INTERVIEW WITH … Katarzyna Kubiak

Researched by Roberta Pastore


My name is Katarzyna Kubiak. I was born in Warsaw where I live. I am 31 years old. I work in public administration. I have two loves in my life: my doughter and photography. In the future, I want to photograph became our shared passion.

In my free time I walk around the streets and take pictures of people.

Photography is something that hasn’t been present in my life for a long time but now I feel it completely changed it. I am at the beginning of my photographic adventure, there are a lot of things I need to learn but I already can’t wait to do it.

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. When did you start a passion for the photography?

It may sound funny but I’ve been taking pictures since five months. Earlier, I had been photographing people with my telephone camera, not knowing anything about street photography. It changed when, one evening, I went alone to the cinema. I had checked what was played that evening. It was a documentary called Finding Vivian Maier. Shocked and amused, I was watching that movie, realizing that this is something I have always tried and wanted to do. It was amazing. When I had gotten back home, I started to read a lot about it and I also found a Polish association in which I was able to publish my works concerning street photography. More or less at the same time I sent one of my pictures for a photographic contest which I won. Unfortunately, it turned out that, due to the fact that it was taken by the telephone, the photo does not meet technical requirements and cannot be a part of the exhibition. This was the moment, when I decided that I had to buy a camera. I started showing my pictures, in the Polish group at first, later in others which were international. It came as a surprise to me but people really liked it. Also, I was awarded for the first portrait made by me on my way home from work, what was absolutely shocking. I have never before been interested in photography. The only pictures I used to take are those brought from holidays. I have never suspected that such an accidental thing will become my passion.

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What was your first camera?

If it comes to my first camera, I had to ask my friends for a piece of advice because I was a complete amateur. The only thing I knew was that I want the camera to be small and unobtrusive. What was also important was the good quality of photographs. It had to be perfect to take it on the street or wherever I go. After about a moth of doing research I ought FUJI x100s. Then I had to figure out how to use it but this is another piece of my story . Now I really love my camera! A few days ago I also bought an old camera that needs a film to take pictures. I do love the climate and atmosphere of old pictures. Maybe soon I will be able to show some of my work’s results.

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What is photography to you?

For me, photography is a way of expressing myself. Showing how i perceive the world, how I see it. We, the people who stand on the other side of lenses, fill a photography with emotions. This is why people then have a chance to find them interesting and emotional. We catch the moment, in which, according to us, someone or something is beautiful. It is a kind of magic for me. Photography cannot be forced, otherwise it makes no sense. I do not take pictures when I am not in the mood for it or I do not feel the moment. I always have my camera with me but sometimes it is good to know when to let go.

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Which masters of photography inspire you?

To be honest, I don’t know many masters of photography. I try not to be inspired by anyone but I am sure that the fact that I watch other people’s works, subconsciously influences what I do. I’m not very good at memorizing names. Of course I can recall some notable artists, but at this moment I wouldn’t be able to tell who is especially important to me. My favorite thing to do is discovering those pictures, that are somehow hidden and unnoticed, created by young and talented people, who, although unrecognized, could be my masters.

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What is the photo that struck you the most of a great photographer of the story?

That is a difficult question. There are a lot of photographs I found memorable. Every day I discover new ones, which I like to recall. I remember one picture taken by Vivien Maier but I don’t know why it was burned into my memory. The photo shows a portrait of the woman seen from her profile, who seems to be looking around to come across the street. She is beautiful, dignified, well-dressed. She is wearing something very similar to a pearl necklace. There are other people in the background. The picture is not very special or unique, but in some way it enhances my sensitivity.

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What is your favorite technique?

Is there anything like this? I do not use any specific technique and if so, I do it unconsciously

Why do street photography?

Street photography is something that I got completely involved in. Uniqueness of the moment. Lack of modeling, artificiality. For me it is also a way of escaping the reality. Moments that are ordinary but magical. What is more, I find it addictive and exciting as it gives me the rush of adrenaline caused by the fact that I cannot control the situation. Street has its own rhythm, its own life, I am just the observer, the guest of the moment. I never know what I will be able to photograph, who I will meet in the street. Many fascinating and splendid things are happening there, but we do not always notice them. What I love most are portraits, people’s faces. Those are the things that hide the most beautiful stories.

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What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

I don’t have my favorite picture but the one that I always look at with sentiment is one of my first photos called Milky Bar. Despite the fact that a long time has passed, I still enjoy it. Usually, I can’t bear watching my pictures after one week from taking them 🙂 “Milky Bar” shows a woman sitting in a bar, deep in her thoughts, what makes the impression of her being absent. There are people eating dinners in the background, and the shadow of character string BAR on the wall. Everything remind me of Edward Hopper’s paintings. I enjoy this moment. The melancholy, secretiveness. This is the kind of climate that appeals to me most.

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