Maciek Wojciechowski works in portraiture and fine art nude photography around the theme of human body, its form and abstract notion. His practice is based on trust between him and his sitters – in this way he creates a space where his models can be themselves and he is able to capture their uniqueness. By limiting directions to minimum he leaves the ground to his sitters in order for them to feel comfortable and relaxed and reveal who they are and how they want to be portrayed.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your career journey?
I am a Polish photographer based in London. My interest in photography
started when I was around 17 years old. I used my father’s Praktica camera
and somehow managed to build a darkroom in the basement, where my first
experiments with developing film and prints took place. Back then it was
rather a hobby – nothing super serious.
In my 20’s after graduating from Sociology (and not knowing exactly what my
next step should be) I moved to UK and soon after began to think that
photography might be something I could do for a living. My journey is pretty
typical: with now a serious approach I signed up for BA course (University of
Bolton). After graduating and with few failed attempts to find a job up North I
decided to move to London, where I got a job as a studio assistant. With time
some opportunities came my way and I started assisting other photographers
as second, and later, first assistant and finally became a freelance
On top of that, ever since I was a student I tried different ways to get my work
out there and to establish myself as an artist (as we all do…). Along the way I
had a chance to take part in group exhibitions around Europe and had my
work featured in art publications. One of my photographs was awarded a
Bronze at TIFA photo awards (Tokyo International Foto Awards) in Japan.
Currently I am working on the ongoing ‘Nude’ project which focuses on human
body, its potential and form. I hope this will lead to other interesting
collaborations and allow me to evolve as an artist and photographer.
How did you develop your style?
Since day one, I was drawn to black and white photography; the play between
light and shadows on the photographs intrigued me more than the colour did. I
started my photography journey by shooting small frame black and white film,
developing and printing on my own. The magic of an image “becoming” in the
darkroom is still something special. During university years I focused more on
self-portraiture and with that came fascination in human body and its form
(Works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Robert Mapplethorpe were important
sources of inspiration)
My ‘Nude Art London’ project came to life when my friend asked me to create
nude portraits for her. She wanted ‘bodyscape’, low key and minimal art to be
able to hang it in her house. We tried few things at her place and than in the
professional studio setting. She was happy with the results of the later one.
Through this experience I had learnt that I could work with nudity without any
awkwardness from either side. After that I took it a step further and started
inviting different people to the studio, where we would collaborate in a secure
and controlled environment. I worked with amateurs as well as performing
artists. In the process I discovered that I am not so good in directing or posing
people, but instead of fighting it I embraced it as my strength: the less I
directed my sitters the more “space” they had to be themselves in front of the
camera, which resulted in more natural, genuine photographs.
From your point of view, what makes a good picture?
In my opinion a good picture is the one that evokes something in the viewer. It
should be able to stop you for a second and make you feel something. It
might be a subject matter of the image or how it was executed or just a part of
it that provokes a thought – it doesn’t have to be technically good picture, but
it must do something to you as a viewer – whatever it is. Isn’t that exactly
what art is doing?
What is the most challenging part about being a photographer for you?
The best thing of believing in what you are doing is that you free yourself up.
Coming from that place no matter what you do it will be good. Because it is
yours. If you lack that believe, if you doubt in your ability to be you, you try to
be something that you are not – you adjust yourself, you pretend, you copy…
Self doubt makes you bend to something else. As a creative mind and a
photographer to stay “me” sometimes feels most difficult part of the job.
It has something in common with noise. Nowadays, we create thousands of
images every day and in all that visual noise it is extremely difficult to find
what is important and cut the rest of the bullshit out.
What are some of the biggest lessons in the photography you have learned
along the way?
One of the biggest lesson that stayed with me is a story of an artist, whose
work I saw at Doomed Gallery Dalston. Unfortunately I don’t remember her
name, but she was backpacking in Central America and somewhere in the
middle of her journey her backpack got stolen. She lost everything including
all gear, documents and personal belongings. Despite all the drama, she got
hold of some photographic paper and made a pinhole camera from a
matchbox and continued photographing. The work from that journey was
exhibited at the show. Besides an interesting project she created with tiny
pinhole prints, personally to me, she proved that if you really want you can
create in any conditions. Such an inspiration!
Another thing that surprises me all the time is the act of creation itself. You
take photos and while doing that sometimes there are these special moments
when everything comes together and it all “finally” makes sense. It feels good.
You are in tune, connected, expressing and creating, and even though you
only document what’s in front of you, it just feels right! Those are exciting
moments and addictive ones too, so each time you come back for more…
Whose work has influenced you most?
I love his portraits and some of his nude art. It is controversial, unapologetic
and above all beautifully executed, printed and treated as art rather than
Of course, there are plenty more incredibly talented photographers, painters,
filmmakers and other artists that I am moved and affected by in many ways –
among them are Patti Smith, Dali, Picasso, Roberto Ferri, David Hockney,
Sally Mann, Janusz Kaminski, Sebastiao Salgado and many more. Go check
In your free time, what kind of pictures do you like to shoot, and which ones
do you avoid?
I avoid shooting instagram-style selfies … and posed images. Instead I prefer
to shoot conscious self-portraits. Other than that I like to experiment and take
pictures out of pure curiosity to find out what it is going to look like. You shoot
from the hip or make them unfocussed or shaken, everything goes! It is very
freeing. Most of the time they end up being just an exercise, but sometimes
they help me to see things from different perspective.
What is your best photography tip?
Keep shooting. Back up your images.
One of the best advices I was given (by my uni tutor, Ian Glover) was to “keep
shooting”. It happened when I got stuck with my process and stopped
shooting at all. He than explained to me that sometimes it just happens that
your work is shit – no matter what you do it is no good. But instead of dwelling
on it you should just keep shooting and at some point you will start getting
Other tip, a very practical one is to never overestimate backing up! There
were times when I lost important work because I hadn’t backed up the files. It
also goes to backing up equipment like cables, batteries, etc… be prepared
and be organized.
To what do you attribute your success?
I am sure success means something else to each one of us.
The place I am currently at is a result of decisions I made in the past. I must
have wanted something bad enough to focus my energy to make this happen.
In that sense success would be my continuous work.
When it comes to the nude project, I can attribute its shape to few things. One
of them is that I recognized what is my main focus in working with body and
nudity; second, that I didn’t copy any particular artist and instead accepted my
way of shooting, and finally, I gave up directing people.
Also, I was lucky enough to have met and worked with some incredible
talents. Together we created new work and I had a chance to develop my
visual vocabulary. And that’s the beauty of collaborating with other people.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t listen to anybody. Take a camera and play with it. Shoot what you like,
how you like it and with what you have, and see what happens.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers, any
I would like to know what is your take (the readers) on photography,
body and nudity?