Q: First of all, we want to congratulate you on winning our Monthly Contest CPC Portrait Awards! How does it feel to be a winner?
A: Thank you so much, I’m honored and very excited.
Q: Can you introduce us to Karolina Leszczyńska – Urbaniak? What is your background? Where do you live? How old are you? Do you do photography as a full time job?
A: I come from Poland from the city Łódź. I have became interested in photography since I was seventeen, so it was a long time ago 😉 I started with analog photography and I spent long hours in the darkroom. But photography became my full-time job only 5 years ago.
Q: Can you please share with us how did you create the winning photo “Icon”? How did you get the idea for it? How long did it take to create it? Where did you find costume, model?
A: When I was a kid, I traveled with my grandmother to places where the Mother of God is worshiped. There where many wonderful paintings and a huge inspiration for me. It worked strongly on my childhood imagination. So I think from that moment my fascination with icons begins. The model Natalia was the obvious choice for me. We’ve been working together for four years. She’s wonderful.
Q: Your entire submissions to this contest got really noticed by the judges. Can you tell us how did you develop your style and how long you are into the photography?
A: I have been involved in photography for over twenty years, but for the last five years is a full-time job. Only for several years my style has been evolving and it is a continuous process.
Q: Do you have an official education in photography?
A: I completed postgraduate studies in photography in Poland.
Q: Where and how do you learn photography?
A: To a large extent, I am self-taught. Experience is very important. I have been dealing with photography for over twenty years so along the way I’ve learned a lot.
Q: What were some of the most important things you found along the way in relation to the development of your photography?
A: The most important step was when I started photography as a full time job. As they say: Practice makes it perfect. Also meeting with my favorite Polish photographer Kasia Widmańska was super important. She convinced me to be true to myself in my work.
Q: How would you define your photography in a few words?
A: People often called my photography magic. It is very nice; however, I don’t see any magic. I hope it is varied and sometimes interesting.
Q: Who are your favorite photographers?
A: My favorite photographers are: Paolo Roversi, Eugenio Recuenco, Anni Leibovitz and Polish photographer Kasia Widmańska.
Q: Where do you seek inspiration for your work?
A: I seek inspiration everywhere in my life, in art, nature and people.
Q: What moves you in life?
A: My family, specially my husband and my son. I’m sensitive to art (paintings, theater, film, music) and nature.
Q: The quote you live by is?
A: I don’t have a special one but I have a poem which is very important to me. It’s a poem of my favorite American poet Edward Estlin Cummings : “dive for dreams or a slogan may topple you..”
Q: What is in your camera bag? What camera body and lenses do you use?
A: I work with Nicon body and Nikkor or Sigma lenses, I specially like 85 mm and 50 mm.
Q: What about lightning?
A: I normally work with natural light but sometimes I use artificial. It depends on a photo.
Q: Do you edit photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop? Do you have some favourite actions/presets that you are using for edits?
A: Yes, I edit my photos in Lightroom and Photoshop. I didn’t use any action. Every single photo I edit in unique manner.
Q: What is your proudest moment as a photographer/artist?
A: I think it is every moment when audience say they were moved by my photos.
Q: Do you have any advice to offer us fellow photographers and artists about photography?
A: Yes, don’t be afraid to express only yourself in photography, don’t follow the trend.
Q: Can you share some of your favourite photographs from June Monthly Photo Contest at CPC Portrait Awards?
A: My favorite are: “Yes I am” by Gennaro Marano from Italy – the girl form photo is so confident and cute at the same time and “Mursi child” by SVETLIN YOSIFOV from Bulgaria, great lighting and interesting topic.
Q: In your opinion, why photographers should participate in high-quality contests?
A: You can check how professionals perceive your work and how good it feels when you win 😉
Q: Any advice for photographers who are considering to take part in a photo contest?
A: Don’t think about it, just do it!