Since January 2016, London based photographer Iwona Pinkowicz has been photographing strangers on the streets of London and asking them one question, what is your dream? We spoke to Iwona to find out more about her and her ongoing project ‘Chasing Dreams’.
Who is?Iwona Pinkowicz and how and when did you start taking photos?
I?m originally from Przemysl, a small town in South East Poland. I moved to London at the age of 19 and have been calling it home for the past 15 years. I left my job in digital marketing a year ago, got married in the summer and, upon return from honeymoon in November, focussed on setting up my business as a storytelling and portrait photographer. Other than photography, my two biggest passions are travel and music.
I started taking photos properly just over three years ago when I got my first DLSR camera before going on holiday to the USA. I self-taught myself about photography on that trip by reading lots of different books and originally started shooting street photography when I got back to London but quickly realised that I didn?t want to be restricted by one genre. One thing that was clear to me from the very beginning however was that I have a great passion for photographing people in different settings ? be them at events, festivals, or on the street.
- “My dream is to create a documentary about people who experienced child abuse in the past.” – Ally
Why is storytelling such an integral part in your photography?
In the ever increasing age of video, drone and virtual reality, I think traditional photography still plays a highly influential role. I firmly believe that every picture tells a story and often encourages a viewer to contemplate a subject more than moving images.
In undertaking photography assignments one of the things I enjoy most is interacting with people, getting to know them and ensuring they are at ease in front of a lens. I find that if you take the time to talk to clients, you understand them, and the stories they want to tell through photography, are much better. The same goes for people I encounter on the street. Striking up a conversation with a stranger can be difficult sometimes but on the whole I?ve found that it breaks the ice, allowing people to relax in your company and open up which often results in intimate images and interesting stories.
- “My dream is to break the mould. I like to push boundaries and make the unexpected happen, especially in the modelling world, where I have been told I’m too skinny and to bulk up. But this is me, it’s the body I was born with and I wouldn’t change it for anyone’s validation.” – Tayce
How did you get discovered by Glastonbury music festival and what was it like photographing people there?
Last year I decided to pack my cameras and take them with me to capture my second Glastonbury experience. Despite the poor weather and it being the muddiest Glastonbury ever, which made walking around the site quite difficult, I had a whale of a time and encountered many happy people enjoying the festival as much as me and my group of friends. There was a bit of a strange vibe at the festival due to result of EU referendum but on the whole I found that pretty much everyone was in good spirits and up for having their picture taken. I also managed to capture some good action and candid shots at different times across the weekend.
A week or so after the festival I published a blog on my website called “Finding Happiness at Glastonbury”. A few months later I received a phone call from a senior member of Glastonbury’s Press Office saying that he and his colleagues had read my blog, seen my pictures from the festival and loved my work. I’ll never forget the moment he said that he had found happiness looking at my pictures and wanted me to come back to Glastonbury 2017 to take photos as a member of the official photography team! I still can’t quite believe it’s happening to be honest, it feels very surreal. I travelled to the festival site in March to meet some of the team behind the festival, including Michael and Emily Eavis themselves, and saw some of my photos printed out and hanging on the walls of their office! They’re wonderful people and I can’t wait to deliver even better images for them at this year’s festival.
Are you working on any upcoming projects at the moment and what can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on “Chasing Dreams”, a project that involves me approaching strangers on the street, explaining to them that one of my dreams is to publish a streets portrait photo book and asking them to think about their own while I take their portrait. I am aiming to capture that moment of contemplation, enabling the viewer to connect with and understand my subjects.
Chasing Dreams has helped me build confidence in my approach and inspired several ideas for other projects I’d like to explore in the future. One of these is making portraits of people who have a passion for vintage clothing. Above all else, I have learnt that portraiture is something I find fascinating and want to do more of.