Interview: Photographer Patrycja Szumowska (Poland)
Can you tell us a little about you?
It's always been hard to define myself in a few sentences, but I'll try. First of all, I'm a mother of two amazing girls, who give me love, strength and happiness in incredible amounts. As to my professional life, originally I was a lawyer, but when my kids were born, I started to realize that I feel too many creative vibes to spend my life in an office.
Now I'm a photographer and a producer of newborn photo session accessories, which is connected with my other passion, namely knitting and crocheting.
How and when did you get into photography?
It was a suprise to discover photography. It happened early last year, so I'm brand new. I owe a lot to my friend Natalia, who showed me how joyful and passionate it can be. Once I grabbed a camera, I never let it go.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is a journey you take. And by that I actually mean 3 separate journeys. The first one is getting to know the world around you, exploring it, cherishing it, and finally realizing there is still a lot to discover. The second one is getting to know other people, listening to their stories, sharing their emotions. You see that we are all so similar to each other while being so different at the same time. The third and the most important one is the journey into yourself. To find your loves, joys, but also fears, obsessions… To discover the deepest areas of your soul, as it's the only way to learn what your photos are supposed to convey.
Please briefly describe your photography style.
It's mostly fashion and beauty now. It's colorful and strong. I'm also experimenting with trash photography. On the other hand, I love sensual and nude photography, BW, catching light, the shape of a woman’s body. Taking that kind of pictures relaxes me, makes me feel free, because it’s a relationship between two people only, unusual connection and emotions. And portraits - people's faces - there is a whole world in a face! I love it.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Everywhere, literally everywhere. It's hard to describe, you never know what might be the trigger of your inspiration. Sometimes it's the light, the view, the smell or a book, somebody you've just met or passed in the street, the color, a painting, or somebody's eyes… Inspiration lays in countless places and most frequently it comes unsearched.
Do you think in advance what you want in a picture?
It depends. When I have a special order for a special brand – a lookbook or a campaign - and I have to cooperate with many people: stylists, makeup artists, hairdressers, models, assistants, then everything has to be perfectly planned and thought over. There is much less place for improvisation. When I make a reportage, I never know what's going to happen, so basically I just follow the action and emotions. When I create art, or I just take photos for pleasure to express myself, I have a wild spectrum for improvisation. On the other hand, it's often the case that a photo is already in your head and you just make it happen.
Studio or location?
Both. There is something magical in the unpredictability of natural light, but it is also a big challenge to create something unique in studio lighting conditions.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or paid professional?
Now I consider myself a paid professional.
What has been your most memorable session?
Do I have to choose? So many memories… I guess I have to say I’ve had two most memorable ones. One of them preceded this interview. It was big, it was challenging, shooting took about eight hours, but I had the most amazing model, one of my personal favorites, whom I also count as one of my friends - Marta Majchrowska. She is such a terrific girl, has great vibes, and every time I work with her, it’s pleasure and fun, and the results are perfect.
The other session was taken by accident. I visited my friends, also photographers, and they were in the middle of their session with models. It was a crucial day for me. I took only a couple of pictures of girls, but they came out so strong and meaningful. I hope they will soon be published.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
Fashion magazines, trying to understand how great people like Steven Meisel, Richard Avedon, Peter Linberg, Terry Richardson, Annie Leibovitz work and cooperate with the crew, and watching Grace Coddington as a stylist - it's madness what she creates.
Nikon or Canon?
Canon 6D, Sigma 35 mm - the most loved one :)
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer?
Be strong and determined. Listen to others, but always make your own decisions.
What do you think about our new magazine?
I love it. It's fresh, it's strong. I hope to watch its development.
Photography and styling: Patrycja Szumowska;
Model and make up: Marta Majchrowska
Hair: Nina winnicka
This was an editorial for Rastro.pl