Interview: Photographer Roland Okoń (Poland)
Tell us something about yourself.
My name is Roland Okoń from Wrocław, Poland. I have been professionally involved in photography for eleven years. Previously, I worked as a graphic artist and musician.
How and when did you get into photography?
I realised quite early on that in order to be happy in life – to be satisfied, to some degree – I had to be involved in some profession which gave me the opportunity to express myself creatively. It’s what gives me the greatest satisfaction. When I was working as a graphic designer, it hit me that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life staring at a computer screen – that’s when I began to think of finding some more fulfilling occupation.
What does photography mean to you?
For me, photography is a purely aesthetic experience. Specifically, I’m referring to the type of photography I pursue.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
In my photography, I seek (the) perfect composition and proportions. Although my photographs remain within the category of what can be called “classic” photography, I try to find interesting perspectives and strong tonal contrasts, wrapped in rich texture. My goal is to leave the viewer with a sense of hidden secret, provoking questions and stimulating the imagination… hopefully. Naturally, the main theme of my work is human beings, woman, the beauty of the human body.
Where do you get inspiration from?
When I pick up my camera, I turn into a different person, my personality changes – it’s like I flip a switch and turn off the rest of the world. I work automatically – almost in a trance – searching. I would say the process is like the state of mind you get into when listening to your favourite music.
Do you think in advance what you want in the photograph?
Sometimes ...it’s an initial starting point. But ultimately, I usually end up with something completely different than what I first envisioned. It’s a natural process for me. One I’ve come to accept.
Studio, on location or both?
I live in Poland, so in summer – location, in the winter – studio.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
It’s how I make my living, so I would have to say professional.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I’m usually focused on the last photo shoot I‘ve done, but looking back, I would have to say my most vivid memory is of a shoot I did in the Canary Islands, the surrounding scenery was simply breath-taking – and I admit, I was secretly very pleased with the final outcome.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
My greatest source of inspiration is getting to know my subject – the conversation throughout the photo shoot...the opportunity to glimpse the soul of a fellow human being through the lens of the camera. The hidden energy is what I require to do my best work. It’s what gets me up in the morning; that and coffee.
Nikon or Canon? Favourite lens?
Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm, 50mm
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
You have to work longer hours and better than your competition. But don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I have to say it’s a brilliant idea for promoting genuine, good photography. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to appear on its pages. Thank you!