“It is like making a movie sometimes, where few pictures tell the stories.”
To begin, what was your route to becoming a professional photographer? Hello! I am Bartosz, a Polish photographer living in London. My route? I remember first having film cameras like Zorka and Zenit and taking images of family and friends. It was an expensive hobby and it still is, but I always loved still pictures. Am I a professional? I don’t know, I just absolutely like all the process involved from idea in my mind to very end of post processing.
Few years ago, my friend told me why don’t I make a career out of photography…Since that time I started intense training, every day I seek something new to improve. And what I love about it, that after such a long time there is so much more to be learnt.
What do you like most about your professional life? What is it that interests you most about photography? Photography is defined as “writing with light”, and as a photographer I am a writer of my own stories. I like to do my own projects and visions, experiment with different light set-ups and meet interesting people who usually influence me as a person. It is like making a movie sometimes, where few pictures tell the stories.
How has photography influenced you as a person? Well, I found out that photography is something that I want to be good at and I don’t want to do anything else in life as for work. It keeps me motivated to challenge myself and to learn everyday. It changed me for good.
Do you remember your very first photo-session? What did you shoot? Years ago, I was asked to do a portfolio photo-shoot of a friend whom I was at University with. At that time I had a film camera. We spent few good hours in park and some at her flat creating some black and white images. I loved the effects we came up with. I think I still have prints from that day…
Having successfully defined a signature style for yourself, how would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it? Colourful, mixture of ambient light with artificial. The cheapest way to take pictures is to do it outdoors where is free. You don’t have to pay for studio to make images. You can practise anywhere and have different backdrops all the time.
Which would be the first few things you think about when you start shooting? I look for how the light falls at the place I am shooting, where to position the person in best possible spot to get effect I want.
Bartosz, what are your favorite type of projects to work on, and why? If you look at my images, 99% of my work are pictures of women. That’s is who I love to photograph. From portraits, fashion and sensual imagery, I like to see expressions that change the mood of pictures and create wow factor.
Are you the sort of photographer who plans for every minuscule detail or are you more spontaneous with your creations? Can you briefly describe your creative process behind the photographs? Spontaneous, if it is simple portrait photo-session. More planning involves in fashion imagery where outfits and locations have to be chosen to represent the vision.
How do you choose your locations?Is there anything specific that you’re looking for? Most of the time I look for leading lines that I could implement into composition of the image. Other thing is interesting bokeh (blurred background) for a portrait. Sometimes location is just very interesting like Lavender fields, so you build your photo-shoot around it.
What from your point of view makes the shoot successful? I used to think that every time I do a photo-session I need to have hundreds of very good pictures. After sometime I realised that I don’t need that. It is worth even to spend all day to have an image that you are proud of. Something that is worth more in your eyes than all the money in the world.
Can you explain some of the feelings you are trying to achieve in your photographs? Temptation, simple hand gestures, look in the woman’s eyes can change the photograph to achieve such mood. Loneliness is another subject in my imagery.
In your opinion, what is the key to getting the best out of someone? Conversation, getting to know the person’s personality and direct her/him to achieve good results.
What does “beauty” mean to you? Apart from pleasing face features is also a personality. I can call someone beautiful when I like the person’s soul.
Tell us more about your photography workshops. What inspired you to teach your techniques? At certain point of taking pictures you come to conclusion that you learnt so much and there is interest in your work. So how I can give my knowledge to people who want it? Workshops are one of the ways to do it. Another thing is that for certain photographers it is the only way to make money in that business.
I like to teach and in most cases I learn too during such days. What is more, doing workshops means that I do more photography and it fulfills the passion. I love it!
Who or what is your biggest influence in photography and why? Where do you find the majority of your inspiration? The biggest impact on my photography were works of Rey Mangouta. He mastered mixing ambient with artificial lighting and for me it was style and things I wanted to learn and improve at.
Everyday I see works of people that inspire me. From one it can be interesting new light set up, from other it can be perfect expressions or great retouching-technique.
Sometimes I look at others’ images, study them to understand the vision behind it.
How do you feel about digital manipulation and post processing being used in present day? And what do you think it delivers in the final image?Do you have any practical advice to give to photographers who are trying to master retouching for their own photography? Personally I love post-processing. I love the way today’s Photoshop can change an image. On other hand we should not forget what should be a message through the photograph and rely only on PP. Mastering retouching, I think is in details and hard work. I still learning it and after publishing an image, I look at it again and see what I would like to change in it.
Practise, practise and practise until you get to level you are happy with.
What role does social media play in your business? Quite big role, it is the market where you can find clients. I can showcase my work and find inspiration. I can easily connect to people I would like to work with and create new images. Sadly sometimes I just spend too much time on social medias and forget the real world. I really admire people who can live without it.