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Interview: Photography Anna Kamińska (Poland)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I live in Poznań and I am currently running a small company, but I have done all kinds of things in my life: I was a journalist, spin doctor, coach, ngo employee. Today what matters to me are human rights and questions related to equality and combating discrimination. I am vegan, I have cats, and I spend my money on books, photography and travel.

How and when did you get into photography?

I was never really interested in photography. I liked looking at photos and I appreciated beautiful shots, but taking my own photographs never really appealed to me. Couple of years ago I happened to pick up a camera and photography became a part of my life.

I was always lucky when it came to people who worked with me. Patient and understanding models who “posed all by themselves” and helped me learn how to position a model, what to pay attention to, and how the body looks in different positions and shots. It was tremendously helpful for a beginner and I am extremely grateful for that. To this day I have the opportunity of working with people who I really like and value. I guess that the “chemistry” between the photographer and model is vital. Then, the photos “take themselves” and have this attention-drawing quality, which makes them more than just pretty pictures which we look at and forget right after.

What does photography mean to you?

Right now it’s a part of my life. I have no idea how come I hadn’t picked up a camera before, but maybe there is a time for everything. At first, photography was my relaxation. I’m a workaholic and taking photos was the only way I could calm down. Then joined the cats (I had only had dogs before) and this is how my life became better – photography and cats saved me from a heart attack.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I learn all the time and constantly struggle with the feeling that I can’t so something or that I’m not good enough. Crisis is actually my middle name. It came to a point where my friends, frustrated with my constant complaining, picked one day a week when I was allowed to complain about my photography :D The more I do, the more insatiable I feel. I want to try and face new challenges. At first, I only used one digital camera and now I am slowly shifting to films and polaroids. I would also like to learn new techniques, especially that I’m lucky to know photographers who do remarkable things. Watching them work, observing the entire process, both from the creative and technical perspective, is inspiring and educational. I am under the constant impression of being at the very beginning of my path and that I haven’t, in fact, done anything yet. This used to frustrate me. Now, I enjoy it because it means there is still a lot for me to discover. I would like to overcome my barriers and take more street photos, but now I feel like I’m invading someone’s privacy and, at the same time, it makes me sad to realize that so many incredible moments representing our reality remain unrecorded. Especially because I love old photos and I really enjoy watching the images of the world that is long gone.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Actually, everywhere. Of course, from images and photographs (I spend heaps of time watching photos), but also from films, music, and books. Sometimes when I’m reading I suddenly think that it would be a great shot. In general, since I started taking photos, I see shots all the time and everywhere. And since I usually don’t have a camera with me, I use the camera in my phone. This is why I’m glad that mobile photography starts being taken more seriously.

Studio, on location or both?

On location and ambient light before anything else. Studio bores me, maybe because don’t know how to use it to its full potential yet.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

It depends. Sometimes I have a clear idea of all the elements: styling, makeup, place, or shot. It also happens though that I only have a general concept and the session produces completely different things than I originally planned. I really like to work with people who have their own ideas. I like to follow them although, of course, it may happen that we have different esthetics.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

Photography is primarily a hobby to me. Sometimes I charge for my services. I have one book cover photo, among others, but I prefer the liberty which comes with being a hobbyist photographer.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

I haven’t had an unforgettable session yet. I remember all of them, especially those in which I had a really good time. The fun element is crucial for me and I always try to be in situations where I would be dealing with people I like and feel good around. I want them to feel cared for and have fun regardless of the effort.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

HA! Sony! I am definitely a huge fan of Carl Zeiss 85 mm lens. And also I began an adventure with analogue photography, so I mainly use a Rolleiflex 66SL camera (medium format), Minolta x300 (35mm) and Kiev-19, as well as Polaroid sx-70 and Instax Wide.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

I am not running a business as a photographer, but I do have a small company which is involved in various things. I think that it is important to have a professional website (I don’t have one but I’m a hobbyist :D) and remember to sign specific agreements. From what I hear from my friends, clients may be annoying and whimsical.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I like it a lot. I like the fact that many wonderful photographers have had an opportunity to showcase their work in it, which is why I feel honored by the invitation to publish my photos.

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