My Story

In 1987 I embarked on a seventh grade (primary school), autumn trip into the mountains borrowing a cheap 35mm camera the “SMENA 8M” from my grandfather without any idea what I was doing I quickly found myself developing pictures in my cousin darkroom; my first encounter with an enlarger, the pictures were awful but I was hooked.

2004 London during a cold British winter and with the help of a good friend I take the plunge and buy my first camera a “CANON 35mm” and a ‘made in Czech Republic enlarger’.  Each weekend my little room in London is transformed into a darkroom and for these two days I am absorbed by photography not to mention overtaken by the smell of chemicals despite this, this is exactly what I need to survive for the next five days while tolerating the hum drum of corporate life. Loaded with a packed backpack of 35mm ILFORD film rolls and a camera, I set off after work photographing London’s architecture and landmarks and start to notice a significant improvement from my first photos with the “SMENA 8M” camera and I am really growing to appreciate my results and start receiving compliments from friends and colleagues.

In the autumn 2005, after much resistance on my part to ever moving to a digital camera; I finally gave in and chose my first DSLR made by “CANON”, this truly was a beautiful tool which allowed me to spread open my wings and fly, I was learning so quickly and was now liberated from film, the worry of wasting another film roll was history.   I could instantly see the effect of my shot and was able to quickly make a correction and capture some amazing moments.

In the spring of 2006 and as though by fate I made the acquaintance of an English veteran of photography who had a vintage studio and equipment in central London, he taught me so much and here I have the pleasure of photographing the medium format 120mm on Hasselblad 500 C/M. This was like rediscovering the photography all over again.   I don’t know if it’s the camera weight, the robustness of it or if’s just the Victorian interior of a studio but I feel like a child who just got the best toy in the world.   The experience motivated me to search for new effects, I begin to experiment with new lenses, mixing different techniques, using scanned 35mm film with different grain with digital pictures during development.

The requests are coming in from friends to for everything from weddings, events, big birthday parties, and even portrait sessions and in the summer of 2006 I invest in yet another digital camera, lenses and more and more accessories.  Through these sessions I discover that I love photographing people, especially when they are surprised and when they feel comfortable and safe in the environment and their surroundings.  Fascinated by human emotions. I learn that photography has a therapeutic effect on me and that I can take people out of their comfort zone and this brings a completely new dimension to my work.

Despite good run I begin to lose the enthusiasm for photography and in 2014, I am surprised to find myself disposing of the equipment which had always accompanied me everywhere I went.  Feeling that this is some evolution rather than a falling out with photography begin taking photographs on my smartphone and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved only to hear many voices from friends and social media followers asking me why I would give up such a talent and asking me to go back to photography.   Despite a million excuses, I realise that I cannot escape from this passion and that photography is my true love.

I am reborn as a photographer and have one life I am now determined to live it doing what I love.

This is my story…

Pawel Dobrowolski