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Interview with Magdalena Adamczak – The Winner of Monthly Contest CPC Portrait Awards, July 2019

12 mins read

Please welcome Magdalena Adamczak -Emerging child photographer from Poland and The Winner of our monthly photo contest CPC Portrait Awards!

Q: Dear Magdalena, first of all, we want to congratulate you on winning our Monthly Contest CPC Portrait Awards! How did you feel when you found out you are the Winner of our monthly photo contest?

A: Thank You so much one more time! It was a huge surprise for me – at first I couldn’t believe it, to be honest, I forgot that I sent photos to the contest and it took me some time to understand what I was seeing. I took part in the monthly portrait competition for the first time, I used to sent photos to the B&W Child Photo Competition before, but mostly to the lifestyle category.

“Steam” by Magdalena Adamczak, Poland
Honorable Mention at B&W CHILD 2019 Photo Competition, First Half

Q: Can you introduce us to Magdalena Adamczak? How old are you? What’s your background? How and when did you start doing photography?

A: I’m 35, I was born and raised in Cracow, Poland. I graduated from the University there (Serbian philology), but in the meantime I completed the Air Traffic Controllers training and since 2008 I work as an ATCO in Cracow Airport. As a teenager I used to take analog B&W photographs and then spend hours in the darkroom, but as I grew older, I stopped doing so. I was still taking photos, but it was nothing to write home about. The change has begun when my kids were born, I wanted to capture every moment of their life so I started taking more and more photos – better than average, but still not good. About two years ago I decided to take some online courses to improve my skills and since then I can’t stop, photography became part of my life like eating or breathing. I’m also a wife and mother of three girls age 3, 6 and 8, and they are my first and main models.

Q: We cannot wait to hear about the winning image! How long did it take to prepare everything for the photoshoot? How did the idea came to your mind?

A: I was on holidays in the countryside with my friend and her children and I wanted to take some posed, creative photographs (totally different thank my usual kind of work!), but at first I didn’t have a clear idea. I knew that I want to use face paints that I bought some time ago and match the pattern on the skin with something else, but it was kind of coincidence that it ended that way – this striped fabric I used is nothing more than beach towel hanging on the wall in the right place and time. First I painted my oldest daughter’s face, took some photos of her and then painted her friend Mila – amazing girl from the winning photo. I think that whole this painting, wrapping with towel and taking photos took maybe half an hour. The winning photograph was made using the natural light, my model was inside the fairly dark room and I was outside, standing on the wobbly chair and taking photos through the window. During the photoshoot I fell off the chair, but apparently it was worth it (and I managed to save my camera) 😉 This whole situation is in a sense a symbol of my approach to photography – spontaneous and without much planning.

”Striped” by Magdalena Adamczak,
Winner of CPC Portrait Awards – June 2019


Q: You are equally talented in many genres of photography – Portrait, Lifestyle and Documentary to name a few, which genre do you prefer and which one suits you the best? Which one is the most complicated to you and why?

A: You are too kind! Most of my photographs can be categorized as lifestyle or family documentary, that’s the genre that is closest to my heart and feels most natural. It’s just one of the things I do every day, no planning, no extensive thinking, just observing, capturing and of course looking for new ways of showing life, again and again. Typical portrait photography is something I have kind of love-hate relationship with, it lures me from time to time, but I don’t think I’m really good at it, also because I don’t like to spend much time preparing photoshoots and then editing its results. It’s also harder because my most often models – my daughters – really don’t like to pose for longer than 30 seconds.

HONORABLE MENTION at B&W CHILD 2018, Second Half – “Grannies Kitchen” by Magdalena Adamczak, Poland

Q: Are you more of a technical photographer or do you rely more on the editing? What can be found in your camera bag?

A: I treat my camera as an extension of my eye and hand, I know it well and use easily, but I would not call myself typical technical photographer. I’m editing 99% of photos in LR, but never spending much time there – it rarely takes me more than few minutes to edit a photo, and quite often it’s much less. I still can’t convince myself to use PS, I use it sometimes when I feel the result would be better, but to be honest in my type of work I don’t really need it.
Recently I switched from my old and trusted Olympus OM-D EM-10 to Sony A7III and I’m in love with this camera! I have three Sony lenses: 35mm f2.8, 55mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8.

Q: Child photography has been skyrocketing in the last few years and the community of child photographers is growing rapidly. How important is to you to be a part of that community? Are there any photographers you keep in touch with?

A: It’s important to me, my journey started in Polish community of photographing moms and I get a lot of good words, energy and power from other women – Aleksandra Wardzała, Ania Wibig, Agnieszka Mocarska, Emilia Wilgosz-Peter, Kamila J.Gruss, Iza Faber, Kasia Chaciewicz and many, many others – it’s impossible to name them all. I also get a lot of support from Thierry Vermeire who convinced me some time ago that what I’m doing is worth something.

Q: In you’re opinion what makes a good picture? What are the key elements a great photograph must have?

A : It’s hard to take really great photograph without good lighting, composition and tonal range – but that’s obvious. But there should be something more – perfect timing, striking moment, theme, emotional load – something that makes us look at the photo again, not letting us just go to another frame.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Life, mostly. My kids and their relations, plays, routines. Natural light, I love looking for the perfect way of capturing different kinds of lighting. Places, quite often I walk in the room for the first time and I know I have to take a photo. Other photographers, sometimes.

Q: Can you share with us what was your most unusual/scary/awkward or the most exciting moment since you are a photographer?

A: Maybe not the most awkward, but a bit strange for sure – walking backwards for whole hour and taking photos constantly, trying to avoid kicks at the same time. My older daughters (and me too) are practicing capoeira and this year I was their photographer during “Dragons Parade”, annual event in Cracow when the parade of kids, adults, giant handmade dragons, musicians and so on walks through the city center, and our capoeira group is there too, playing capoeira all the time without stopping.

Q: Do you have any photography idols? Someone you look up to when it comes to art and creativity?

A: I really love works of Alain Laboile, Niki Boon, Raquel Chicheri, Sally Mann. I also admire many of my fellow Your Shot Photographers – Monika Multan, Neelima Azad and many others.

Q: If you could offer one piece of advice to other photographers what would it be?

A: Don’t give up even if you feel that you are not good enough, that others are better, that some genres of photography aren’t for you. If photography makes you happy, go for it. Take as much photographs as you can, walk with camera, cook with it, shop with it, keep it within reach all the time, practice whenever you can. It’s not the only way of course, but it’s the one that works for me.

Q: And lastly, can you share some of your favourite photographs from Monthly Photo Contest at CPC Portrait Awards?

A: I love “Grampa’s Truck” by Kerli Sosi, this rusted car makes great background and colour control is perfect. I also like works of Anne Loos, Iris Valentina and Iva Kostova.

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