An Interview with Wotjek Kogut

Interviews

What is the single most interesting brief you have worked on during your career?

Any brief I set up for myself is interesting within Street Photography, I’m given so many opportunities to photograph something new each time I go out with my camera. To be frank the most interesting work was my “Faces of the Streets” for my first exhibition. Work from a year of photography. I photographed women and men in different situations; at work, in the street, at celebrations in London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona. The outcome was stunning. All the key shots taken that year, were printed and mounted on the walls of London Camera Club in Kennington, London.

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Who has been your biggest influence?

For me there are two main characters who have influenced me the most.
The first is Henri Cartier-Bresson a French humanist photographer considered to be the master of candid photography. His work, created before digital photography existed, is amazing. So real, natural, well composed and every shot I have ever seen motivates me to take my camera and go out, stay focused and keep working.

The second I follow and admire is Thomas Leuthard. He is a Swiss photographer with whom I had the pleasure to meet here in London. He gave me lots of tips and hints how to be a better Street Photographer. Thomas and I are in regular contact, I can stay up to date with his accomplishments as well as have productive feedback on my work.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

For my photography, I think my key achievement was the ability to overcome the fear to show my work to the wider audience either via social media channels or my exhibitions. They brought crowds to Camera Club and it was incredibly rewarding. Hearing positive comments about ones work always feels like an accomplishment. This inspires me to do more, to learn new skills, to explore and look for street situations that are unique, things that will never happen again but will be captured in a moment through photograph.

What are you passionate about? 

Life, family, people, the world and nature. Outside my day job, most of my spare time is devoted to photography; either I take my gear, set up an objective what I want to photograph today, read books, watch tutorials or edit photographs; old and new. Recently, it happened to me that I discovered something new in the pictures I took around three years ago in Rome. I looked at them from a different perspective, used a different post production approach and the result was stunning.

I take part in a variety of photographic events, workshops, exhibitions or even organise Lightroom workshops for photography groups.

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What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and who gave it to you?

It was Thomas Leuthard who said to me “No matter what, you will not learn photography from looking at photos. Take your camera, go out and start shooting”. He was absolutely right. The more I take photographs, the more I am out and capture the streets, the more confident I am in my work, the better the images are that I create.

What advice would you give a student today?

Firstly, do not invest in the most modern and most expensive gear. Save the money for the future or workshops. Approach photography with small steps, enjoy small achievements, work on your technique, master your camera settings and know your gear throughout. Take care of it.

Be out with your camera, take it everywhere you go. Practise as much as you can. Spend less time in front of the computer on post production, but instead focus on your objects that you want to photograph.

Challenge yourself. Give yourself an objective, experiment with images taken but also with your camera. Learn the patience and respect others (especially when you are on the Streets or working in photojournalism). Know your rights as a photographer and pay attention to ethics as well. And lastly, open your heart to it. Be active, search for outdoor events, happenings, demonstrations etc. Find your style, grow it, and share with others.

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What inspires you about the Creative Conscience Awards?

The community who selflessly built Creative Conscience and the entrants who send in their work. Their passion for making positive change through creativity. The idea itself is wonderful, to encourage and reward students and graduates who want to achieve something meaningful with their lives. I have worked with Chrissy Levett on a number of successful purpose focused projects at Azimo. I am happy and grateful to be part of this Creative Conscience community, and will enjoy photographing this year’s Awards Ceremony.