Q: Dear Mariola, this seems to be a truly remarkable month for you! You won our monthly contest CPC Portrait Awards, January 2020 and Fine Art Category at B&W CHILD 2019 PHOTO COMPETITION, 2nd Half! Truly remarkable results! How does it feel to win so many awards for your work?
A: What can I say, I am just super happy, and very grateful for the appreciation of what I do. These types of awards, give me a good energy and faith to keep going and try harder. Cause I believe I can better, i just have to find the way to do it.
Q: It seems that everyone reacted deeply on your photograph “Fragile”. By everyone we mean our judging panel, but also photographers. When you posted this photograph in color version in our FB group, photographers shown nothing but admiration. Can you tell us the story behind this photograph and working with this model?
A: I’m happy that You mentioned the model, cause I think that big part of this award is for him .The photographer may have the most wonderful idea, but if the model is not able to express it with his emotions, the results of the work will be at most average.
The „Fragile” is a short story, expressed in a single shot, but it’s about something that affects each of us. No matter how strong we are, no matter how much we hide behind the mask „I’ll manage” there’s a piece of fragility hidden somewhere. We can fight this or accept it, we can love it or hate it, but we can’t deny that we have IT in us.
Our inner fragility can manifest itself as sensitivity, fear of the world, excessive empathy. But it can also lead to constant work on ourselves, fighting against adversity. Paradoxically, it can give us strength if we do not give in to it.
Fragility is considered a weakness, but perhaps it is the source of our strength ?
Q: Can you tell us more about symbolism of butterflies?
A: Since childhood, the butterfly has been associated with delicacy. It could not be caught or touched because it would violate its protective barrier and lead to death. It would seem to be the most fragile creatures in this world…but.
They are everywhere ( except in the Arctic 😀 ) Almost everyone is enchanted by them.
Some butterflies do not eat or drink. They only live… …love. They are beautiful, majestic and free – people have been delighted with their uniqueness for years.
So what do you think will happen if we see our inner weakness and fragility as an exceptional butterfly? Maybe this part in us will also delight ?
Q: You are part of CPC Community for years. It’s been incredible experience to watch your photographic journey and growth. Can you share with us what role CPC had in your photography journey?
A: Yeah that is true. I’m with You for Years 😉 This is my fifth award you’ve given me and I’m very grateful for each one. I think You are great community that shows, how many great photographers there are on this world. Thanks to such communities I have constant motivation to be better. I can admire the talent of others and discover new photographers from faraway parts of the world.
Q: From very beginning (at least since we are following your work) you’ve been drawn to conceptual photography. Can you tell us how your work evolved through years?
A: I have been a photographer for almost 6 years now, so probably some kind of evolution took place. 😉 . I started to run workshops, including foreign ones, and I opened up even more to new opportunities offered by cultural differences. But anyway……
Frankly speaking (referring to butterflies) I have no idea if I am still at the level of a larva or maybe already at the cocoon stage. But I hope that this is not my last ( butterfly) stage yet, because it would mean that I won’t live long 🙂
Maybe the working techniques have changed, I also started working in the studio. But one thing hasn’t changed. I still think that patience and humility is the basis.
Q: We would like to know more about your mental process since that’s something that makes you so unique and set apart from others. How all this functions really in your case? Are you randomly inspired or you are constantly in the inspirational flow? Also, do you first mentally create photograph and then finalize it through the actual act of photographing or is it all very spontaneous?
A: „Set apart from others” ? Thank You so much for those words, but trust me, I dont feel I really am. Maybe that’s the point, I don’t feel special, so I keep trying. I look for inspiration and motivate myself to develop further. I think its more randomly inpirations than constantly. It depend where I am, what do, what I have within arm’s reach. Most of my concepts coming out from new gadgets that I have.
When I say gadgets, I mean the usual things I’ve just come across on my way. Sometimes it’s a big piece of paper, sometimes it’s cotton wool, sometimes it’s a mirror. These aren’t unique things and yet they give a lot of possibilities. Sometimes the idea comes first, then the search for additions comes second. There is no rule, because in this kind of photography it is hard to put something in a stiff frame. You have to be open and spontaneous and at the same time have a plan and know what you want to achieve. It is such a creative chaos that you sometimes have to let yourself take control.
Q: Where do you find inspiration? Inside of you or is it maybe an external influence?
A:I’m sorry, but once again, I’m not gonna answer that question clearly. If you’re open, you’ll let yourself be inspired by what surrounds you. Sometimes you will be inspired by nature (interesting leaves, old branches, etc.) and sometimes you will be inspired by your inner emotion, the experiences you have experienced, the good and the bad. In photography you have to use everything. There are no limits.
Q: Do you scratch or write down your ideas or do you keep everything in your head?
A: Yes, I try to do that, especially since I have hundreds of ideas and sometimes I forget some of them.
Drawing is a great exercise for the right hemisphere, which I also talk about in my workshops. It helps not only to plan, session, fix ideas, but also to exercise what is most important. Creativity.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a perfectionist? If not, how would you call that drive that makes you being better and better and combining so perfectly ideas with exquisite technical execution?
A: Omg, I love You guys. You are so nice 😊
But I’ll say one thing in answer to that question.
I feel so imperfect, so I just keep trying and not giving up.
Q: At this point of your career, what percentage of your work is a personal project and what percentage is working with clients, everyday people, families?
A: I still work with clients and take commercial photography and the most beautiful thing is that more and more of my clients are interested in conceptual photography. They also want to touch this little unreal world. In a full season (spring-summer) 80% is working with clients. In winter I have time for myself and my own projects, which make up at least 50%
Q: We assume you are a very popular photographer in Poland? How this reflect in your private life and career?
A: 😊 People recognize me on the street, but only on my street 😉
Seriously speaking, sometimes somebody will point out, “You won something again,” but otherwise nothing changes, at least in private life. I still have to cook, wash and clean, pay bills and taxes. Somehow nobody wants to do it for me 😉 ( Of course I’m joking )
As far as my career is concerned, a lot has changed. There are customers coming to me who respect my work. Sometimes from a distance, regardless of the kilometers, and that’s beautiful.
Often these clients mention that they have been looking for someone like me for a long time, and then I don’t even know what to say, because what they say is beautiful and that’s what I dreamed about a few years ago.
Q: How do you feel about social media nowdays?
A: Interesting question. I think it’s not easy, and it’s certainly harder than it used to be. For sure groups like yours help us – photographers to show our works in a wider circle. That’s why it’s worth using it.
Q: Can you share with us what equipment do you use in your work (camera body, lenses and lighting)?
A: I work with Nikon Z6 or Nikon D750,and 135mm lens. In studio I use Quadralite Atlas studio lamp and 85mm, or 50mm.
Q: How often do you work in studio and how often outside or with natural light?
A: During the peak season I works mostly outdoor with natural light. In the winter time I work fifty/fifty- studio and outdoor.
Q: Last few years, we can see so many emerging Polish child photographers. How would you describe current Polish photographic scene? In your opinion, how it happened that Poland has so many talents?
A: You’re absolutely right. There are more and more great photographers in Poland, because they use great workshops 😉
And here I should praise my workshops, but inborn modesty does not allow me 😉
But actually there is the truth. People learn faster because photographers like me share their years of experience. And for example if under my wing get someone ambitious, who knows that after the workshop you have to work on yourself, it will become good in a very short time. Besides, Poles are very hardworking and that’s half the success.
Q: What photographs left huge impression on you in the 2nd Half of B&W Child 2019 Photo Competition?
A: Omg it’s so hard question, because I love almost all of them.
In your competitions I love this diversity. I can admire the pictures I probably never took, which are beautiful in their simplicity, and admire a completely different fresh look at the world of children. I love almost all the documentary &street shots, but I was most impressed by the photo “Eyespy” by Mandy Pack. Perhaps because it reminds me of my own trip to Africa and thanks to this photo I can almost smell and hear the laughter of these children.
Besides I really love the first place photo “Half full or Half empty” by Skye Taten, It is so brilliant.
And Of course I have been admiring the works of Marysia and Krzysia Slowinski and Kamila Gruss for a long time.
Q: Any advice for photographers who are reading this interview?
A: I think that everyone who survived to the end of this interview should be rewarded 🙂
And if they had enough patience to read it all, it means that they have enough of it to work on themselves and their talent every day. Because it doesn’t matter how many workshops you visit, how many inspiring interviews you read, but what matters is how much effort you put into what you love, in your photos.
Patience and constant training are the basis of every success. And a bit of courage will also come in handy.
Some people wait a long time to show the world something. There’s no point in waiting. You have to act now. Because there will never be a perfect moment. Now that’s the best time to try and take a chance and show us your picture. 🙂