My Best Friend and Studio Accomplice, Basia
Basia has been my best friend since childhood. We make awkward jokes to people meeting us at bars saying "I cut her umbilical chord".. its our way of saying we've known each other since birth, which is a lie.. but its close. It confuses people and makes us laugh. We clearly don't mind embarrassing ourselves.
Her oldest brother Peter went to kindergarten with my oldest, Marcin. Our parents met at a birthday party and its been bliss ever since. Her younger brother Michael is super good friends with my younger sister Monica. Our parents still hang to this day, and its probably been at least 100 camping trips that our families have done together.
Some Of My Earliest Photography Inspiration
Growing up, I was a very independent child, and with that, I would sneak and get into things quite easily. One of my favorite secret things to do was to spend hours looking at my parents' boxes of old photography. First of all, they were such babes. I was inspired by the fun they had and the fact that they captured these moments. It was these very photos that drove me to bring disposable cameras to elementary school, just to take photos of my friends, knowing that I'd love to look back on them some day (and this was before Facebook let's remember).
fg1. Christmas Bulbs. My Wujek Wojtek (pronounced 'Voo-Yek', polish for 'uncle), used to play around a lot with film photography and the darkroom. He used to send us postcards, and these are the faces of my three cousins in Poland (Marta, Maja, and Maciej, each a year apart from my siblings and I). fg2&3. Mom and Dad at Parties. They had a lot of fun in Uni in Poland, there are countless photos of their shenanigans with their friends. fg 4. Mon and Ciocia Ela (pronouced 'Cho-Cha', polish for 'auntie') on one of their many camping trips in Poland. They grew up going on trips with large groups of kids, and it stuck into adulthood and on. They are very beautiful.
Tata (aka Dad)
Amongst those countless shoeboxed photos, there were so many shots from my dads early travels in America. He immigrated over from Poland in 1982, where he explored and built his business as a computer programmer. He worked hard and saved enough money to both support and to help get my mom and brother over to Canada a whole four years later. The types of sacrifices that our parents had to make when they were our age are an endless reminder to cherish the countless freedoms and luxuries that we are so so lucky to have.
It was photos like this that also really influenced my urge to explore the world as much as possible. There is really something about the tangible image... all of these printed photos were major gifts for me, they spurred my imagination and taught me to give major respect to where my parents came from, and also to enjoy and document the small moments, because they are really therapeutic to look back upon later in life.
In 2009, we lost our dad to a strong fight with cancer, it hit our family hard, but we are doing great now and you can imagine how valuable these photos are for me. My dad loved my creative drive and I know he would be really proud to see me running my business today.
In 2008, I worked in Toronto as a photo assistant at Fuel Advertising (fig1.) and with Chris Nicholls (a very skilled and successful fashion photographer).. more then once, I was told something like this: "this job is amazing. I love my life, I will never leave this, which is why I have this one piece of advice: explore. Go out there before you can't." And I did. It was people's comments and books I loved (Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson), that really just pushed me to make my move six years ago. I moved to Calgary for a few years, then to Whistler, BC. In that amount of time, I visited Cuba, Hollywood, Thailand, South Korea, Bali, Hawaii, Mexico, and many others. My travel portfolio is filled with my favorite images from these trips.
And now I'm back. Western Canada is epically beautiful, extremely lush, laid back, and has a consciousness that I miss all the time. But what I missed most in those six years was my family. I've just moved back to Ontario this past August and I'm so happy to be spending regular every day quality time with the incredible people who know me best and love me unconditionally.
(images: Fuel, journey west, cliff jump glacial water, mountain hikes, rock climbing, Basscoast staff photographer, hiking to the hotsprings, Burning Man, back to Ontario).