JANUSZ KAWA – PHOTOGRAPHY Interview
Birthday: Leo, Chinese zodiac- Rooster
College: The School of The Art Institute of Chicago
Favorite Color: Yellow like the sun, and blue like the ocean and the sky
Favorite Book: Mikhail Lermontov’s “A Hero Of Our Time”
Favorite Movie: Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Nostalhgia”
Favorite Food: Asian, Sushi, Seafood
Favorite Quote: The Greeks used to say:”There is not a short life or a long life. There is only the life that you have and the life that you have is the life that you are given, the life you work with. It has it’s own shape, describes it’s own arc and it is perfect.”
For how long have been in photography?
Over 25 years
How did you start?
I started photography when I was in grammar school, I was 14 years old. A friend asked mine asked me to join a darkroom club and ever since then I was in love with photography.
How would you define yourself as an artist?
I think being an artist is about transcending reality into one’s dream and then communicating that to others.
Where do you find inspiration?
Film has always been my great inspiration. Also novels, poetry and painting inspire me greatly as well as – people and places.
Is Brainstorming not the only creative method used to create new concepts?
Experiencing a place and its people can bring about an emotional response; and that response can create the vision for a concept. Traveling gives me a lot of new ideas.
Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology?
Fundamentally for me there is no difference between analog and digital technology. One still needs a concept and content to create compelling images.
The only difference is that one is shooting “digital film” and uses the digital darkroom to process it.
What type of camera do you use most?
I use mostly Nikon and Hasselblad
What is your favorite lens?
Nikon 58mm F1.2 & Hasselblad 120mm Macro
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I was on assignment to shoot Placido Domingo in Vienna for a CD cover, and becasue he’s such a huge celebrity no one was really sure that how much time he would be able to give for a shoot. (I was made aware by the Art Director that on another photo shoot in the past he walked out after 10 minutes). I had to pre-light 3 different sets on-location similiar to a movie production to be able to whisk him from one set to another seeminglesly. In the end I was able to shoot with him for a couple of hours non-stop with total energy. I overheard him say to someone on the shoot that I was like a trainer in a cage with a tiger never losing eye contact until I decided to let go. I took this a compliment.
What are your favorite three images you have shot recently?
The nude triptych “Into the Future” that I shot in Normandy, France
How important is an awesome website for your business?
I think today the website is very important, but at the end the client always looks at the content which are the images themselves, not some special web effects.
I like a simple, clean end easy-to-navigate design.
What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have?
Communicative skills, patience, a critical eye, and not to take oneself too seriously
Did you work for lnternational brands? Which ones?
Comme de Garcon, Vogue, GQ, New York Times, Rolling Stone, English Marie Claire, French Cosmopolitan, High Fashion Japan and others.
Did you work with Top models? How was your collaboration with them?
I’ve worked with many top models and I’ve always had an easygoing, work experience with them. I found them most of them to be very down-to-earth and genuine. They were always very professional.
Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction?
Shooting my own artistic projects always gives me the most satisfaction.
List of your clients?
Berdgorf Goodman, Barneys NY, Sony Music USA, Polygram France, Virgin France, Lee Hunt Ass, Artichoke Design, Random House,Young &Rubicam
Best and worst experience?
I can’t think of the best experience as every shoot is really different. As long as it goes smoothly and looking great it’s the best.
Worst experience – Once I had an editor that made the whole team upset starting with the hairdresser and make-up artist who walked out in the middle of the shoot. The model also was in tears and I was the verge of walking out myself from the set. It took all my composure to finish the job.
Who are the photographer’s you admire the most?
I like very much the work of Alfred Stieglitz, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Ralph Gibson, Josef Kudelka. And for Fashion photographers- Peter Lindbergh, Guy Bourdin, Deborah Tuberville and Paolo Roversi.
What about architects and designers?
Architects- Frank Gehry, Isamu Noguchi, Yoshi Taniguchi. Fashion Designers- Jean Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamaoto, Comme des Garcons
What are your next projects?
I’m working on a nudes project that I shot in a steel factory in Mexico. I’m also planning to go to Asia and to create more work of the human figure in the landscape. I would like to find some really interesting places to shoot.