Q: First of all, we want to congratulate you on winning our Monthly Contest CPC Portrait Awards! Can you tell us how does it feel to be a winner?
Thank you so much for such a great distinction. I am thrilled! Being a winner is a great honor for me – the moment when my hard work was appreciated. Thanks to this award, I feel fulfilled and proud of myself and my achievements.
Q: Can you introduce us to Monika Serek? What is your background? Where do you live? How old are you? Do you do photography as a full-time job?
Of course:). I am 35 years old. On a daily basis, I am a mother of two children: a girl and a boy and a wife to my wonderful husband. I started photographing when my daughter came into the world. It was 8 years ago. Since then I have been learning this field myself. Today, after years of learning and rehearsals, I run a photography company in Poland. I also teach artistic photography. I run maternity, newborn and children photography workshops in Poland and around the world.
Yes. Photography is my full-time job 🙂
Q: We cannot wait to hear more about the winning photograph. Can you tell us more about the model, concept, all the sweet and interesting details regarding how you created this artwork?
The idea for the winning photo came to me in August. I was just picking apples with my daughter. For a long time I have wanted to create a picture which will present a beautiful and innocent child in the midst of nature; suspended between being awake and asleep … A painting that each of us could identify with. I wanted to call this picture “return to innocence”, so this is what I associate it with. Apples are a symbol of purity and goodness for me. The child symbolizes a new life, renewal .. And because I have always loved photos taken from above, this perspective was obvious to me. I made a frame with a Tamron 17-24mm lens – standing on a ladder. Model – my 7-year-old daughter, I laid her on the ground in a fetal position. So that the symbolism of the photo was even more eloquent. In the end, I used the drama treatment to make apples and the child come to the foreground.
Q: Do you have an official education in photography?
A. Unfortunately not. Everything I know, I learned by myself. I trained and practiced days and nights. I’m an Electrical Engineering Engineer by profession.
Q: Where and how do you learn photography?
Mainly I was learning from Scott Kelby’s books, later from tutorials on youtube. However, the best results came from my everyday practice. I did not let go until I learned what I wanted. I did photographic projects for my and friends’ children. I did all these things just to learn as much as possible
Q: How did you get your start in photography? What were some of the most important things you found along the way in relation to the development of your photography?
When my daughter was born, I really wanted to make her nice pictures. I started to look for photographic courses online. Unfortunately, almost 8 years ago, there was not much on the internet. So I bought books and started photographing. I did not go to sleep until I learned what I wanted. I was very stubborn. Very soon, it turned out that photography is my love and passion. I photographed mainly children. They inspired me the most. Later, whole families, pregnant women and newborns appeared. After a year – when the first orders for a photo session began to appear, I opened my own photographic company. My husband persuaded me to set up a company. He is very supportive. The beginnings were not easy, but my determination won. I created my own style in the photographic world.
For the last eight years, I’ve mostly learned not to give up. To follow your dreams because they are waiting to be fulfilled. But the most important thing I’ve learned is to listen to my heart.
Q: How would you define your photography in a few words?
I would say that my photography is symbolic, magical simplicity.
My friends say that my heart lives in the Neverland 🙂 and that’s what I would like to show in my works.
Q: Who are your favourite photographers?
I think it would be hard for me to name a few. I love all photographers who can put their hearts into their photographs. Photographers that enchant me. For me, this is the most important thing.
Q: What inspires you?
Nature inspires me. Its beauty and innocence. I am inspired by the wind and what it can bring. I am also inspired by children, their emotions, their looks, and gentle gestures. Their childhood and authentic perception of the surrounding world.
I am inspired by beauty, its delicacy, and elusiveness …
Q: What is in your camera bag? What camera body and lenses do you use?
I use Body Canon Mark III. And in my bag, there are my two loves – Sigma 85mm 1.4 and Sigma 135mm 1.8.
Q: What about lightning?
From the very beginning of my photographic adventure, I love natural light. And so it has been to me to this day. I do not use blends or illuminations. I’ve learned to recognize light well in the outdoors.
Q: Your editing style is very recognizable as well. Do you edit photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop? Do you have some favourite actions/presets that you are using for edits?
Thank you. I use both Lightroom and Photoshop to process my photos. I love how they can complement each other. I process every picture from my hand. I do not use actions or presets that are not my authorship. I always really wanted to have my own unique style. I worked for a long time to create it.
Q: What is your proudest moment as a photographer/artist?
The happiest moment in my photographic life was a meeting with Kelly Brown, which I adore as a businesswoman and an artist. Kelly invited me to her workshop a year ago to Berlin. I was honored with her invitation and the fact that I could help her at the newborn photography workshops. Meeting her fulfilled one of my dreams.
Q: Do you have any advice to offer us fellow photographers and artists about photography?
I think the most important thing is to be yourself. You can inspire yourself and watch others but you have to find your own way in all of this. A road that will make us stand out, a style that will fill our heart. Only then we will feel fulfilled.
I also recommend that at least once a month one should do a session only for oneself, for your own development. To realize the wildest ideas. To go beyond the usual norms and templates. Only then will we be able to create a unique work.
I would also like to say that often we might have a doubt concerning the things what we do. We see the better ones and lose motivation to continue working, thinking I will never take photographs like that. I want to tell you that we all have doubts like that. This is normal and always appears before the next stage of our development… So, never give up. Never. Photography is a lifestyle. It’s a style full of colors, light, emotions, and passion. Only the chosen ones remain artists. Those who can see and feel more. That’s what I wish for you. Let us be artists.
Monika Serek on Internet: