While browsing some iPhoneography groups on Flickr, I saw some photos that stood out to me, and approached the artists about doing an interview. Michal Koralewski was one of the talented people I wanted to introduce you to. It appears I’m not the only one that likes his work, because just as I was writing this up, Michal found out that Instagram chose to add him to their suggested user list. Congrats, Michal, its well deserved.
Do you have any training in photography or painting? I ask because your composition is always excellent.
No, I don’t have any training in photography or painting. I’m a sociologist by education and a journalist by occupation. Neither has anything to do with photography or painting, but since 2005, I have worked as a part time image reviewer for different microstock photo agencies. I believe this is what helped me to improve my photography skills. If you review hundreds or thousands of photos everyday, you get a huge dose of inspiration and a great eye for composition.
That makes sense that viewing so many photos would help you recognize what works and what doesn’t. I always advise people to look at photos everyday, when they ask what they can do to improve.
Are all of your images edited only using the 4s?
All my mobile photos (Instagram, Flickr) are edited only with iPhone 4s (the oldest ones are edited with iPhone 3G). No other device involved.
Thats kind of amazing to me that you only use your 4s. I would think the screen is too small to do some of the editing you do.
What inspires you to create your images?
Usually I don’t have much time for my photography passion. Having two almost full-time jobs, and trying to be a good father for my three kids, takes a lot of time. I take my photos when I’m on my way to the office and later when I go back home. My time is so limited that I have to shoot the same areas. Walking through the same streets day by day makes you desperately try to find something new – a different lighting, distinct angle, etc. People say “push the limits”, so I’m pushing and pushing and look for new inspiration for my photography.
Social galleries, like Instagram, Flickr and 500px are great sources of inspiration for me. There are so many people around the world, who take such great photos! Landscape, abstract, portraits, street photography – you can find it all there. If you ever feel discouraged and lose your inspiration – social galleries are the best remedy I can recommend.
Walk me through the process of how an image is created. Do you have an idea in your head before you take a photo?
As I said before – the time I have to spend on taking photos is very limited, so I have to plan every detail of the shot in advance. I have a “collection” of my favorite spots I like to photograph, like an old brick wall on the other side of the street, an old red bridge near the XIV century cathedral, a line of colorful tenement houses on the old square market etc. When I go there I know I have only 10, 15, 20 minutes to make a shot, so I try to think about the composition and lighting before I get there. I try to take as many photos as possible and later, when I’m at home, I choose the best shots for editing.
I wish I had more time for my passion. I’d like to be able to wait for better lighting, find more interesting composition, get better exposure etc.. Unfortunately, I have what I have and I try to appreciate it. I love editing photos. For me it’s an integral part of making a photo, but also the most demanding, risky and unpredictable. Usually I start with cropping, leveling the horizons (Snapseed) and fixing any undesired perspective (FrontView). I really hate when the buildings on photographs look like they were collapsing on passers-by heads. After these basic corrections I remove unwanted objects (TouchRetouch). Sometimes it’s an electric cable, sometimes a trashcan, but sometimes I remove bigger objects – like cars, houses even people, just to get a composition I’m satisfied with. Sometimes I also merge the objects of two different photos (Image Blender). In the end I use Mattebox and Mextures to get the final cut. I’m definitely not a “reality photographer,” meaning I don’t try to record things as we all see them. I take photos on the streets, but I alter them later, and change reality into my own subjective vision of the world I live in. “Recording” is not enough for me, I prefer “creating.”
Asking yourself, do I want to take photos, or create them, is an important question for an artist. You can come up with very different images, if you decide you want to create, as opposed to “recording” as you put it.
About how long does it take to edit an image?
It depends on many factors – time, subject, my own mood and condition. Sometimes I only need to crop an image, which takes about few seconds, but usually I need about 40-60 minutes, for all the corrections and modifications. I have a dozen or so photos that took more than a day to finish. Sometimes, I spend all my free time on editing a photo, but if I’m not satisfied with the result, I put it off for another day. Different mood, and different weather affect my ability to create, because I’m terribly sensitive to weather. Sometimes it can be long, drawn out torture, other times it can be a 5 minute pleasure. It all depends.
Where can we see more of your work?
Before we list off all of the social media sites, I’d like to add that I’m a founder of “Mobilni” group – it’s the first Polish mobile photography group, besides local groups of IGers. We had a big exhibition last year, the next one begins on the 18th of January.
The smaller, English version of Mobilni