Q: Dear Mariola, We want to congratulate one more time on winning our monthly contest CPC Portrait Awards, December 2019! How does it feel to be a winner?
A: I’m quite moved and honored. Such distinction makes me feel certain that I chose the appropriate direction and now I’m following the right path. At the same time, I’m well aware that I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn.
Q: Can you tell us the story behind your winning photograph? How did you come up with idea for the concept?
A: My photographs are frequently the reflection of my state of mind and the need to do something just for myself. This photo was taken on 23rd April 2019 and it didn’t come out until December. I remember it was the second shoot with the participation of this unusual boy. This time I wanted to create the image which wouldn’t necessarily be classically nice, but rather something intense, gloomy, something creating a memorable impression.
I love combining nature with art and I often put it into practice in my works. The use of branches in my photo aimed at intensifying the perception as well as expressing my emotions.
Q: Can you introduce us to Mariola Zawada? How old are you? Is photography your full-time job?
A: I’m 40 years old. In the beginning, photography was a side occupation for me, a kind of springboard. But as of today, it’s a full-time activity. On the one hand, I do commercial photography which enables me to follow the profession I love. However, so as not to fall into a routine and monotony – I gave vent to my artistic soul and took up fine art portrait photography which I find most rewarding. It’s a form of meditation for me, I feel calm and relaxed while doing it.
Q: Can you share with us what was your most unusual/scary/awkward or the most exciting moment since you are a photographer?
A: I felt most awkward when I received my first commission for an artistic male nude. A few years ago it was quite a challenge for me… 🙂
Q: When did you start with photography? When did you realize it’s something you should do more seriously?
A: I guess photography has been always present in my life. Already as a child I watched my dad developing photos in his darkroom. It has fascinated me ever since. At the age of 27 I unexpectedly bought my first professional camera. At that time, I realised that the beauty of the world can be actually “frozen” in the frame. What is more, I discovered that you can communicate a lot by means of photography – it allows you to show your emotional condition, state of mind. As a result, I decided that photography should become an integral part of my life.
Q: Can you tell us more about your workflow? How much of your time goes towards working with clients and how much time you devote to your personal art projects and why they matter to you?
A: Commercial photography can be described as being seasonal. There are months when I devote more attention to working with my clients. During the remaining periods I have more time for individual art projects, which help me fulfil myself and therefore are so important for me.
Q: From your point of view, what makes a good picture?
A: A good photograph draws attention to itself, holds it for a while and remains in your memory.
Q: Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with which it is possible to take pictures. What do you think is the difference between a professional photographer and any other hobby photographer?
A: I think a professional photographer has a vision, an idea, an aim to achieve in his mind before actually pressing the shutter button. What is more, he develops his style over time which makes his pictures unique and standing out from hundreds of others.
Q: What, in your opinion, is most important to consider while shooting portraits?
A: The turning point in my photography career was to understand how important the mastery of light is. While taking a portrait, the key issue is the way of lighting an image and a full control of light.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I enjoy analysing and following the example of classics. I also draw inspiration from art, music, film and obviously nature. For me, it’s essential to remain open to the surrounding world.
Q: Your favourite photographers?
A: Annie Leibovitz and Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk.
Q: What do you think about child photography scene today?
A: Child photography is probably the most popular type of photography in Poland. We can boast of many talented child photographers and I think that high level is maintained.
Q: What’s in your camera bag?
A: EOS 5D Mark III, my favourite lens – Canon 85 mm f. 1,2.
Q: What about light? Do you prefer studio or natural light?
A: I’m fond of natural light but it isn’t always possible to make an outdoor photo shoot. That’s why I often use studio lighting, which offers the comfort of control and modelling light. It can be very effective as well.
Q: Any advice for other photographers who are entering our contest? Any tip on how to win considering your experience?
A: I would say we should try to convey our thoughts, desires and feelings to the image and that guarantees something exceptional. 🙂
Take plenty of snaps and don’t give up when things go wrong.
Q: Can you share with us some of your favourite photographs from monthly contest CPC Portrait Awards, December 2019?
Mariola Zawada Facebook
NEW MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST CPC PORTRAIT AWARDS, JANUARY 2020 IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS! YOU CAN ENTER IT UNTIL JANUARY 31st, 2020!