Interview by Stuart Crawford Photography by Piotr Glodzik
What made you want to become a photographer?
I started out in the field of photography about three and a half years ago. I wrecked my ankle while skating at a local park. This forced me to put rollerblading on hold for eight months. Fortunately, a few months earlier, my mate from the US had given me a used DSLR Olympus e-500 camera. Now I had the tools to carry on expressing my love for the sport while my ankle healed.
Was it an easy transition, from skater to snapper?
Rollerblading was such a massive part of my life, therefore there was a huge void to fill. I spent all of my free time figuring out the many functions of my camera and also familiarising myself with photo software on my computer. I would experiment with all kinds of different shots in various locations and of a range of subjects. Before long I was producing pictures for reports, product photos and architecture as well as my main passion, rollerblading.
Do you consider photography to be a hobby or a profession?
Photography is not cheap. After investing so much time and money, I decided I needed to make some money out of it. I started out on small commissions such as weddings and some small adverts and then things have progressed from there. It is sometimes hard to think of it as a full time occupation considering the vast amount of freelance photographers in Poland. Having said that, I am confident that photography will continue to be a big part of my working life.
Why action shots?
Extreme sports have always inspired me. Rollerblading, Parkour, BMX, Skateboarding and Snowboarding are all exciting and interesting sports to catch on film. All of them are challenging but also very rewarding.
What are the down sides of shooting extreme sports?
It carries with it a lot of responsibility on my part. If a rollerblader is ready to hit a 30ft drop and you miss it, there is not much chance of making them repeat the feat. A lot of tricks take a long time for skaters to mentally prepare themselves for so you have to be on your toes. I need to be concentrating the whole time that I am shooting. You also have to have very good instincts which I have developed through my own personal experience in the sport or similar sports.
Have you got any idols in the photography world?
It’s extremely difficult to pick just one. Obviously there are a group of photographers who’s work I admire more than others but I like to draw inspiration from anything and everything. Dave Hill, in my opinion, the undisputed champion of photo editing, Christian Stoll, Wes Driver and Adam Trzcionka are all incredible. I owe the most to Kuba Urbanczyk though. I met him early on when I was a complete beginner and his willingness to help and his great tips stood me in good stead for a career in photography.
Describe your methods, do you have a signature style?
I try to view as many pictures as possible from lots of different sources and in varying styles. I don’t just limit myself to sport photography. Becoming familiar with different photography areas, styles, editing and techniques helps a lot in my own development. I try to analyze things like lighting and the technical aspects of a photo and then try to imitate or incorporate it into my own work. Before publishing a picture I usually send it to friends and colleagues who are usually happy to give constructive criticism. It’s the best way to eliminate mistakes and improve the final product prior to publication. My personal mantra is, “Try to make a pic which is much better than the previous one.”
Have you got a favorite shot?
One of my favorite shots is a self-portrait taken in a seemingly abandoned shed! It’s not necessarily technically my best picture but the circumstances surrounding the image are both random and hilarious. It began when I was on a road trip with some friends and we stumbled upon this shed in the middle of nowhere. It looked great to shoot in so we ventured over to it. I prepared all of my gear and the model who was taking part in the shoot. We were waiting about for the perfect light when the situation suddenly took a turn for the worse. A local armed with pales charged in demanding that we left immediately. He was quite aggressive which prompted my model to leave but I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. Outside the shed, the argument was escalating, I decided to set my camera on a self-timer and start snapping a few shots. Soon the angry local was joined by an angry mob of locals who accused us of being some sort of religious sect! Eventually the police arrived and smoothed everything out and had a bit of a giggle while doing it.