Changing viewfinders – Slawomir Janicki (from soldier to wedding photographer)

Share Button

During his final tour of Afghanistan in 2013, Master Sergeant Slawomir Janicki was presented with a career-changing opportunity. The Polish army was looking for volunteers to take official photos of his unit. Having a passing interest in photography, he put his name forward and ended up swapping his Beryllium 5.56mm assault rifle for a Nikon D300 camera. The images he saw through his newly adopted viewfinder would change his life.

Tell us about your introduction to photography.
During my nine month tour in Afghanistan with the Polish army, I volunteered to become the unit’s official photographer. Once I started taking photos I became fascinated. I had previously served in the army for 15 years, touring in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then the army introduced me to a passion I couldn’t let go of. When I returned to Poland, with the army’s support, I enrolled in the “Akademia Fotografii Warszawie” to learn about wedding and portrait photography.

Was there a decisive moment when you realised you wanted to become a professional photographer?
Whilst touring I saw immense poverty and the terrible living conditions children endure. Taking those photos opened my eyes and heart. I felt the hardships. One specific moment that stands out is when I saw people using local materials to build mud houses – there wasn’t any plumbing or proper sewer system.

artjani4
Photograph: Ewa Cieszkowska

What have been the highlights of your photography career so far?
The most memorable moment was when I won my first award, given by the Polish press (Foto Courrier) for a photograph of a therapist’s hands. This happened so soon in my new career that it encouraged me to be the best I could. Winning the Best Wedding Photographer last year by Expatriates Magazine was also a very special moment. I’m also very proud to have had my photos featured in Essence magazine and Flog.pl.

Your photos are fascinating. What do you aim for during a shoot?
The most important thing is to make people happy. I like my photos to show the beauty of relationships, human life and the uniqueness of the world that surrounds us. Every time I pick up a camera I try to capture that specific moment and make it last for eternity.

How does one make a photo last for eternity?
By capturing the emotions between two people. There has to be emotion, whether happiness, sadness or anger. It must be captured to make the image eternal.

artjani2

What differences are there between photographing weddings, portraits, children and fashion?
Wedding photography is like reporting an event. The key is to blend in and not interfere, to be a ghost among the guests looking for interesting, touching and joyful moments. Fashion photography differs greatly depending on the product your client is trying to sell or advertise. The images need to reflect the client’s objectives and visions. Photographing children is altogether different. It’s very natural. Children are usually at ease and don’t pose. They run around without paying attention to the camera. Portrait photography, despite what you may think, is not as easy as it sounds. To reveal a person’s beauty they need to be open and relaxed, this is when natural beauty is captured.

Where does your inspiration come from?
When it comes to photography, my biggest inspiration comes from Russian photographers such as Anka Zhuravleva, Margarita Kareva and Oleg Oprisco,  but overall my biggest source of inspiration comes from paintings, particularly 17th century religious paintings where the main subject isn’t the same colour as the rest of the picture.

artjani5

If you were booking a photographer for you own wedding what questions would you ask?
Firstly I would check their availability and I would want to see their previous work. A professional photographer will always have a portfolio, so be sure to ask to see it if they haven’t shown you. Pricing is also important. You need to be sure the photographer’s cost can be budgeted for. There are always cheaper photographers available, but these are some of the most important photos of your life, don’t compromise if you don’t have to. And finally, although it’s not a question, be relaxed, meet the photographer without a camera. If you can relax with your photographer the photos will be natural and beautiful.

What camera did you start off with and what are you currently using?
I began with a Canon G10 before buying my first reflex (Nikon D90). I now work with a Nikon D810 for the studio and portraits, and a Nikon D4 and D5 for weddings. It’s all professional photographic equipment, but a photographer’s knowledge, experience and vision are much more important than the equipment he or she uses.

artjani3

Why do you use two cameras for weddings?
During an occasion such as a wedding it’s important to be attentive and capture those instant moments. I change camera during a wedding but never the lens.

How can you be booked for a wedding?
I can be contacted on www.artjani.com but before discussing a booking I like to talk, without the camera, to show my previous work and to let the couple decide if they want to include me in their special occasion.

Rotating Ads

Place your ad here

Going out

Who the hell is Sugar Sammy? – That moment your wife tells you you’re going to see a French-speaking comedy in Paris

GOING OUT
Anglophones in Paris are fortunate to be able to enjoy a thriving English-speaking comedy scene, with regular stand-up nights across the city. Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing most of these and have even [...]

Community News

COMMUNITY NEWS

360€ for 50 Hours Tuition!!! The Newest French Language School in Paris offers the most accessible rates

French language classes at Centre Zenith in the 20th arrondissement began on October 18th 2018. Founded by Sourav Choudhury, Centre Zenith brings experienced and native French speakers to the classroom where courses are explained with […]

Random Stories

Cover features

Just for Fun

interviews

Health

Family

Living

LIFE

Grumpy in Paris – 5 ways to beat the upcoming ‘winter blues’

Living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world has its many perks. A wealth of galleries, museums, delicious food, beautiful walks and a melodic language under no matter what context. But all pros have their cons and one of the lesser points of Paris these days is the ‘rentrée effect’ where people have come back from their holidays, said goodbye to summer and are now waiting for winter (even though we’ve only just hit autumn). Here are some ways to beat those winter blues and enjoy the colder season ahead … […]

Education

EDUCATION

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS & RESEARCHERS: GET ANSWERS TO THEIR QUESTIONS AND PAPERWORK IN ONE SINGLE PLACE! WELCOME DESK PARIS 2018

FOR THE 16TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR, THE CITÉ INTERNATIONALE UNIVERSITAIRE DE PARIS HAS SET UP A MULTI-SERVICE WELCOME AREA FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS AND RESEARCHERS, FROM THE END OF AUGUST THROUGH NOVEMBER, WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE CITY […]

COMMUNITY NEWS

Non-Profit – The Paris Institute for Critical Thinking begin university quality courses in English

Paris is hard to beat for its cultural and intellectual vibrancy. But the city’s English-speaking inhabitants – whether from France or abroad — do not have many opportunities to employ the language in sophisticated intellectual […]

Use our IG hashtag #expatriatesmagazine - We print our favourites

Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.

Random Listing