Meet Kamila J Gruss – The Winner of The Monthly Photo Contest CPC Portrait Awards, March 2019! She is an incredible artist, a mother, a wife with versatile education and career.
Q: Can you introduce us to Kamila J Gruss? What is your background? Where do you live? How old are you? Do you do photography as a full-time job?
A: I´m 33 years old. I was born and grew up in Poland. I studied and lived in Berlin, where I did my master degree in New German Literature, Spanish Literature and General And Comparative Literature Studies. At the same time, I studied German studies in Szczecin, Poland.
When my father fell seriously ill, I returned home and started working in a family business. To this day, I live and work here, with my husband Stephan and our two wonderful children.
Photography is my passion, my obsession, and my escape.
Q: Can you tell us more about the winning photograph? Can you tell us more about the model, concept, all the sweet and interesting details regarding how you created this artwork?
I met my model, Nadia, when one day, she visited our Wedding Dress shop with her mum, shopping for wedding outfits. I am usually slightly socially shy but when for the first time, I laid my eyes on Nadia. I knew I must make the World to see her through my very own eyes. I was mesmerized by some sort of magic, beaming out of Nadia. It’s very hard to describe.
Q: You are part of our community for years now and we have been following your work closely. This year seems to be the year of maturity when it comes to your work. It seems you focused more on portraits?
Since the beginning of the year, I have focused on the portraits almost entirely. Portraits precisely are they area, where the greatest improvement can be noticed. I trust, it’s that little boost of self-confidence gained, what made me brave enough to abandon my “safe shall” and stop resisting the urge of taking a photo of a stranger, for example. Since then, I became very curious of who’s the next person I will meet and get to photograph?
Q: Do you have an official education in photography?
A: No I don´t. I am just naturally brilliant’ it seems 🙂
Q: Where and how do you learn photography?
A: I have watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube, and there I have learned about PHLEARN and Aron Nace, he is the master in photo processing. I also love Creative Life courses. These various allowed me to look at the world of photography, through the eyes of Sue Bryce, Brooke Shaden and other miracle artists.
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?
I have started to learn my skills at the amateur photography enthusiasts group of Moms. There I have met other women, who wanted to photograph their children beautifully and consciously. Some of them, for example, Kinga Drazek, Karolina Piorkowska, Maja Lia, Ania Wibig, Anna Sas Milewska, I invariably and constantly admire. These days, those ladies conquering the world of children’s photography. We gave each other plenty of support and inspiration in the moments of gloomy doubt.
Q: How would you define your photography in a few words?
A: I am a creative photographer and a digital artist.
Whenever I have a minute I grab my camera and look at the world through the lens. I mainly photograph my children and I want to show our ordinary world in an interesting way. Every day I look for light and those ordinary or/and extraordinary moments.
I try to play with photography, often giving another dimension to normal scenes. Sometimes they are colorful like in fairy tales and sometimes very dark and whimsical like in Pan’s Labyrinth.
Photography opened my eyes and allowed me to see more of the world around us but also inside us. In the future, I want my children watching photographs to immerse themselves in their memories and not be able to distinguish the world of reality from the one they dreamed about. As you can probably see from my pieces, I paint this world not only for my children, I also paint it for myself and for the child who lives in me.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I find an inspiration everywhere: in literature, art, film, music, in smells, colours, in the light and in the dark, in paving or a drop of water.
Q: What is in your camera bag? What camera body and lenses do you use?
A: Canon 5D Mark III, canon 24-70 2.8, sigma art 35 1.4, sigma art 20 1.4 🙂
Q: What about lightning?
A: Until very recently, I have only been using natural light and no additional light sources. Lately, however, I have bought the flashlight and hoping to learn the magic of photography from this side.
Q: Your editing style is very recognizable as well. Do you edit photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop? Do you have some favorite actions/presets that you are using for edits?
A: I have started editing in the Lightroom but for a quite some time now, I work mostly in Photoshop. I love colors which Alien Skin gives and the possibilities the Nik collection allows.
Q: What is your proudest moment as a photographer/artist?
A: I have more but let me tell about 3:
- “Krasny Ludek” was in the final of Sony World Photography Awards 2018 in the open category: enhanced.
- “Reach for the peach” was selected as one of the best photos of the Year 2018 on National Geographic Your Shot.
- And today I´m so proud to be here 🙂
Q: Do you have any advice to offer us fellow photographers and artists about photography?
A: When you’re working on a photo, try to put as much heart as you can into it, emotions will trickle from your photos, onto whoever looks at them.
Q: Can you share some of your favorite photographs from March’s Monthly Photo Contest at CPC Portrait Awards?
A: Everybody was great that’s why this prize makes me so happy! If I have to distinguish one person, it would be Oliwia Major. I have observed her work for a long time and I admire how she creates her pictures. Her creations are so delightful, it is sometimes difficult for me to look away. She is fantastic!