Her words are unambiguous, one of the finest contemporary art photographers I have recently come across. Meet Monika from Southern Poland. About her photographs, they are perfect translation of minds both positive and negative as Monika herself quotes. In this classic Interview with 121clicks.com, Monika opens up and shares a lot of her views surrounding arts and photography. Strictly monochromatic these pictures are sheer resemblance of creativity and art conscience. Read on and Stay Inspired..

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Could you introduce yourself?

My name is Monika Gawinowska, I live in southern Poland, in Cracow. A photo camera has been a companion of my solo wanders round the city for many years. My adventure with photography started over a dozen years ago. It began really simply with my favourite black and white films frames fascination. I graduated from the Hungarian Philology so apart from photography, literature is another important part of my life. It has guided me through the world of my imagination since I was a child.

Speaking about your photographs, most of them dark and stark. What do you try to convey through them?

For me, photography is a kind of personal self-therapy. I usually take pictures spontaneously and they result from the moment’s atmosphere and the image that my imagination produced. Many of them are inspired by strong emotions, both positive and negative ones. There are often really interesting stories of accidentally met people, smells and flavours behind some of the images. I am trying not to plan or design my photos. I take pictures of whatever moves me or seems curious. The usual time of my walks is when most of the Cracow citizens are at home. It makes the foggy, gloomy and crude city landscape even more oneiric, desolated, solitary and dreamy. It is also my favourite moment for walking and for thinking. These ate the occasions when I capture the last night’s dream or the moment’s mood in a picture. I like this mysterious form of communication. I often find a pinch of magic surrealism in ordinary day-to-day reality.

I am trying to show that apart from the colorful and retouched world full of consumption and chaos there is also a parallel world of our own imagination that allows us unlimited creativity.

Your gear?

Personally, I believe that equipment is not that important. For me it is only a tool, like a writer only needs a typewriter. I have been taking pictures with the same digital camera for years and I usually use only one type of lens. We have known each other really well, we have liked each other and we have not been restricting one another. Most of the cameras I am using at the moment were given to me by some people who did not need them any more. For example the old Yashica Mat 124 which is small and light so it is ideal for everyday walks. I am really fond of 6 x 6 cropping.

Can I say there is a bit of deep longingness and sadness in your photographs?

In fact, there is. I fancy the series Daydream a lot. For me longing is inseparable from melancholy. However, in everyday life it might turn into a feeling that keeps you stuck in one place and takes away the joy of the present moment. I am trying to release the feeling through the lens so that I do not transfer it into my family or professional life. I am fascinated by people I meet by chance, by their loneliness in a big city. An intent observer may notice that it is also the picture of my own voyage through ordinary days. The sadness that often appears in my photography frequently results from political or social conflicts, from the aggression of social media and the press. I often escape from it carrying a camera in my backpack.

Your Inspiration?

Actually, there are only few photographers whose pictures really move me. As a student I admired the spooky nocturnal atmosphere of the works of Brassai. He reminds me my favourite films, my teenage fascinations. I also like Fransceca Woodman’s stories.

I also greatly appreciate Josef Koudelka and his attitude towards life. He is a minimalist, a traveller with no need to be surrounded by numerous items and consumption. He is absolutely focused on art and all his requires are only few shirts in the wardrobe and his favourite camera.

What is more, I sometimes tend to explore photography carefully and sometimes randomly. A few years ago I was deeply moved by a Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński’s album. I am inclined to open the album at a random page and contemplate the pictures over and over again drinking my tea. Some of his works are really dear to me.

Due to my last publication in Creative Image Magazine, set up by Raghu Rai, I have been looking at many Magnum Photos pictures.

Most of your photographs are perfectly composed, how important is that trait for you?

Composition is not my top priority. However, when I take pictures I try to make the frames {crops?} as clear and simple as possible. I like minimalism nut only to some extent. What matters for me more are the mood and the photo’s atmosphere, as well as the story I want to tell.

One thing Monika has learnt over the years on Photography front?

I have learnt to be absolutely independent and free. And to believe in myself. I have met a number of people who tried to discourage me from photography and to clip my wings. They considered my hobby a waste of time and something unimportant. These are not the conditions where you can move forward and develop your story. Yet, when your desire is strong enough nothing can really stop you.

Photography allows me to become who I want to be. I feel free, there are no limits. It makes my wings grow.

One advice you would share to the aspirants in this field?

I am not convinced if I will ever allow myself to advise anyone on photography. According to me it is inseparably connected with the way how you perceive the world, your sensitivity, the way you see the world. I have no fear of life and I am not afraid of emotions. I sense the world in many dimensions. I let myself share all the human experiences: joy, fear, desire, lust, unrequited love, absolute happiness. For me the reality is multidimensional and incredibly mysterious. This is what I wish for to anyone who is looking for their own way in photography.

Your future goals?

I do not have any definite plans for the future. I still find a great, almost childlike delight in telling my story as I carry my camera in the backpack and in the same time improve my skills. I am not going to change this attitude in the nearest future. As I do not take pictures for money – I let myself be solely guided by the Destiny.

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

Monika Gawinowska - Fine Art Photographer from Poland

You can find Monika Gawinowska on the Web :

Copyrights:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Monika Gawinowska. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.

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