My adventure with photography started quite long ago, but I have been taking photographs with conscious engagement for just four years. During this time I have learned how to use the possibilities which software programs offer to create my own imagined world.
Creative photography helps me in multi-stage work, and I do not limit myself to clicking the shutter. To this should be added the conceptual stage, the selection stage and the most beautiful for me, the production stage.
Several hours, or several dozen hours, spent on creating an image, or rather on photo manipulation, is a kind of purification for me, a kind of journey to my imagination, and this time gives me real happiness in the process of creating.
Most of my Dreams series photos are connected with dream subject matter—these are visions of the world which exists only in my imagination. People presented in my photos are entangled between something that is real and what is hallucinatory—encountered only in dreams. They ask themselves the question of whether the reality they live in is the author’s vision, or perhaps it is their own. The situation in which they find themselves is uncomfortable. Apparently, they feel like strangers in this sleepy reality, and they probably would not like to find themselves in this situation in a real world. Truthfully, I am often tired of situations which I observe in reality, so I try to imagine them as if they were happening in my dreams, as if my imagination would transform a real vision into a hallucinatory one. I create situations that might materialize in actuality, and I wait to see how my imagination and sensitivity will filter them so that for a viewer they become pictures straight from someone’s dream. In my imagined world there are often very prosaic situations, performed by ordinary people. My photographs offer a lot of possibilities of interpretation. I do not expect one proper way of understanding my photographs; I want them very much to be interpreted individually and separately.
Another aspect of the Dreams series is creation of a veil of secrecy. Dreams are similar to that secrecy — we know that they exist, most of us have dreams, and we have a general scientific knowledge about the dreaming process. However, the bigger problem appears when it comes to interpretation of particular dreams.
There are countless methods of interpretation and levels on which dreams operate, and so it is with my photographs — each image is a different story, which can be explained in any number of ways by the viewers. The photographs which I create have a common denominator— the dream — and I create my images upon these foundations. This gives me a wide field of possibilities to present the world the way I perceive it when I squint my eyes.
People I photograph are not professional models. In many cases, they are my acquaintances, friends, family, as well as people who like my photographs and wanted to be photographed by me. I really like working with people who do not have any experience in professional modeling. This challenge is definitely much greater for me because it requires a totally different relationship with an inexperienced model. Working on this series, I often had to explain the reason why I wanted to take a particular photograph. Then I described the project and everything connected with that particular image, as I had to inspire confidence so that the person could open up and start to pose the way I wanted. There is no objectivity or attempt to present the real character of the people who stand in front of my camera. I’ll turn beauty into ugliness and ugliness into beauty. I’ll let the beauty be beautiful and ugliness to stay ugly…let the mood decide the outcome. Several people do appear as subjects in my images more than once, because these are people who I like to collaborate with. Every moment of these sessions is an unforgettable experience in itself.
I am sure that I will disappoint those who are waiting for the information about what kind of equipment I use to create my photographs. I believe that equipment is only a supplement which helps us in work. I do not surround myself with several dozen lenses—I do not have one piece of equipment for this occasion and another one for that one. Whenever I talk about the equipment I use, I can see great curiosity in people’s eyes, and when I talk about what I use to create photographs the curiosity turns to disbelief. My first photographs (or trials) were made with a Canon 300D reflex camera and I used the kit lens which came with the Canon camera. Now I use a Canon 50D with a lens, with which I have taken most of my photographs—a Tamron 17-50/2.8. This is the perfect focal length for me because it gives me lots of possibilities. I have never used lenses with focal lengths bigger than 100mm. The equipment I have now fulfills my expectations, for the most part.
None of the Dreams series photographs was taken with the use of professional studio lights, but only with the use of a Canon 580 EXII flash, which I think is the best flash for Canon cameras available on the market. I tried to use available light as much as possible. If I could, and in many cases this was not possible, I would only use available light, especially when the sun gently peeps through clouds or fog sends delicately diffused light, which in an unbelievable way intensifies sleepiness of my photographs and creates atmosphere.
My images arise with the help of photomontage. I put myself into the role of a director of dreams, both mine and those of the people in the photographs. This technique allows me to interfere freely in the creation of the reality, as well as to move people from one landscape to another. It is a unique connection of technique and dreams which co-exist, creating the climate I desire.
My photographs are printed on Hahnemuhle 310g paper, 40×40 inches, in limited editions of 15 prints.
Product Resources: Camera: Canon 50D; Lens: Tamron 17-50/ 2.8; Flash: Canon 580 EXII; Paper: Hahnemuhle 310g.