The World Photography Organisation spoke to 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus Winner Natalia Wiernik. She shares her thoughts on photography as expression, her work process behind each image and her experience shooting some of her notable series.
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Why did you choose to study photography? What inspired you to choose this career?
When I started my studies I didn’t think that my diploma work will be realised in photography workshop, but photography has always accompanied me. I’ve never thought about making a career, I cared about realising quality projects that I’ll be able to present to a wider audience.
Why is photography important to you?
Photography for me is one the most important means of expression, it’s hard to explain. I know it’s possibilities and limits and it’s sufficient for me to realise my ideas.
For you, what are the key elements when composing a photograph?
Actually I never work in accordance with any instructions. In my opinion the most important thing is to have a concept of what you want to realise. At the same moment you have to be ready to make a U-turn with your work.
You have been quoted as saying that you “want to give the viewer something to think about”. How do you achieve this in your work?
Each one of my series has a text assigned to it, items and subjects you can see in the pictures aren’t accidental, everything builds a specific story that I try to present to the viewer.
Your series “The Protagonists” won the Student Focus Photographer of the Year title at the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. The photographs were shot to a brief asking for a series on ‘family’. What was the inspiration for the work? Have you always been drawn to strong pattern/design in your images?
I simply started working on the project by asking people that seemed interesting for me if they want to take part. Some of them I met accidently walking down the street; my role was to complete a scenography for them in the way that I could extract their individuality and to make the portraits look more characteristic and memorable.
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Image © Natalia Wiernik, Winner, 2013 Student Focus Award