I also know that success is not guaranteed.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph  “Train Girl”?

A: The success of “train girl” is very pleasing to me. Very nice memories are attached to the photograph. I took this photo at Colombo Fort train station. It was my last day on Sri Lanka after two months, I was waiting for a train for 2h. I’m sitting on a bench and a train with this beautiful little girl stops right in front of me. As the train was offering her for a photo. I remember her very well. She had a bright orange dress and the train was dark red. I immediately took 3 frames. Everyone had another expression. A little bit later, nut seller walked through the station. The girl wanted a package of nuts, her mother refused – perhaps because she didn’t have money, I do not know. I pulled out the last money and the bought three packages for her. She was excited, her eyes shining with happiness. The train was moving slowly, and she smiled at me and said in English “Thank you”. A truly beautiful memory.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

“Train Girl” by Marcel Kolacek – 1st Place in The Documentary Category at B*W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Q: This year, you were one of the runners for the Grand Prize on our contest. Judges were fascinated by the fact that you manage to incorporate brilliant composition, unusual angels, touching stories and pure technical brilliance…something we don’t see that often in documentary photography. That being said, please share with us your “secret”. We cannot wait to hear more about the way you see the world. How do you notice the unique scene, the decisive moment that is worthy of capturing?

A: That’s an interesting question. But I’m not sure I’m able to answer satisfactorily. I take photos very intuitively. I don’t  think too much. It’s an immediate reaction, communication. Everything is very fast. It’s sort of mirroring. If it wakes up my visual reflex- I react. It can be anything. Composition, an extraordinary moment, body language, beauty, shadows, and light. I don’t think if it’s the right angle or not. It’s a mix of what can awaken my attention – every photographer does it differently. I don’t think it can be learned – it’s about individual perception. Learn the basics of photography – everything else is just about how you perceive and see things.

Interview with the winner of documentary category

“Silhouette” by Marcel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in The Documentary Category at B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Interview with Marcel K

“In the yard” by Marcel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in The Documentary Category at B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Interview with Marcel K

“Laundry” by Marcel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in The Documentary Category at B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Q: Your B&W editing style is simply beautiful! If you don’t mind, please share with us some details how you edit your work and which software do you use for your edits?

A: Thank you. I don’t  use too much editing. I don’t like it. In my photos, I only modify what you can do in a photo room. Contrast, shadow, light, cropping – if necessary. Very basics. Editing doesn’t take me much time. I’m using the Lightroom, probably outdated. If you don’t edit your photos too much – you don’t need something modern or hi-tech program- and it is an advantage I guess.

Portraits by Marcel Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

Q:  Can you tell us more about you? When and where you were born and raised? How old are you? How and why did you start doing photography? 

A: I was born in 1983 in a small town (Chomutov) about an hour from the capital. And here I live. My interest in photography lasts for many years. I am into photography since I was 21 years old, but back then it wasn’t so important- it was an only interesting medium for me, nothing more- the real interest that culminated with obsession began when I was around 28. At 3 am I was imaging a fictitious situation, and I was thinking how I would compose, what lens I would use, etc. I knew that photography is my way of self-expression and self-realization. I knew I want be successful in the photography. At my thirty/thirty-one, I began publishing. Maybe it’s strange, but Helmut Newton was really the first one who open the doors of photography for me. He is the reason why I started shooting and thinking about photography. My first photos were Nudes. Over time, my primary interest in photography has focused on a completely different genre. I still take pictures of the nudes, rarely, but with enthusiasm.

Interview with Eastern European photographer Marcel Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

Q: Is photography your full-time occupation?

A: For the last half of the year I am freelance as a photographer, but after returning from abroad, I can not continue in full-time. I would like, but the documentary/street scene is very difficult today. Especially in the Czech Republic. Money can be found in sterile beauty, studio photography for magazines. Demand for documentary/reportage photography is very weak in this contrast. So photography is a half-time job in a classic way. But in my personal way is it 100% full-time job.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

 

Q: Which camera bodies and lenses you use the most?

A: I think the technique is overestimated. I have nothing extra-Nikon D5200. Mostly use two bodies with short lenses. Fixed 35 and 24. I don’t like long lenses, it’s impersonal. Almost cheating.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

 

Q: Who and what do you like to photograph the most?

A: Easy answer – people. I really like people and their moments.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

 

Q: Do you photograph often, or every day or you wait the right moment to happen in order to take your camera?

A: If I’m on the road, of course, I take pictures every day, taking the camera with me everywhere. At home, I don’t shoot every day, for example, I didn’t take pictures for almost a week now – it is a very long time. Usually, I have a break for two/three days. BUT – I pursue photography every day – reading books, studying a photo, watching all the resources that extend my knowledge about photography. Here is not a single day without a photography.

Documentary portrait by Marcek Kolacek

Photo by Marcel Kolacek

 

Q: What inspires you?

A: Old Masters. All classic photographers who were able to respond honestly and sensitively.

Q: Who are the photographers that you admire?

A: Really many. From war photographers to fashion photographers. I appreciate Czech documentary photographers – world’s top-  for example, Koudelka, Kratochvil, Cudlin, Kolar. I love photos of Cristina García Rodero-brilliant,  Fan Ho, Marc Riboud, Erwitt, List, Bresson etc. Magnum photographers are clearly my inspiration.

Documentary portrait by Marcek Kolacek

“Tailor” by Marel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in The Documentary Category at B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Q: How do you organize your travels? How often do you travel? How do you decide what country is going to be your next destination to document? How does those travel impact you as a persona and as a photographer?

A: I organize my travels very simply – I make money, buy a ticket and fly. That’s it. I travel as much as possible, I could be on the way nonstop. I travel for a long time – a month or two. I try twice a year. My choice is a purely emotional affair – it must attract me. I love Asia and the East, they have the atmosphere that I love, completely different worlds and that attracts me. My opinion may change every day. It’s always alive. I’ve always been tempted by hard conditions, it is much closer to me than comfort. Traveling and discovering new places naturally shapes personality. Grow as a photographer and as a person. That’s the impact of traveling.

Documentary portrait by Marcek Kolacek

“Window Boy” by Marcel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

 

Q: If you didn’t win the documentary category on our contest and if you had a chance to take a role of the judge, who would take the first place in your opinion?

A: This is a hard one. I was attracted by photographs “Innocence” by Yan Zhang and “Train Time” by Ana Fernández Quirós. I really enjoyed photography in the Portrait category – amazing stuff, an extremely good category. I have to mention the shot of “Safia” by Mahdi Eshaghi – beautiful work. This one could fall into the documentary category.

Q: What’s your opinion on social media and how they impact photographer’s career? Do you think that social media maybe distracts photographers from art and creativity since it’s quite demanding and time-consuming?

A: I think the effect of social networks is huge. Social media can help the photographer to great success – no doubt. The question is how you can use them. I don’t belong among the photographers who use social networks too much, I don’t even have a FB page with my photos. I use Instagram and Pinterest. Soc networks are amazing in connection and inspiration, but it’s a two-way street. If you watch too much work of others, you risk that you are losing your own creativity and view on the photography. It also has a second line – when you have a big overview of the work of others, it can literally depress you – out there are a lot of great photographers. You don’t have to know about all of them and you don’t have to know how they are taking pictures. It’s  important to keep your attitude to the photography and not to be influenced by the work of others. Protect your bubble. Protect your view of the photography.

Winner in the documentary category at B&W CHILD 2017

“Hide and Seek” by Marcel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half

Q: Why is so important to enter quality photography contests in your opinion?

A: Quality is important everywhere. It increases prestige and gives you the opportunity to stand out. First of all, it’s motivating for photographers for their future work.

Winner in the documentary category at B&W CHILD 2017

HONORABLE MENTION-“Girl With Balloon” by Marcel Kolacek, Czech Republic

Q: Your favorite quote?

A: The ability to move from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

“Girl in the corner” by Marcel Kolacek – 3rd Place in The Documentary Category at B&W CHILD 2017, 1st Half

 

Q: Principles in life you live by?

A: Work hard and be nice to people.

Interview with Marcel Kolacek

“Railway Girl” by Marcel Kolacek – Honorable Mention in The Fine A

 

Q: What would be your advice to other photographers?

A: Don’t buy a new photo equipment – buy a book about photography. It will give you more.

 

Marcel Kolacek on Instagram.

Winner’s Gallery B&W CHILD 2017, 2nd Half.

 

 

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Q: Hey Elena! We are enormously happy to have you here! You won The First Place in Lifestyle Category in the First Half of B&W CHILD 2017 Photo Competition! How does it feel to be the category winner on our competition?

A: I am happy and of course, it is very unexpected and pleasurable! This victory gives me confidence that I’m moving in the right direction.

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

A: It was our usual ‘family day’.  In the photograph are my children and our cat. The story had started as I entered the room after lunch and saw an amazing light and this inseparable trinity. I realized that it was going to be a great picture. I gave a command “Don’t move!” and ran to grab my camera. That’s how the shoot was done.

Elena Rusinova from Russia - 1st place in The Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2017 Photo Competition

Q: Please introduce yourself in 5 words.

A:Curious, emotional, irrepressible, sociable, cheerful.

Little boy sitting on a chair and looking trough the window

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

A: I’m 40 years old. I was born and raised in the Far East of Russia in Khabarovsk. I had a happy childhood and a freaky youth – I was an athlete, went to some extreme hikes surrounded by great people. I met my husband when I was 14. We’ve been together since then and now we have 2 children. My career as a dentist started 20 years ago. Many years Later I started doing photography as a hobby. I was taking photos of everything I liked. Friends started telling me I was good at it. I began to read photographic literature and to study works of the masters for myself. Also, I went to different courses and master classes. Ever since photography has become a large part of my life. I’m constantly trying new things. I do experiments, I learn. I’m just finding myself in photography.

Elena Russinova - Russian photographer

Q: Why photography?

A: Atmosphere of a place that surrounds me is really important for me. I always try to surround myself with nice looking things and to visit beautiful places. Photography let me see usual things from different corners and it also gives me a chance to express the way I see the world around us. Moreover, I often get the feeling that if I don’t capture the moment I am living in then the moment is not real. I’d say photography is my way of remembering things.

Interview with Elena Rusinova

Q: Do you photograph every day?

A: Usually, yes. During weekdays I take photographs with my phone and on weekends with my camera.

Q: What’s in your camera bag?

A: My camera, couple of lenses, water and a brush for cleaning equipment.

Lifestyle and documentary child photography

Q: How would you describe your style in photography?

A: I can’t say I have my own certain style, but I would definitely describe my work as documentary. Now it is a mix of genre, street, lifestyle and pictorial photography.

Pictorial photography by Elena Rusinova

Q: Do you have any personal favorites from the first half of B&W CHILD 2017? If you hadn’t won the lifestyle category who would?

A: I really like Natalia Kharitonova’s work. I would give the victory to her photo “Wind in hair”.

Lifestyle child photography by Elena Rusinova

Q: Who are your favorite photographers?

A: My personal favorites are Alain Laboile, Angela Bacon Kidwell, Izabella Urbaniak, Pedro Luis Raota.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I am really inspired by the smell of coffee in the morning, favorite music, right cinematography, children’s hugs, rain’s noise, art’s masterpieces and the sunlight!

Funny photograph of a child and the black cat

Q: What Would be your advice to other photographers?

A: I would advise them to try out different genres of photography, to get the knowledge of the work of masters, and not to compare themselves with others.

Oh, and the most important one – to photograph!

Interview with Russian photographer Elena Rusinova

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Uliana entered our contests for the first time in 2015 and back then she won the 1st Place in The Fine Art Category. She also received numerous honorable mentions. This year, she entered her work once again and she impressed our judges! This time, she was the best in The Portrait Category in The First Half of B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION.

Q: Hello, Uliana! First of all,  congratulations for winning the 1st Place in The Portrait Category in The First Half of The Contest! Tough category to enter and definitely a great success! How did you feel when you found out that you are the winner of The Portrait Category?

A: Hello. When the e-mail came, I was going to the kindergarten to pick up my youngest child. I was very happy! I Immediately went to your website to see the results of the contest!

Q: Please, tell us the background story of your winning photo?

A: It was a creative photo shoot. Prior the photo shoot, I talked to Lena by phone, she was telling me about her hobbies. One of her hobbies is collecting the plants for the tea. And when I saw Lena, her hair, sticking out like a dandelion, and this wonderful dried flower of a dandelion, the frame has already begun to exist. All I had to do is to press the shutter button on the camera and capture it.

Uliana Kharinova -st place in The Portrait Category

Q: After our last interview, we noticed that you entered and won a lot of competitions! What do they mean to you?

A: Any contest is a test of your strength. Photo Contests inspire you to do something unusual. It’s a great help in a creative stagnation!

Ulian Kharinova fine art child portraits

“Diana” by Uliana Kharinova – Honorable Mention in The Portrait Category at B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION, First Half

 

Q: What is the goal you are trying to achieve in your photos? How do you do it?

A: The goal is the same – to talk with the viewer about the person without words. To “talk” about his emotions, character, feelings, joys, and sorrows, about growing up.  I try to find the mutual language with my models and to “read it”.

Classic approach to portraiture in child photography

Q: If you had to use only 3 words to describe your work, which of them would you choose?

A: Model, sensation, moment.

Fine art child portraits by Uliana Kharinova

Q: How did you like the photos from the first half of B&W CHILD 2017? What are your personal preferences?

A: Every time I watch all the works of participants with a sinking heart. The photographs are just beautiful and inspiring. Some of the photographers I find really creative so I follow them on social medias. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for judges to make a final choice. All the photographs in the winner’s gallery are worthy of an award!

Interview with Uliana Kharinova

Q: Since our last interview…What has changed in your life and in your photography?

A: What has changed? I began to actively conduct online lessons in photography. I am very glad that my colleagues approached me not only from Russia but also from other countries.

And when it comes to my work, there have been changes since I experiment with the light. Previously, I was shooting almost 100% with the soft natural light while now I love experimenting with hard light too, I combine natural and artificial light, or I use continuous light solely.

Child photography by Uliana Kharinova

Q: How would you explain the growth of Russian photographers in 2017? Russian photographers achieved great results in our competition this year.

A: Yes, it gives me a great joy to see my colleagues from Russia becoming more involved in international competitions. I think this is connected with the growth of high-quality photography in Russia, and with the fact that they began to learn about the existence of international competitions. It’s great!

Documentary photography by Uliana Kharinova

Uliana Kharinova Russian photographer

Q: The best advice related to the photo you have ever received?

A: Take pictures of what you really like. Don’t be a slave to trends and fashion.

Uliana Kharinova -Winner of the portrait category at B&W CHILD 2017 PHOTO COMPETITION

Q: Do you photograph every day?

A: Unfortunately, no. I really want to give my favorite occupation at least 10 minutes a day, however, it doesn’t work all the time.

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

A: It’s definitely an inner feeling. I am very critical and demanding of my work. But when I am already on the set and photographing and after I take the certain frame, I stop, take a look on the camera screen and I simply know that’s it. I got the perfect shot.

HONORABLE MENTION in the Lifestyle Category at B&W CHILD 2017, First Half-“I no longer play with dolls” by Uliana Kharinova

Q: How do you feel about post-production, since there is a lot of talk about whether photographers should edit photos or not. How important the post production in your own work?

A: High-quality post-processing emphasizes the photographer’s idea. I always do it. In some cases, it is a minimal edit, while in others it can be quite a lot. But I always try to make in a such a way that looks natural or to look like something that human eye would naturally perceive.

Creative child portraits by Uliana Kharinova

Q: Do you have a quote that leads you trough life?

A: Not really a quote. Long, long time ago, a good friend of mine said that she needs to have dreams because her dreams were like a guideline and they would materialize. Every since then, I have a lot of dreams. Some of them already came true, and some of them are yet to come.

Uliana’s work in B&W CHILD 2017 Winner’s Gallery | Uliana’s portfolio on Photo Vogue | Uliana’s portfolio on 1x.com

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We are very happy to have a chance to speak today with a man who participated in B&W CHILD Photo Competition for the first time, and who took it by the storm! He won both 1st and  2nd places in the Fine Art Category in the First Half of B&W CHILD 2017 , his photographs left the judges out of breath. We introduce you to the Evgeny Matveev – the master of timeless child photography

Q: First of all, we want to congratulate you on winning the 1ST and 2ND place in Fine Art Category at B&W CHILD 2017, First Half! You participated for the first time in our competition. Did you expect to achieve such a great result?

A: Thank you for your congratulations! No, I did not expect such a result. I hoped to enter the short-list, but to be a winner did not expect!

Matveev Evgeny portraits

Q: Can you introduce us to Matveev Evgeny? What is your background? Where do you live? How old are you? Do you do photography as a full-time job?

A: I am 46 years old. I live in St. Petersburg, Russia. I’m engaged in photography for about 20 years (as a hobby). In last three years, photography has been my main profession. I’m currently working as a photographer at the Boris Eifman Ballet Theater.

Evgeny Matveev

Q: Can you tell us the story about Sasha series?

A: In Sasha, I was attracted to model’s hair, fragility, and her eyes. I arranged the shooting with the girl’s mother. A lot of photos were taken, both portraits and general plans, with the idea to show her fragility. Photo, where she lies in the grass (1 place in the category Fine Art), is  just about that. A small fragile person in the big world. Subsequently, I did a few more shootings with Sasha and all of them resulted in good shots.

Sasha by Evgeny Matveev

“Sasha 2” by Evgeny Matveev, Russia – 1ST PLACE IN THE FINE ART CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

 

Q: Who is Lera?

A: Lera is a gymnast. I spotted her at the sports competitions. I liked her look: a serious look of intelligent eyes. I also manage to organize the shooting together with her parents, and as far as I can tell – the shooting was a success!

Portrait of a young gymnast by Evgeny Matveev

“Lera” by Evgeny Matveev, Russia – 2ND PLACE IN THE FINE ART CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

 

Q: Do you have an official education in photography?

A: I do not have a special “photographic” education. I graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Film and Television as an expert in the processing of photographic materials. Also, as a teenager, I graduated from art school in the class of drawing.

Matveev Evgeny portraits

Q: Where and how do you learn photography?

A: As I said, I did not get a “special” education. But I’ve watched a lot of photos of classics photography, such as Avedon, Saudek, Horst P Horst, Sally Mann, etc. I read books, I try to understand why their photos are so good. What makes them so good? How do they differ from other photos I see? It doesn’t have to do anything with copying, I’d rather call it an attempt to understand what makes photographs amazing.

Evgeny Matveev - Child Photo Competition

Q: How did you get your start in photography? What were some of the most important things you found along the way in relation to the development of your photography?

A: I tried to shoot nature, still life… Eventually, I realized that the most interesting thing for me was to take photographs of people. It seemed interesting to show a person in the photo the way I see them. I tend to shoot different people. But for the last few years, I have been taking photographs of mostly young girls. Perhaps because I’m familiar with this subject in photography. I have been shooting rhythmic gymnastics and ballet for many years. I see the girls not only as they’re on stage or when they’re performing, but I also accompany them on long and exhausting training and rehearsals. In addition, they are still natural, they do not perform the roles that the “adult” world decides to give them. They are fragile. Some of them are looking at my lens with caution, some with a very free and artistic point of view. Some of them are trying to get close, someone – feels like on stage. Their fragility, prickliness … their beauty. In a few years they will become just  “like everybody else”.  Until then I’m trying to show that they are alive: without plastic glamour. Girl just as they are.

Matveev Evgeny child portraits

 

Q: How would you describe your photography in a few words?
A: Sight, Eyes, Fragility, Angularity, Elbows, Knees, Teenager, Alertness, Sincerity. Own world. An alien world.

Evgeny Matveev

Q: What caught the eye of the judges is your classical, almost painterly approach to photography.  What are your favorite art periods and movements?

A: All that can be defined as “classic.” For example, Irving Penn to me is much closer and clearer than Andy Warhol. I like to look at the picturesque portraits of Repin, Serov, Surikov. But at the same time, I really like theatricality and pretentiousness of “art nouveau” and “art deco” style.

Evgeny Matveev - Sasha

“Sasha” by Evgeny Matveev, Russia – HONORABLE MENTION IN THE FINE ART CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

Q: Who are your favorite photographers?
A: Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, Jan Saudek.

Q: What inspires you?

A: I can be inspired by the models –  their eyes, hair, their motion. Sometimes the atmosphere of places inspires me. And of course, inspires me and motivate me to work – photographs and pictures of the classic era.Evgeny Matveev

 

Q: What is in your camera bag? What camera body and lenses do you use?

A: When I go to shoot, what can always be found inside my bag, except for the camera is:
– Trash bag;
– Napkins;
– Paper tape;
– Dresses for the model;
– Water;
– An umbrella (yes, this is St. Petersburg! :))
A little explanation about the dresses: most of the models are photographed in dresses I buy in the “second hand” markets, in flea markets. When it comes down to wardrobe I always try to achieve timeless feeling, so modern clothes are mostly not suitable for my photos. And the models simply do not have the clothes that I need.

Evgeny Matveev - Eva

“Eva by Evgeny Matveev, Russia – NOMINEE IN THE PORTRAIT CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

 

Q: What about the lightning?

A: If it is possible, I try to use natural light. I love it very much, I love the sun – light, and shadow. But unfortunately St. Petersburg is not the best place to shoot in an open air and direct sunlight. For example, this summer the average temperature is + 16C, and for 25 days a month it rains and it’s cloudy. So I have to use studio flashes. But even when I am using them, I try to get the effect of natural lighting.

Evgeny Matveev

Q: What is your proudest moment as a photographer/artist?

A: For me, as for any artist, any attention from the viewer or the jury of the competitions is valuable. Especially if the jury pays attention to my work among other participants. That shows me that I and my models achieved something, so I’m going in the right direction. I also really love the moment when I get to tell the models that photographs we did together caught the eye of the jury. It’s a great pleasure to see them happy!

Masha - Evgeny Matveev

“Masha” by Evgeny Matveev, Russia – NOMINEE IN THE PORTRAIT CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

Q: Do you have any advice to offer us fellow photographers and artists about photography?

A: Councils are simple: see the work of classics (not only photos but also painting, movies). Analyze what you see, think about it. Try to understand why they are good and interesting. Communicate with colleagues. (In case your colleagues praise you all the time – find other colleagues!) Take pictures by yourself. Do not try to make one hundred different photos from one shot/angle, make three or five frames, but very well done. Pay attention to errors, reject and throw out the unsuccessful shots.

Matveev Evgeny - Russian photographer

 

Evgeny Matveev

You can see more of Mateev’s work on 500px!

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Jennifer Kapala is one of the amazing photographers that was part of our community from the very beginning. She’s been featured numerous times on our website and she has been recognized and noticed on B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION so many times so far, but this is the first time she became the category winner on this highly popular contest. Below, you can read the interview we did with Jennifer, get to know her better and her work.

Q: Hi Jennifer! We are so happy to have you here. How are you?
A: Thank you – I am honored to be here!

Jennifer Kapala

“Ripple Effect” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada–HONORABLE MENTION IN THE FINE ART CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

Q: You have been here with us since the very beginning of the competition and your photographs were well noticed many times in past years. However, this time you are the category winner! How do you feel about this? Did you maybe experience new kind of feelings? Did you expect to become a category winner?

A: I am absolutely thrilled and shocked to be a winner. What I have learned over the years is that you can never or at least you should never “expect” to win an image competition. All you can do is your best work and put forward your best images. In the end, the only person you are competing against is yourself and how you did last time.

Jennifer Kapala

“Illuminate” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada –
HONORABLE MENTION IN THE DOCUMENTARY & STREET CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half

Q: Can you tell us the story behind the winning photograph?

A: The image is a personal image I shot of my two youngest boys. Although they are close in age they are very different in looks and personality. So much so, people have a hard time believing they are related. My older boy is pretty independent and doesn’t like to admit he needs his younger brother, but that night I heard him ask his brother if he could sleep with him because he was scared. I went into the room later and saw them sleeping like that, so I quickly grabbed my camera. I was struck by how similar their poses were as they slept and despite many differences, there were similarities after all. It has a lot of meaning to me on a personal level.

Comfort by Kennifer Kapala

“Comfort” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada – 1ST PLACE IN THE DOCUMENTARY & STREET CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

Q: Would you be kind enough to introduce yourself to people who are not familiar with who Jennifer Kapala is? Can you tell us more about your personal background, education, things you like and dislike?

A: Sure! I am a multiple award-winning child and family photographer and the 2014 National Association Child Photographer of the Year I live in Calgary Alberta in Canada near the Rocky Mountains. I have three boys and a wayward pug who likes to get into all sorts of trouble. If I wasn’t into photography I would have picked up a paintbrush again.

Jennifer Kapala

Q: Why do you love photography?

A: I am attracted to many different forms of art, and used to love painting and black and white film photography. When I got older I stopped doing art for a while, but I missed it. When I picked up a camera again years later, I knew I had to keep going with it. It just felt right.

Jennifer Kapala

“Hidden” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada–HONORABLE MENTION IN THE LIFESTYLE CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

Q: When did you start photographing?

A: I used black and white film cameras all through high school and used to spend a lot of time in the darkroom, so a very long time 😉

Jennifer Kapala

“Joy” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada–NOMINEE IN THE LIFESTYLE CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2017, First Half

Q: You’ve done many workshops all over the world. What’s that golden advice you give to your students, related to photography?

A: Be intentional in all that you do. Photography is a blend of technique and artistry, so master the technical so its second nature and then show the emotion in your images. And practice a lot. Photography is a tough business so be sure to find people who are sincere and supportive. There is lots of competition out there, but there are also incredibly supportive communities too. Be selective in who you choose.

Q: You’ve stated on your website that you enjoy underwater child photography. How did the passion for underwater photography develop?

A: I love to try new things and was drawn to underwater photography for a while, especially as I love to swim too. I bought a cheap bag to try it out and was immediately hooked! It’s a very challenging form of photography and nothing like photographing on land.

“Night Swimming” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada – HONORABLE MENTION IN THE SILHOUETTE CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2016, First Half

Q: What camera body, housing, lighting, and lenses do you use for your underwater photography?

A: For my underwater work, I use an Ikelite housing, with my Canon 5D Mark 3. I use several lenses, but my absolute favorite has always been my 35 mm. I have started to play around with a LumeCube for lighting as well.

Jennifer Kapala Photography

Q: Who do you like to photograph the most?

A: I actually love photographing the human connection and love family and child photography the most. There is nothing better than being able to express what pictures are in my head and executing my vision.

Jennifer Kapala

Q: What do you struggle with the most in photography?

A: Black and whites! Seriously a great black and white is actually a very hard capture and I think that’s what always has intrigued me about it. There is such an art to it, and I am drawn to the simplicity and the way it causes the viewer just to slow down and pause – it removes all distractions from the photo so its elements are all that remains. And they better be great elements to work!

Jennifer Kapala

“Storm Watching” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada – HONORABLE MENTION IN THE SILHOUETTE CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2016, Second Half

Q: If you hadn’t won the Documentary & Street Category at B&W CHILD 2017, First Half who would have done it in your opinion? Can you tell us which photographs are your favorite from The First Half of B&W CHILD 2017?

A: That’s a tough one. There are lots of images that just took my breath away. I really loved the expression and sense of movement in Olga Fedorova’s picture “Trip”. I wanted to know more about the story and meaning behind “White Wind” by Milou Krietemeijer-Dirks who has some very interesting work. I just love Ulyana Kharinova‘s work as well – her black and whites are truly incredible!

Jennifer Kapala

“Awe at the playground” by Jennifer Kapala, Canada –
NOMINEE IN THE DOCUMENTARY & STREET CATEGORY | B&W CHILD 2015, Second Half

Q: If you could give everyone one piece of advice to everyone who plans to participate in the following years of B&W CHILD Photo Competition, what would it be?

A: Keep picking up the camera and trying. Keep pushing yourself to learn, grow and develop and put in the time.

Jennifer Kapala Website
Facebook Page
Instagram
Flickr

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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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