Interview: Photographer Elżbieta Tomiak (Poland)
Can you tell us a little about you?
My name is Ela, I`m 26 and I`m a fashion photographer from Gdańsk in Poland. Nearly 2 years ago I made my dream come true and opened my own photo studio. Photography isn`t just my hobby but the way of life.
I`m co-working with Make-up Artist Magdalena Klonecka, together we create my company – Foto Elkinson, but privately we`re good friends as well.
How and when did you get into photography?
When I was 14 I got my first little compact camera, which I carried everywhere to photoghraph everything and everybody.
It was at my Art High School when I started to interest with fashion and models. School gave me good basic abilities, which later I had to develop on my own, then I can say-I truly started to photograph. It was about 7 years ago, and since then- I`m crazy about it.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me is a vsualisation of my thoughts, dreams so basically what`s in my head. I like to create unusual things, which may be interesting, disturbing or prompting reflection for viewer. That`s not easy in nowadays fast world.
Beside that photography is a time vehicle. We can turn back time, look at moments and feel emotions which made us happy in past. Finally– we can see again people who are no longer with us. I see photography as a powerful thing that stops time for us.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I just love fashion photography ! My favourite things are strong contrasts, textures, shapes and patterns. I like my photos to be exaggerated and unexpectable.. I often use colored lights to emphasize the climate of the pictures What describes my photos best are: models with atypical beauty, emotions, high contrast and a lot of colours.
I am still working on my own style in photography. I`m all the time trying to do different stuff. For example, lately We did a black and white photography. I`ve never really liked this kind of photos, but It turned out great ! There is no colour so You have to play with light and contrasts to emphasize textures. Who know, maybe It`ll be my new love ?
Where do you get inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from my surroundings and internet. I watch a lot of photos. Very often I see a theme on photography, and In my head I start to make a plan to show it from completly another side.
Most of my ideas come from quite unusual situation – I really love to ride a bus at night. Sometimes I spend few hours on the bus listening to music, thinking, watching people, looking at lights, adverts, posters, colours. That's when my brain enters into a strange state and ideas appear.
Think you in advance what you want in the picture?
I always plan a session, I just have a vision how photos are going to look like. I just make a plan in my head how the light should look and I consult make-ups with Magda.
During session then I let myself to be spontaneous. I still use my plan but during work there`s a lot of things that can change whole concept.
Studio, on location or both?
Most of my photo career I used to work outside. It was wonderful experience, but since I have my own studio I don`t go out a lot.
I just love the fact that I can make any photo with every kind of light and scenography with no worries about weather or temperature.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I think half and half. I'm passionate about photography and it takes most of my time - I can learn new techniques for days, plan sessions, retouch photos. I do a lot of sessions for myself, for free, it is a great pleasure for me and huge fun.
I decided that photography, apart from hobby, would also become my job, I do commercial sessions and I also enjoy it. I really like the moment when my photos help the customer to sell products and advertise the brand.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Each session is unique and there are many that I remember. There are groundbreaking sessions, difficult, easy, interesting, with cool people.
Perhaps the most memorable session was beauty with holi powders. Despite the secure we did, I found a pink dust in the studio six months after the session.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I watch a lot of photos from different photographers and I analyze them. I just learn this way. My works are often created from an idea that was created after seeing a photo - an idea that evolves, very often is completely different at the end than at the beginning. I do not like to repeat photos seen somewhere, I always try to approach the subject in a completely different way and it`s always a very nice challenge for me. I also like to brainstorm with Magda - we often have different views on certain subjects, and combining them always gives a great effect.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I have always been working on Nikon, I have never specifically tried to change the system, I do not feel such a need.
When it comes to lenses, I have my 2 favorites. One is the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8, which gives a beautiful, sharp picture and a wonderful background blur. The second one I'm currently photographing most of the sessions is a very old, honest Nikkor 28-105. It is dark, scratched, crackles a little and it`s over 20 years old, and yet it gives such a nice picture that I'm really in love with it.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start
their own business?
Above all, do not give up. You have to go forward, don`t look at others. Listen to people smarter than yourself, and those who criticize with no reason- don`t listen. The most important is self-denial and desire to strive for a goal. Above all, even if you reach a high level - you cannot stop. We need to develop further, try new things so that your work will continue to bring you joy.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I have a feeling that this is a great place for both- new people in the industry and old stagers. Looking through the editions, I was happy to read interviews with people who interested me with their style in photography.
In addition, I love the fact that the magazine does not make money on young artists. This is a big problem in the industry, where you send your editorials for free, and the magazine is being sold for huge money . In this respect, Modellen land is a role model for me.
Make-up Artist of the photos "Magdalena Klonecka" Read the interview here
Model: Martyna Marcinkiewicz
Model: Berenika Goldewska