Interview: Photographer Tomasz Mazalon (Poland)
Can you tell us a little about you? Hi, my name is Tomasz. I'm studying Architecture but I mostly work as a photographer. I live in Gdańsk but I was born in Toruń. I strive to improve my photography skills with each new session.
How and when did you get into photography? I got into photography when my dad bought our first digital camera back in 2005. It was a SONY DSC-H1 which I took on a trip with my friends. After few hundred shots I was hooked. I took the camera everywhere, took pictures of everything, landscapes, bugs, friends, events. For my 18th birthday I was gifted my first DSLR - a Nikon D200 and a 50mm lens, from then on I was doing mainly portraits and later got interested in fashion photography.
What does photography mean to you? Photography is an outlet for my creativity. I find it highy addictive to work on an editorial. It's a very engaging hobby and profession. Thanks to photography I met many wonderful and talented people, some became my good friends. With one of them I started my own photography business. For a photographer I am very shy, but doing what I do helps me to become more open and engaging.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers. Many people told me that my photos are very minimalistic and elegant. I guess that's a big part of my style. I like to experiment but I'm cautious and still fall back a bit to that safe minimalism that everyone associates me with.
Where do you get inspiration from? Everywhere! For me to be able to find inspiration for photos in poems or music, in colors, shapes, even architecture or sculptures is amazing. It just gives you that creative drive. Unfortunately it's also curse! I have to choose which idea to realize, I just don't have the time for all of them...
Think you in advance what you want in the picture? If I'm doing an editorial then everything is thought out beforehand. Moodboards, location scouting, poses, make-up etc. I have a plan of what I want some of the pictures to look like, what mood they should be in. But during the session it often changes, you see something that wasn't there the first time, you notice the sun bounce of a window that you didn't see earlier. Maybe the model feels the mood a bit differently or has some cool idea... And you adapt. It's good to have everything planned but sometimes it's not the best idea to stick strictly to it.
Studio, on location or both? I prefer locations and more open spaces. I enjoy looking for new places for a photoshoot, some places were an inspiration for an editorial. Natural light can give the photos an unique look, and I love playing with shadows. In studio I like the full control I have over the lighting but I'd use it mostly for beauty or lookbook sessions.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional? I think I'm both. I enjoy doing it as a hobby. My own projects aren't so stressful, I don't have a client watching my every step and anticipating the end result. On the other hand personal work doesn't pay the rent!
What has been your most memorable session and why? Every session is an unique experience. New people you work with, new places, new styles. Some were normal, some were exciting and fun. Of course some went bad. All in all it's part of the profession and it's good to remember all of them, to see the good things and learn from the mistakes.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens? Nikon, It was my first proper camera and I like the ergonomics so I'm still using this system. For traveling I'd definitely prefer something more compact and light, but for the work I do it's great. My favourite lens is my old 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor. It was my first prime, I learned a lot using it, I had to properly think about my composition and move my whole body if I wanted to change anything. And it's pretty sharp!
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business? Start your business only when you're sure you have a few clients on the line and your income will be stable. And definitely have some savings in case you hit a dry patch. But most of all, don't be discouraged. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to become succesful, so always work hard.
What do you think of our new magazine? It's a great source of inspiration. Every issue gathers a lot of talented people sharing their amazing work and thoughts on photography.
model: Żaneta Kulik from BALINT, MUA: Julita Nowak, Style: Weronika Domagalska, Fashion: Patryk Wojciechowski