In this “Exclusive Interview” section, today we have the opportunity to talk with Ryszard Wierzbicki, as his photograph was winner of Photo of the Month – 27th Month, 1st Place. Let’s discover more about Ryszard, and his forays into photography in the following interview with him.
Ryszard Wierzbicki: I must admit that it is a great pleasure seeing my photo became winner for Photo of the Month. Especially this one, as it is one of my best photograph I have ever made in my life. This particular example shows the main features of my style. It represents the main topic of my photography fascinations: Children. Why Children? Partly because of my education background, which prepared me to work with Kids, partly because of my subconscious dream of having my own kids, and finally because I always find Children as best charming and rewarding for making Photos. Kids are always genuine and do not pretend, or act a role. They are very honest in their reactions, sincere and very authentic, what is not always possible to gain in pointing your lens on Adults. In general working with kids are pretty easy if you have the right attitude and like them. Having sweets, candies or small gifts in your pocket always helps to cause a smile of a Child’s face. And this Photo of mine is authentic proof of effectiveness of such an attitude.
Ryszard: This is indeed an interesting story. Me and my Polish friend nicknamed Larry were in the middle of our trip through India in July 2011, and landed in the city Ajmer in Rajasthan, in a small Krishna style hotel near the center. When we started a new day in the morning in front of the hotel by the entrance we met a very poor woman with two girls of age about 3 and 7. It turned my attention that girls were clothed in very dirty and worn-out clothes. Their hairs were shaggy and dirty. I have noticed a great opportunity of making good Pictures.
So I proposed the older girl to see the sweets being exposed behind the glass in a nearest stall in the doorway to the hotel. She decided to get 2 pack of cookies, one for herself and one for sister. We realized how hungry they could be. In exchange of cookies the girl allowed me to do 10 photographs of her lovely smiles. I already have decided to name the prized Photography “Smile for a Cookie.”
Ryszard: Photography is an inseparable part of my traveling passion. By making photographs while traveling, I can share my impressions of surrounding cultures and people with those who has less chance to see the places that I was lucky to see through the eyes of my camera.
As a teenager I remember my first experiences with Black and White pictures developed in the dark of occupied bathroom and rolling up films into korex under the blanket. My parents were always angry when I occupied a bathroom for the whole night, but they always loved to see the effect of my work in the morning. In my university years I was continuing doing Photos by color positives slides and started my first foreign and local trips. The real input into Photography passion gave me the other hobby of mine, Scuba Diving, which gave me motivation to explore new places and meet different cultures. That was a breaking point in my Photography Adventure.
Later, I started traveling more and more, mainly to Egypt and Croatia in the beginning. And then after my immigration to UK in 2006, it started to be more affordable to explore more distanced parts of the World, and there my real photography passion exploded. I started traveling, mainly to South-East Asia and share activities in between diving and doing Photographs. My first experience of portraying Children started when I joined the community of volunteers in Chiang Mai Wat Don Chan orphanage of 650 Kids, managed by Buddhist Monks. During 2 weeks among Thai and Burmese orphans, Kids started to become the main theme of my Photography Work.
Ryszard: Being born, educated and brought up in Poland I was influenced certainly by local mentality. Especially the region I am coming from Masuria featured my way of focusing my camera lens on certain aspects of reality like nature and local ethnic observation. This is an area of North-East part of Poland of beautiful landscapes, and is named “Land of Thousand Lakes.” Therefore my Photographic Eye was always focused on water and nature environment as a background to my Photos. Also my Eastern European roots made my attention more sensible for this non-materialistic side of people motives of acting. That is why People are always in the center of an angle of my Camera Lens. Pictures without people in the center are less valuable for me.
Ryszard: One of the most memorable photographs in my mind is a picture of a famous Polish film director Krzysztof Kieslowski, who fold finger of his hands in a Shape of film frame in front of his eyes. So, I always try to remember in my visualization how this picture would look like from the Viewer’s side. Keeping this in my mind allows me to focus my attention on all interesting elements of the picture I want include in a Frame. This is a difficult technique and not always successfully achieved by me. I realize that very often I have to approach personally to my subject, which could not be always interesting to everyone. Therefore I ask my friends for their judgments to keep the right and objective view of my photographic work.
Ryszard: I presented my photographs only locally in Poland in my native town Olsztyn together with my friend Tomek Rusak in a multimedia Library Planet 11 under the name “India Namaste.” There was an exposition and documentation of our best photos we have made during our one month trip through India in July 2011 (http://instanttravelling.ning.com). Apart of it, I did few private and small expositions on my friend’s venues and work places.
Ryszard: No, I am not actively involved in any Photography Organization. However I set up few profiles of mine on Photography forums like 500px, World Photography Organization, The Open or National Geographic (Polish Edition) filled up with a small choice of my work. As an effect of my Prized Photo of the Month I established a contact with an organization named Wonder Work (http://wonderwork.org) being specialized in Miracle Surgeries for Kids and donated my photography work to support their idea of helping children, who are waiting for surgery. Actually I am in a process of establishing my own travel website World Around (www.worldaround.pl), where you could find examples of my best photography in a course of the next month.
Ryszard: My advice for them is to choose one or two topics in their photography work, which are the most interesting for them, be determined in going forward with their achievements and promote your work in every accessible way. And I am sure hard work together with a bit of luck would be prized with an attention of a photography society like Light & Composition. I succeeded to do this with one of my best photo, “Smile for a Cookie.”
L&C: Thank you, Ryszard, for sharing your feelings and experiences with us.