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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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Please introduce yourself in 5 words.

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

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz

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

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

Lifestyle child photography

Q: Why photography?

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

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz thw inner of the silhouette category

Q: Do you photograph every day?

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

Q: What’s in your camera bag?

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

Black and white child photography

Q: How would you describe your style in photography?

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

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with Anna Kuncewicz

Q: Who are your favorite photographers?

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

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

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

Creative natural light in child photography

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

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

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

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

 Anna Kuncewicz interview

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

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

winner of the silhouette category at B&W CHILD 2016

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

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

documentary photography

Social and Documentary photography by Ekatarina Vedenina

 

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

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

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

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

The best photos in the portrait category

“Dancing with the curtains” by Vedenina Ekaterina, Russia

 

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

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

Interview with Vedenina Ekaterina

Q: When did you start doing photography?

A:  About 8-9 years ago.

Real life situations captured by russian photographer Ekaterina Vedenina

Documentary photography by Ekaterina Vedenina

Q: Do you participate regularly on photography competitions?

A:  Not often, maybe twice a year.

Photos of children in rural Russia

Q: Why photographers you participate in high quality competitions?

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

Lifestyle and documentary child photography

Q: Where do you seek inspiration?

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

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

A:  Canon EOS, lenses  35 mm and 70 mm

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

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

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

Lifestyle child photography

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

A:  Make photography with your feelings.

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

A:  “Shadow boy” Monika Strzelecka, Poland

Russian photographer Ekaterina Vedenina

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Child portraits by Ewa Cwikla

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

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

Little girl and bird

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

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

Child portrait by Ewa Cwikla

Q: Emotion or technical side of photography?

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

Emotional child photography by Ewa Cwikla

Q:  How your typical day looks like?

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

Photos of children taken in forrest and nature

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

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

Fine Art photography by Ewa Cwikla

Q:  Are you a full time photographer?

A: Yes, since 1995.

Boy playing accordion

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

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

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

Serious portrait of a young girl

Honorable Mention at B&W CHILD 2015

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

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

Fine art child photography

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

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

Unique and bold child photography by EWa Cwikla

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

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

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

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

playing with sheets and shadows

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

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

kid suprisingly looks at bones of dinosaur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portrait of Anthony

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

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

Lifestyle child photography

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

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

"Click" by Karolina Wawrzyniak

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

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

Brothers hugging and laughing

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

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

home domestic atmosphere with kids

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

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

children enjoting childhood and playing outside

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

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

kids playing ping pong

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

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