Why You Must Experience Photography At Least Once In Your Lifetime

“Shoot as much as you can. Make mistakes and learn how not to repeat them” says Wiktor Staniecki, an EU diplomat with a long-time experience in photography. His current profession influences not only his style, but also his choice of subjects. Since being a diplomat gives him opportunities of discovering and taking photos of new countries and cultures.
Currently based in Tokyo, he’s fascinated by the architecture & wall structures of this modern city, one of the reasons why he developed a personal project called Tokyo Wall Art. He is also currently working on a Japanese Food Photography project, which will hopefully be published next year.
At Klaud9, we had the privilege of interviewing Wiktor last month about his most memorable shoot experience, the greatest influence on his work, and his photography style. Read his interview to find out more!

Where are you from? Where do you currently live? 

I am Polish but I have lived outside of Poland for the most of my adult life. I am currently based in Tokyo, Japan.

How did you become a hobby photographer? 

I loved photography since long time ago, experimenting with digital and medium format film. But only after arriving in Japan I took this passion seriously, challenging myself to go to the next level.

You’re a diplomat. How does your work impact your photography style?

I think that the way how we interpret the world through our photography is influenced by many factors, mainly who we are as persons. I guess my current profession also influences my style and choice of subjects too. I always loved to travel and discover new places and cultures and being a diplomat gives me that opportunity.

How would you describe your photography style? What do you like to shoot? What inspires you? 

I generally like dark palettes, low-key and high-contrast photos. And lines. The bolder, the better. I shoot a lot of food, which, in contrast to my street or travel photos, allow me to craft the scene and mood. As for inspiration, it can be found everywhere, from how light falls on something or what I have read. I also try to educate myself a lot. It helps to bring the ideas.

What or who has been the greatest influence on your work? 

I love works of Henry Cartier Bresson or Doisneau, but also old masters, particularly Caravaggio, Rembrandt but also more contemporary painters like Edward Hopper.


What are you currently working on?

I am finishing a project on Japanese food, which will be a part of a book to be, hopefully, published next year. I also have my personal project called Tokyo Wall Art. Since my arrival in Japan, I was fascinated with the incredible wall structures – a mix of drying laundry, gas and water pipes, vending machines, electric cables, election posters, and bikes. This gave me an idea to create this project. The first part of it can be seen on my website.

How do you come up with new creative ideas?

While walking, under the shower or on a blank piece of paper. It’s where they take shape and evolve. Many also die there. For me, putting the idea down on a paper transmutes it from immaterial existence in my mind into a physical presence. More often than not, once on the paper, the whole ridiculousness of the idea becomes apparent. Sketching or drafting is intrinsic to my thought process.

What’s your favourite image and why?

I think it is still the photo I took while in Marrakesh, Morocco. I had a split second before I was chased off for peeking into somebody’s workshop. But the scene and light still awe me for how perfect it was.


What’s your favourite destination to shoot in?

Tokyo is still on top, as it has all, from modern to shabby. But Hong Kong is a close second.

Any favourite photo books?

It is a difficult question. Recently, I am very impressed by Josef Koudelka’s “Chaos”.

What camera and photography equipment are you currently using?

I am using two systems, Canon full frame and Fuji X system. The first one, manly stays in my home studio and Fuji is used for travel and street, as it is much lighter.

Most memorable shoot experience so far?

It was my first shoot ever with a model. I was so stressed out and trying to deliver that I could not think clearly. I also have not scouted the location enough, which turned out way darker than I thought it will be, so we had to change completely our game plan. Thankfully it was a personal project so I could learn from my own mistakes. Oddly enough, many photos turned out really nice!


Any tips for photographers who want to take up photography?

Just do it. Shoot as much as you can. Make mistakes and learn how not to repeat them.

How long did it take you before you sold your first commercial photo?

It took me almost 3 years since I started to take photography really seriously until I felt that what I do is good enough. However, even today I look at my work and have thousands of ideas how I could improve it.

How did you find about Klaud9? What is your favourite thing about Klaud9 community?

A friend told me about Klaud9 and suggested I should try it out. What I love about it is that it has a focus, and does not try to be a “one size fits all”.
We can learn from Wiktor that even though photography may look simple, it actually requires enormous time and patience to achieve the perfect creation. However, any enthusiastic beginner is encouraged to experience the world of photography.
So, after having read this interview, are you interested to try out photography? 
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