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Interview: Photographer Damian Gaworski (Poland)

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, I'm Damian. I'm 26 and I live in Warsaw. About a year and a half ago, I quit my corporate job to focus on photography and hopefully make a living out of it. Apart from photography, I like running, spending time with my friends and eating Asian food. I think I have a pretty laid-back attitude to many things in life, so it's quite easy to hang out or work with me.

How and when did you get into photography?

I actually started by making silly YouTube videos in 2008 when I was in primary school and only then switched to photography. I got my first DSLR in 2014, which my parents bought me for our trip to Prague. Those were the times when I started learning and exploring different techniques and taking every opportunity to take pictures of my friends, school events, and meetings of my athletics team. In 2018, I got my first job at a local studio as a retoucher and a photographer. There was a ton of work to do, so I had an incredible opportunity to hone my skills.

What does photography mean to you?

It can be many things, but to me, it's mainly an opportunity to capture some kind of mood. What I love about photography is that you don't need to use words to express an idea. It simply needs to 'feel' right. I also thoroughly enjoy the whole process of working on a shoot, from preparation through shooting, editing, and finally delivering the results, as well as interacting with people along the way.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I'd say it's a mix of lifestyle, portraiture and sometimes fashion or even beauty photography. I come up with different concepts and then try to express them in photos to evoke a certain feeling while also being visually pleasing. I like to play around with clothing, posing, props, and above all, with color combinations as well as different locations. My pictures are mostly about happiness and positivity. Sometimes I could call them dreamy, or at least that's how I see them.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Mainly from music and other photographers that I see online. I often listen to playlists on YouTube and get inspired by a combination of a photo or some artwork and the music that makes a really good fit. I often try to match the feeling of a song I'm currently listening to on repeat. A few years ago, Brandon Woelfel's photography was also a huge inspiration to me.

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

Most of the time, yes. I like to have a few ideas in mind before I shoot. It's usually the color palette, lighting, clothing, and a few poses or composition. After we achieve what we wanted, we get more spontaneous with the model and try to get creative on the spot. At times, however, when I just feel like shooting for fun on a given day, I simply go out with a friend and do it without any preparation whatsoever. It's much safer to have ideas ahead because the last thing you want is your mind to go blank during a shoot, but sometimes the unprepared shots end up being the best ones.

Studio, on location, or both?

Both, but I enjoy location shoots a bit more. I'm always on the lookout for new interesting spots. Speaking of the studio though, I actually have a mini studio in my 15 square meter room, but I only take pictures with my friends there. Even though I can get just as good results as in a big studio, I'd feel embarrassed to invite someone there, so I always rent one when shooting with new people. But to be honest, it's a bit awkward to handle equipment that isn't yours and I never feel fully comfortable with that, so that's something I'll have to work on.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I'd say I'm right now in this transition period when I'm trying to become a professional. I'm not a pro just yet, but hopefully, I'll become one soon. Right now, my focus is on improving my skills and getting my bills paid at the same time if possible.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

That would be the one I did with my friend at a fun fair last September. There were plenty of people, so it was a bit tricky. Before the shoot, we took a ride on a carousel. I was scared at first, but it actually turned out to be really fun, and afterwards, we started the shoot in high spirits. We had a lot of fun that evening, and in the end, we managed to capture the mood exactly how we wanted. Thanks, Klaudia!

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I use Canon, but I don't think it matters which brand you use. Right now, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART is my go-to lens. I'm simply in love with its bokeh and sharpness. Although, an honorable mention also goes to the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, which was my main portrait lens for many years. I know it's kind of common knowledge, but I think it's for a good reason and I'd like to just say that cheap 50mm lenses indeed do deliver.

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

I once heard that the best way to make money in photography is to sell your equipment. No, but in all seriousness, I think getting yourself out there and collaborating with other people in your area is probably the best tip to start building connections and getting more experience. Try to shoot as much as possible. I used to be really anxious about working with new people, but once I've overcome this barrier, I've seen huge progress.

What do you think of our new magazine?

It's amazing that you give exposure to the up-and-coming people in the industry. I've never done such an interview before, and I have to admit I really had a blast! Thank you so much for having me!

Model and MUA - Natalia Kouzmitcheva (@nkouzmitcheva)

Model and MUA - Dominika Grzesiak(@zaciesznie)

Model and MUA - Klaudia Łapot(@klaudia.lapot)

Model and MUA - Venetia Chan (@vee_itsmee)

Model - Christina Ncube(@_tamie_july)

Model and MUA - Klaudia Łapot(@klaudia.lapot)

Model and MUA - Anna Wiktorczyk (@a_nia_w)

Model and MUA - Alicja Koziak (@koziag)

Model - Zuzanna Klinger(@zuzaklinger), MUA - Klaudia Łapot(@klaudia.lapot)

Model and MUA: Klaudia Łapo @klaudia.lapot

Model and MUA - Łucja Baran (@lussis_)

Model and MUA - Klaudia Łapot(@klaudia.lapot)

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