Interview with Irena Kiełb

edited by silvia conde (

photos by irena kiełb

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Irena Kiełb is a 26-year-old photographer from Cracow, Poland. Her work could be described as her own diary, moments she has lived and carefully captured. These photos show a tender kind of view with long horizons and little details. She believes that analog photography has something to do with respect, a statement with which I completely agree. I specially like the way she’s been lately experimenting with black and white film. It manifests her need to explore her own style and I think she’s doing it with remarkable results.

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What do you do in life? 
I was born and still live in Cracow which I really love. Currently I’m finishing my studies, take pictures and sew a little. I also love travelling, especially in nature.

What do you like the most about photography?
I don’t really know… possibly the fact that I can capture all the special moments which I see: colors, light, situations, places, people… and I can just have them and share with others.
Photography doesn’t need spoken language. I’ve always been better at looking than talking. So instead of words I take pictures.

Do you agree with those who think that every photo is Art?
I think I disagree. There is a lot of pictures which I would never call art. I think it has to be something special in the picture. I cannot say what it is, but I’m sure it’s connected with Beauty.

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When was the first time you had a camera in your hands?  
It probably was in my childhood. I don’t remember this ‘first time’ but I assume it was one of those simple compact cameras which were so popular in eightiees and ninetiees. It could also be my fathers zenit or my older brothers praktica – every person in my family had its own camera. As you can see, cameras were always around me.

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Which cameras do you have? Is there any interesting story about any of them you would like to share?
I have a few cameras: zenit, praktica, zorka, smiena, olympus, polaroid, but my favourite is a good old friend canon. I also have a digital one, but I use it mosty to make short films. Most of my film cameras I got from my family and friends, others I just bought on Internet. I’m really curious what those cameras have seen with their previous owners. Each one has its own story, it’s fantastic.

Most of your photos have been taken using film, right? Why are you so interested in analog photography?
I’m just in love with film photography. It requires a lot of respect: you have to be patient, frugal and careful. And you are never sure what the final effect will be like.

Which do you think is the role of this kind of photography nowadays? What’s so attractive about it? 
I think film photography helps people to slow down, stop for a moment and think what’s valuable.

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Many of your photos show your everyday life. In which way does it inspire you? What else inspires you?
My photos are some kind of diary. I capture what I love most – things, situations, places which are calm and natural. Peaceful moments, friends, family, simple everyday life and travels in nature  – that what’s important. Every life is special.

Could you mention three references you would like to share?
My favourite photografer ever is Elliot Erwitt. Everybody knows his work, but for me his sense of humour is just fantastic! I enjoy Wes Anderson – the director who is a constant surprise to me. I also really love Andrei Zvyagintsevs movies – each one is a masterpiece. It’s a true art.

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Flickr: irenkapatrzy

Tumblr: irenkapatrzy

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