Interview | Aleksander Jezierski
About Aleksander and his work
“The Shadow Of The Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
It is the first book I fell in love with. I read it when I was 15 and I connected to the main character because I loved his perspective on the world. The plot took place in Barcelona and that inspired me to recently visit the city and discover the book’s magic through my own eyes.
Favorite thing to do besides photography?
Definitely being around people I love, to travel and eat.
I also like to play the piano and, even though I thought I would never say it, I do like to run.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I grew up in the Polish countryside, so being surrounded by nature is really important for me. I would choose to live in a place by the sea. I love the energy of the sea, its smells, sound and the way it captures the sun.
Blue. The colour of the sea and sky. Regardless, my favourite colour depends on context and use. In my opinion, colour and form are intertwined and dependent on each other. That's why I choose to shoot bnw when the form is most important and I want to emphasise the light and the shadows. I shoot colour to better portray the feeling of the frame, to transmit the emotions.
My first camera was a...
With the risk of sounding anti-romantic, my first shots were taken with
a Sony Ericsson phone. My first real camera was the Nikon D60. It was a gift and, in my teenage years, I was experimenting with nature shots in the countryside, animals, flowers, landscapes, as I was aiming to be a National Geographic photographer.
Favorite app to use?
VSCO app. I often use their filters to edit my photos. I also like that it builds up a community for amator and professional photographers together, people with a common passion.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Favorite place to shoot?
When and how did your journey as an artist begin?
I was lucky to discover early on that I want to do creative things. Crazy enough, my parents believed in me. My concept for myself was obviously changing. When I was around 10 years old, I took painting lessons. Back then, I was pretty sure I will become a famous painter, the second Leonardo da Vinci! I’m also left-handed, so there it was. With that belief, I attended the nearest city's art secondary school and art high school. There I got to learn principles of graphic design, photography, advertising etc. Thus, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to become an Art Director within the advertising industry.
With that feeling, I went to the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, the Media Art department. Back then I was 19 years old and it was an important time and place for me, as I developed my sensitivity and observation. That helped me to improve my photography skills. I changed my mind again and photography became my obsession. The way I express myself. The way I observe, feel and remember everything.
What cameras do you prefer to use?
I really enjoy to shoot with my analog cameras - Canon AE-1 (35mm), and my medium format camera - Pentacon Six tl. Shooting on film gives me better focus and excitement. But to be honest, I usually end up shooting with my iPhone since I have it with me everywhere. At the end, I strongly believe it doesn’t really matter what you shoot with. It is your sensitivity and perspective that matters the most.
What inspired you to pursue photography?
I think it was a lot of small things. From my father always taking his camera on our family holidays, my mom noticing and believing I actually might have a good eye for photography after my first miserable tryouts, to my best friend who also got into photography. I remember two moments when I strongly felt photography is something I want to pursue: my first real studio photoshoot and first self-developed 35mm film in a darkroom.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
I think it is my curiosity, observation and emotions, combined with everything that surrounds me that creates an uncontrollable visual kaleidoscope. It could be a person, colour, shape, movie, basically anything that raises an emotion in me.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
It’s a really hard question. To be honest, I don’t know. I feel that I shoot everything.
It’s challenging for me to categorise myself into some kind of style or subject. But if you know, please tell me!
What artists in your field have influenced your work?
Vivian Maier - I love the romantic idea of someone luckily discovering her amazing shots. Her street photography series, the way she observes life happening, uses the light in her compositions and illustrates her subject’s emotions are a source of inspiration for me.
Jacques Henri Lartigue - Despite his acquired fame through bnw photography, to me, he is a real role model in using colour to display emotions. There is a familiarity here: he combined painting and photography, which explains why colour is so fundamental for his work. His persona and energy are also inspiring:
“It’s marvelous, marvelous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I’m going to photograph everything, everything!”
What general process do you undergo to produce your work?
Usually, my process is structured before the photoshoot and super organic during it. I like to work closely with others that can develop ideas and experiment on set with me. Sometimes it can end up as a failure, but I believe that the faster you fail, the faster you will go forward. I also like to edit, do post-production on my own. It gives me full control
over my work. Regardless, I’m not the biggest post-production fan. Ideally, I manage to take a complete shot with the camera.