We are incredibly honored to introduce you to Magdalena Berny from Poland. She is a part of the judging panel on our Second Annual International Photo Contest in B&W Child Photography. She will tell us more about herself, her work and hat she will be looking for in a “Winning photograph”.
Q: Hi Magdalena! Can you tell us more about you? Where you were born and raised?
A: I’m 39 years old mother of two, I live and work in Poland
Q: Same, old questions… but we need to ask you when you started doing photography? How it happened? Tell us more about this unbreakable bond: you&camera.
A: Photography was always present in my live but it became my passion when my children were born. They were and they are the cause.
Q: Your child portraits are so distinctive and highly inspirational to many photographers all over the world. Did you ever dream of becoming so popular photographer? Can you tell us how this fame happened?
A: I didn’t ever dream about popularity or being famous. I don’t even think I am. I just love what I do. Photography is my passion not profession. I don’t really know when my photos became popular. There was a time when I took part of photography competitions under the FIAP and PSA auspices, and few times I was a winner.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert? How does it feel being exposed to so many people and knowing thousands of eyes will look, ask, admire, maybe even judge the second you post your work online?
A: It’s not that simple 🙂 I’m both a little bit.
Q: Photographs of you with your children are one of the kind. Very artistic and different kind of family portraiture. How often do you take photos of yourself with children?
A:I portray me and my children when I need this. Sometimes this need is stronger sometimes weaker.
Q: Do your children love to model for you? Do they show interest in photography considering they are growing up in front of the lens?
A: First of all my children treat my camera as a part of my body . They know and understand that photography is important for me and what is really important – they are my greatest inspiration and the first judge. I always show them my work and ask them opinion.
Q: What are you trying to show, express and convey in your work?
A: My work are simple, quiet and there is a little bit magic in many of them. I want to show there is a magic in ordinary lives and the best things are the simplest ones.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Life. People. Places. Colors. Light – only that few things 😉
Q: Would you say that your work is more “planned” and conceptual or spontaneous? Tell us more about your work flow.
A: That changed as my children growing up. When they were small, I observed more and I was making more spontaneous photographs. Today, my works is more planned and some of my work is illustrative.
Q: Which photographers do you admire? Are there any photographers who influenced your work?
A: Sally Mann, Margaret de Lange, Julia Margaret Cameron, Diane Arbus, Jacqueline Roberts, Deborah Parkin and many others.
Q: We would love to ask you a few things about your photography business because we know it’s something many photographers would love to hear about. So, our first question would be: do you ever take commissioned work such as weddings, portraits of other people and their children or your work is purely fine art that you later sell as prints and books?
A: Yes I took few weddings in the past before I realized that weddings are not kind of work I can do in a right way. Today, sometimes I do a family, lifestyle sessions or child portrait.
Q: Where and how do you sell your prints and books?
A: I do not sell prints yet. My first book “Shades of Childhood” I sell by Blurb. Many of my portrait was used as a book covers.
Q: Galleries? Exhibitions? Yes or no?
A:Why not 🙂 It is great opportunity to show your work (on paper) to the wide audience.
Q: You had a chance to see our previous winners and finalists. What do you expect from The First Half of The B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2015? What you will be looking for in a Winning photograph?
A: In photography , I look for something special, hard to define. For me, good photograph must tell a story. It doesn’t matter is it a street shoot, documentary or planned portrait taken in studio, it must speak to me.
Q: Can you tell us why is important for photographers to participate in the high quality photography competitions?
A: Participating in photo contest gives an opportunity to measure values of our photography but we must remember that each member of a jury has its own criteria. My own experience confirms that photograph that won one contest can be left without prizes on the other one.
Q: For the end, can you tell us what would be your message or advice to other photographers?
A: Keep follow your passion and take a lot photographs, for me it is the best way to develop.