Our Polish photographer Alicja Koll is inspired by artists such as painters and architects. She is especially fascinated by the designs from the 50s and 70s of the last century. The photographer often goes on a prop hunt to find accessories from this period and incorporate them into her photographs. In her photography, she relies entirely on natural light and loves to play with shadows. Alicja is .
How It All Began
Alicja’s passion for photography was born in her childhood. The camera has accompanied her throughout her life. For example, at school, she loved to photograph still lifes in black and white with classic lighting.
About twelve years ago, she began to earn her living with the camera. It was no coincidence that she chose food and product photography. This was a very conscious decision.
“Since I’m rather introverted, I work better with objects than with people. But that doesn’t mean, of course, that I don’t like people.”
Today she mainly works for restaurateurs and food producers. She also enjoys photographing objects made by artisans and works of art for the artist’s private archive. Alicja studied at the School of Art Photography in Jelenia Gora. Before that, she was trained in sculpture at the School of Arts and Crafts.
Alicja loves natural light. Be it in her home studio or a restaurant, she always tries to use the light that is available.
“I always start my work by looking for the right light or rather, the right shadow. Shadow is very important in my photographs.”
When she gets down to work, she usually has a rough plan for the project. She chooses certain colors and prepares certain props. But Alicja also likes to improvise. Usually, many things change during a shoot making the final result look completely different than she had planned. Her favorite pieces of equipment are the lenses 50mm f1.4 and 90mm f2.8. The photographer does not like to use tripods. She finds them a little restrictive.
Dogs as Photo Assistants
During her photo sessions in her home studio, Alicja’s two dogs Mocca and Miya are her faithful companions. They find it interesting when their mistress lies down flat on the floor to take pictures from a unique perspective. They love to play with the props. And yes, they have actually eaten one or two of them… Besides her animal photo assistants, Alicja can also count on human support in her work. She greatly appreciates and admires her adult son’s technical support.
Fascinated by the Design of the 50s and 70s
Alicja’s work is inspired by many random aspects. It could be the pattern on the blouse of a passing girl, colors on the facade of an old apartment building, or the upholstery of a chair in a cozy café. Whether it is stones, structures, or objects- for Alicja, her entire environment is a never-ending source of inspiration. She is particularly fascinated by the design of the 50s and 70s. Not only photographers but great artists like painters and architects from that time inspire her. The photographer herself has many objects from this epoch at home- furniture, lamps, ceramics, and some glass.
“I am like a magpie in this respect. I look for various objects from this period at fairs, flea markets, and second-hand shops. If I manage to get hold of something, I immediately have lots of ideas for sessions with this treasure in the title role.”
The photographer appreciates the art and design of the 50s and 70s above all because she also considers herself a minimalist. She does not like exaggerations and always tries to show this in her pictures.
Experiments with Historical Photography Techniques
When Alicja is not taking pictures, she likes to romp around with her dogs outside. She appreciates her independence and the fact that she is free to organize her time.
“I am a fan of a ‘slow life’. I have the ability to pause and celebrate the moment with a feeling of gratitude. I feel comfortable where I am. I’m not interested in hunting or fighting. I don’t depend on my career.”
Alicja believes that life holds many wonderful surprises for her. When things don’t go smoothly, she likes to return to the depths of her old-fashioned darkroom to relax. With modern photography, Alicja sometimes misses that emotional component. That’s why she continues to photograph with old large format cameras and experiments with historical photography techniques such as cyanotype, rubber printing, and collodion wet-plate techniques. This is how Alicja recharges her batteries. She loves it from the bottom of her heart.