I catch a breath with photography – interview with Roland Błażejewski by Matúš Zajac and Nicole Jašáková

Portraits in the intimate zones. In his eyes, you see the closeness with people, the unity with things that surround him. Roland Kilimanjaro Błażejewski – a lone wolf searching for his truth.

What has led you to take up photography?

It was some strong voice in myself, that told me to take the camera and try to create what I can create. I felt it quite hard.

As a Polish-born photographer, how do you think is documentary photography perceived in your country and what is your opinion on its overall position?

Documentary photography in Poland has been at a very high level for a long time. In my country live many renowned photographers such as Chris Niedenthal, Tomasz Tomaszewski, who inspire young generation photographers.

I’m also fascinated by their work, even though I personally have a slightly different, perhaps even too much personal approach to people whom I meet on my way.

In your photographs can be seen the influence of Scandinavian photography school. Do you have anyone around you who has led you and inspired you?

Of course, you can not hide it, but I’m still learning about myself. Christer Strömholm, Ed van der Elsken, Anders Petersen, and Jacob Aue Sobol.

Have you ever studied photography?

I study every day on my own and I was in class at the Tri-city photography school. I attended analog photography classes there.

You work in a very harsh environment. How do you perceive it?

I usually shoot on a film and maybe it’s the result, but I also believe in the power of simplicity. I especially don’t like digital cameras and consequently their processing on a computer. This is my personal choice, and everyone has the right to find their own.

In what does according to you lay the power of black and white photography? Do you think it may command attention from an audience better than colorful pictures?

In my opinion, it is the simplicity and strength of two strong colors. These two components are enough to convey emotions to the viewers. The whole rest can disturb the reception, but it is not always the case.

Everyone is different. I’m not authorized to advise people what is better for them, except that I also like the color and I don’t have a favorite. In future I won’t shoot only in black and white, for sure not.

Your visual is set to a height format. Why?

I like a classic portrait and I see it in that way in my mind, but I’m not limiting myself to do it in this way forever.

Portraits in the intimate zones. Will you uncover us your attitude towards the human?

I’m a lone wolf and I have to search for my truth, sometimes I can find it in strange places,  such strange places are in the soul of each one of us so, you have to look for it over there – in yourself. That’s why you have to be brave, honest and leave fear behind you and then maybe you will have a chance to find the truth.

What does a person need to have to capture your attention and make you take a picture?

I don’t know exactly. I feel it deeply in myself and I can not define it.

What are you looking for in their faces?

Honesty and emotion. I’m waiting for the moment when we’ll become one human being for one second at least.

Do you search for these characters intentionally, or are all of these random meetings?

Definitely more random meetings. I believe in fate.

Does your nickname „Kilimanjaro“ have a significant meaning for you?

Kilimanjaro. I catch a breath with photography and I lose it when I think too much about myself. Kilimanjaro, everyone has their own.

Photography is the photographer. Who are you?

I’m a human being.

Roland Błażejewski (*1976) was born in Puck, Poland. He completed his university studies at the University of Physical Education in Gdansk. „My passion is photography. I specialize in a portrait of ordinary people. I meet them on the streets or in their houses. I need people in my pictures and I’m looking for the truth on their faces and I hope I can find it – but to be honest, I’m looking for in them also a piece of myself. That’s all. More from me, you can see in my pictures.“

All photographs by © Roland Błażejewski.