This year was fruitful in shorter and longer travels. At times, I did not even unpack my bags as an opportunity presented itself go somewhere. In 2016 a larger project of me and my friends did not pan out. We were to travel to Kamchatka, Russia and prepared for it for few months. There we were to take on various routes to see the wildlife, vulcanos and local customs. Plan B was to get to Iran through Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Plan C to go on route via Pamir Highway. All did not happen but are ready to be undertaken anytime, all research and information are there.
I changed my gear from my Nikon D90 to a full-frame D750 with a new lens which helped to deliver sharper images in tougher situations with better tonal colour range. That was a long awaited treat yet the decision was hard as I considered switching to mirrorless. Maybe as a second camera body this year, haven't made up my mind yet.
This year has closed a chapter in my life connected with #projects - a way for me to undertake long awaited dream to travel to remote and closer destinations. In that way, 2017 will bring a new approach. One that is more about reportage, getting closely into the scene, culture, group or situation. Keep track of this space as well as my portfolio website and subscribe below. EDIT: Eric Kim has written a very valuable essay on "How to travel" where he often asks the question "why?" and describes some of the things that I am going / have gone through. A must read if you want to develop your craft further as a street or travel photographer.
Apart from #projects, I continued #interviews where I talk to artists, photographers and travellers from all over the world that inspired me in some way and I learned something from them. This project will continue this year as well. In the very beginning of the year, I talked with Jola, a traveller that helped me prepare for Kamchatka and visited it (and many other places in the world) herself. She was starting her adventure as a blogger at that time. In May, I interviewed Michał in the longest conversation I held to date. You can read many interesting reflections on photography and travel (but not only) there. The talk itself is divided into two parts and complimented with splendid shots from Michał's journeys. That includes the one to North Korea for which he was interviewed by newspapers (like National Geographic) and tv stations (like CNN) around the globe as well as held exhibitions.
2016 also brought refinement in my skills - especially those connected with photographing people and developing pictures in a digital darkroom. I still have a lot of room for improvement but that's a good thing to know you can do better! I started testing exposure.co for storytelling as I could not showcase my work in a similar matter on my own platform (my portfolio still remains, and will remain, there). I'm starting to see some limitations that bother me but hopefully, guys will improve it further in 2017.
In this essay packed with photographs, you will notice a division by country I visited. Each part has a small introduction and a link to a longer story connected with it. Hope you like what you see and read! Over and out.
Although, currently, I live in Warsaw I decided to include it in the recap while my other travels in Poland did not get the privilege. The reason being that I had the chance to see it from the 42nd floor of an apartment building and the view blew my mind. You can check the complete collection on the capital of Poland in this essay from March 2016. In 2017 I might have a chance to compliment the below with some new views from similar height.
Apart from the skyline, one picture from the city stood up in my mind. A flower seller on Nowy Świat street in the old town. His invention of a mobile florist shop as well as older age made me stop and take the photograph.
Together with Natalia we set out in May to explore Ukraine by rail. First we visited Lviv and, afterwards, Kyiv. The protests and nearby war was still alive in the minds of locals in the capital. You can follow up on the stories here.
"I love Prague" - I say in most occasions when somebody mentions the city. I love spending time in Žižkov, the former working class district, and nearby Riegrovy sady park. You can read (and see more photographs) about my and Andrzej's June weekend trip to Prague here.
We started planning this trip with Natalia in the beginning of the year but the direction in which we were to go was a spontaneous decision. We used a cheap connection through Belgium to Bucharest. We stayed in the capital city for a while and then moves for a round trip through Transilvania visiting Bran, Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu, Hunedoara and going back the famous Transfăgărășan highway. It took us 1,5 weeks. Read more on Bucharest, Transfăgărășan and Sighișoara from our September journey.
Bergamo was a one day stop in Italy on our way back from Romania. It was just one day but we felt an urge to visit again for a weekend. Read the full story.
"Paris mon amour" is the name of the album with the most interesting and legendary, in a way, photographs of life in Paris by Jean-Claude Gautrand. It's a collection of shots by most famous photographers of all time including (but not limited to) Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Jeanloup Sieff. I stayed few days with my friend Bartek in Ania's apartment. Ania showed us some of the popular and less popular spots and venues. As a wine enthusiast, after sommelier courses, she showed us French culture from the prominent cuisine side. To read more on our September's trip click here.
After a month's break from travelling came November which was the time when Leningrad was to play in Saint Petersburg. I already bought the tickets with Zuza, Andrzej and Dorian and we were set to fly to Moscow and then take a ride via the famous Red Arrow express to St. Peter's for the gig. This was a first for me as I did not yet travel that far just for a concert. This was a great trip and you can read about what happened, my thoughts on Russia and the band as well as an interview with the director of a movie "Leningrad - The Man Who Sings". Part one is dedicated to Russia and Moscow where part two is solely on Saint Petersburg. This was my second time to Russia. Prior I visited while on the Trans-Siberian route about which you can read more here.
A two day stop in Berlin was a really quick one with not much time for photography. It was Weihnachtsmarkt time in the beginning of December. The photograph below of the cityscape was made from a club / bar like venue placed on the top of a garage next to a shopping mall. It's called . The rain was sipping at the time and there was low air clarity. It's called "Klunkerkranich". Nevertheless, you can see the Television Tower on Alexander Platz.
Although 2016 had some other plans for it I'm glad all turned out as it did. I felt as a man consumed by wanderlust in a positive sense of the expression. This year is going to be different in many ways. I can't share too much at the moment. If you liked what you saw / read you can click "subscribe to stories" on the bottom right as you scroll down. By doing this you'll be sure not to miss anything as the year unveils itself.