Photographer Bronek Kozka
Hailing from Melbourne, Bronek Kozka’s love of photography stems from the age of 14, when he received an SLR cameraas a gift. Bronek went on to working in a photolab after school, studied Photography at RMIT and opened his own studio in 1998. Take a look…
What have you been up to lately?
It has been quite busy lately, trying to finally finish of my MA and organize the exhibition for that. I’m also having a show in Tasmania at Bett Gallery in September and just found out I’m a finalist in the Albury Art prize, so lots of logistics and printing…but still trying to shoot new work for the show…
How long have you been working professionally?
A long time, but I don’t think I really started to take seriously until about 8-9 years ago. I’d always done it, but about 8 years ago I did a project in Western Kenya (Picturing Community: Ugunja, Kenya)…it was from then on that things started to fall into place and I could see some direction…that direction has become more focused over the last few years. I think I am starting to understand how and why I am making images.
How did you first get into photography?
Art has always appealed to me. I’ve always painted, although a lot less these day (time….) I have always had a need to be surrounded by art, my others…doen’t really matter, something about the energy of creativity that excites me. I love technology too…I’m impatient and love the instantaneousness of photography…in particular digital photography…I have no laments for the demise of film as some….so photography is good fit for me
What equipment do you use?
Medium format digital most of the time…for capture…and computers that are never fast enough (my files are often 2 gig or so).
I like to light my worlds with constant light (as opposed to flash) when possible..tungsten , fluro, HMI. People get hung up on “what camera” or “film Vs digital” but really as long as the gear can capture a good image I’d rather spend my time thinking about lights and lighting…that is what is so important to the final image.
Tell us a bit more about your Suburbia series. How did the idea come about and how did you find your scenes and models?
My artwork can be defined as elaborate tableaux photographs. I explore the notion of suburbia, by using as reference points ‘suburbia’ imagery from movies, commercials and advertising I am interested in the disparity between how suburbia is shown through these mediums and to people’s own memory of growing up in suburbia. It’s a partly truth and partly myth concept, exploring how memory can confuse, and also assure one’s construct of suburbia.
Finding locations is never an easy task but it is a rewarding one. The way I tend to work is I have an idea or a story I want to communicate… then I start with some rough sketches…. The idea comes first then I/we need to search out an appropriate location…that can take time. I also tend to do lots of visual research to help with briefing stylists, assistants etc. and more importantly it helps to refine my ideas.
Talent is equally important. Each person I shoot is character with a story, a history and life. The talent I shoot needs to no what the story is, they need to be able to act and become that person…at the very least they need to understand the character they are playing. I have been very fortunate with my castings, the people I have worked with have been amazing, these shoots are real team efforts. On that I really must acknowledge that none of my shoots would be possible with out the production team, producer, stylist and assistants (and sometimes hair and MUA). I have recently been working doing a lot of work with Melbourne stylist Steph Hooke, she is great, she understands what I’m doing…or on about…and because we both have a commercial background…there’s a good workflow.
How much of your work is later edited in post production?
I’m not really into lots of cutting and pasting, it’s more about tone, contrast and colour balance…like grading in the film & TV world. Tone/contrast is really important, localized contrast can give the impression of sharpness or (often in my case) over sharpness to areas…and playing mid tones and shadow can create an “illustrative” feel. My preference is to create the “look” with lighting, there is nothing wrong with doing it in post, but I’d rather spend as little time as possible editing images…I get a thumbing head ache if spend more than an hour at the computer.
What’s is inspiring you at the moment?
Last week it was the amazing work done by some of my students (RMIT BA photography) sometimes the way a student sees is really refreshing…it is also inspiring to see how easily they (some) can move from thinking about still images to moving…something I am still struggling with.