Magda Wasiczek - Floral and Macro Photography | EIZO
Tell us your story – what made you take up photography?
My way of looking at the world, and later of photographing it, stemmed from a fascination with painting. I’ve always liked drawing and painting, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to study it at a university. While I didn’t pursue a career in painting, I still had a deep-seated need to express my artistic passion in some way.
You could say I’m a child of digital photography. I’ve always loved taking pictures, but I only learned to do it in a more conscious manner 12 years ago. In the beginning, photography was my escape from reality and a way of recharging my batteries. As time went by, it slowly became my job.
You’re a woman, an artist, a mother, and a wife. How do you reconcile these roles? We all know women these days need to be versatile and able to multi-task, but an office job is very different from artistic work, which is largely influenced by emotions. Do you have a fixed work routine?
Being an artist and having a work routine? That’s mutually exclusive to me! But in all seriousness, I think I’m lucky. My husband has always been very supportive and accepted all inconveniences of having an artist for a wife. My daughter is growing up to be a strong, independent woman, and I believe it’s partly because I showed her that you can successfully reconcile family life with your passion. As for my two sons, it does them good to take over some housework when I’m away from home or busy editing a photoshoot. I’m sure their future spouses will appreciate those skills!
My family knows that my work is dictated by the seasons and the weather. If I want to capture a certain plant when it blooms, or a certain weather phenomenon like the formation of the first frost, I have to be there at the right time. The plants or the insects won’t wait for me, and the frost will melt away when hit with the first sunrays. Even a single day’s delay will make the initially colorful flower petals turn brown and unappealing. If I’m late, I have to wait a whole year for the next opportunity.
And the emotions you mentioned – yes, this job is a real emotional rollercoaster. As artists, we’re often overly sensitive, but those feelings are our fuel.
Why did you choose nature photography?
Actually, I try to avoid labels like “nature photography” or “macro photography”. Save for the very beginning, my work has always escaped definition. For a long time I had difficulty explaining what I do, until I stumbled upon an excerpt from a 1934 interview with Wojciech Weiss, a Polish painter of the “Young Poland” movement. He put my feelings on the subject into words:
“I am not a naturalist who writes the chronicle of life; I am not a realist who faithfully describes nature; for my painting is my visual experience; it is my feeling of color encased. I want my paintings to express the emotions I feel when faced with nature and its most magnificent phenomena. I create a harmony of colors, a symphony of hues that has a right to exist in and of itself.”
As a mother of three, for a few years I had to stay close to home. Any longer absence, like outdoor shoots in faraway places, was out of the question. However, I did have my own garden, surrounded by a fence with meadows stretching beyond it – perfect conditions for diving into the world of flora and fauna with a camera in hand.
For me, the greatest thing about my beloved field of photography is that the world of plants and gardens is an endless source of inspiration. It’s very important to me, since I’m always looking for new tools, ideas, unusual shots. I try to come up with new projects on everything relating to the photography of flowers and insects. My private goal is to challenge the stereotype of flower photography as something that you grow out of.
What makes your photographs unique?
After the initial excitement about the extreme magnifications, detail reproduction, and sharpness, my way of seeing things and capturing them began to evolve. I went from traditional macro photography to more painting-like, impressionist photographs, where the play of colors and light becomes more important than faithful, accurate depiction of the world around me.
When I discovered lenses with the M42 mount, I knew I was on the right path. Receiving the first comments on the painting-like quality of my photographs only solidified this conviction. Old lenses have an amazing plasticity, unattainable for more modern lenses. They may not be perfect in terms of optics, and they certainly have some flaws, but that’s exactly what makes them unique – and this uniqueness is what I value the most.
Nowadays, it’s not difficult to take a picture that’s technically correct. The real challenge is taking a picture that’s different from all the others. When used in the right conditions, bokeh from old, manual lenses creates a texture similar to brush strokes left by a painter on the canvas. I fell in love with this kind of “crumpled” background, the lack of digital cleanness and perfect sharpness that comes with modern lenses. It’s now an integral part of my style.
Your works are full of vivid colors, and you like using painting tools. Do you spend a lot of time on post production?
Color is crucial in my photographs. It’s always been their distinguishing feature. I like it when a picture is colorful; it’s only the hue intensity that changes. In the beginning of my adventure with photography I used very saturated colors. Then I switched to pastels, and photographs taken during that period were very bright, with white or pale background. Later I went back to colors, but this time they were darker, heavier. They’re also a reflection of my emotions and my female nature.
It’s never been my priority to show the world as it is. There are many photographers who do it better than me. What I want is to present my vision of the world, a fairytale paradise. I hope that looking at my photographs will help people connect with their inner child, even if for a moment. The world seen through the eyes of a child is always more interesting, more colorful and full of surprises.
I try to achieve as many effects as I can while capturing a shot, so post production doesn’t take me as much time as you might think. It’s mostly about adjusting the colors and playing with sliders.
You’ve been using an EIZO monitor for a while. Has it changed your approach to your work in any way?
Like I said before, color is extremely important to me. This means I need to be 100% sure that what I’m seeing on the screen is accurate.
Interestingly enough, the very first monitor I worked with was a 19” EIZO FlexScan S1931. It was an office monitor, so it didn’t have features like calibration, but back then I didn’t know much on the subject anyway. It provided such a good color reproduction that when it came to buying a high-end graphics monitor, I had no doubt which brand I should choose. I stuck with EIZO – and I was not disappointed.
|Magda Wasiczek is a member of EIZO's ColorEdge Ambassador Program. The program showcases creatives who are committed to inspiring and educating artist around the world of all levels. To view her profile, click here.|