1) Please state who you are and what you do!
My name is Walter Wlodarczyk and I’m a photographer. My work focuses on my inspirations – music, art, creativity, New York City, the night. I explore life with my camera and document my experiences. I also play guitar in the band Space Meow.
2) How do you think social media outlets such as Instagram have changed photography?
The changes have obviously been huge, and I think they’ve been a function of both social media and the fact that we now have small, Internet-connected cameras with us at all times. We can basically document anything at any time, which brings great social benefit when you think about checking the power of the government and the police, but also has huge negative implications where privacy is concerned. And there’s the challenge of being present while being connected, too.
In terms of art and creativity, I think social apps like Instagram are great because they encourage anyone and everyone to create. Everyone should have tools to be creative and express themselves and escape the mundane. The drive of the Internet is to democratize everything in that way, and that’s great. We can publish our own work, you no longer have to be some kind of wizard to build a Web site, and so on. Instagram whatever you like, I say. If your cereal is that rad, Instagram it, if that’s how you’d like to express yourself. The trick is to not forget to experience it, too.
The Internet and social media have also made it possible for me to meet and connect with so many amazing creative people, and to learn so much – way more than would ever have been possible without. It’s amazing. Doubly so for those of us who are introverts.
3. Do you ever find that having a camera and viewing events through a lens distances you from experiencing certain concerts or events on apersonal level?
Quite the opposite. Photography is a very personal thing. My camera is part of me and the photos that I make are inseparable from who I am as a human being. When I photograph a show I am really interacting with the performance, just in a quiet and personal way. To photograph a show is to play along with the performance in a visual dimension. I process everything that’s going on — sound, movement, energy – and try to depict that in a photograph. I’m watching, anticipating, thinking, really trying to feel what’s going on and make photographs that capture the spirit of the performance. It’s also just how I get into the performance and have fun and express myself. Not unlike going to a show and dancing – I’m just creating photographs rather than movement.
4. What are your thoughts on immortality and photography? Do you feel like a photograph can in a sense make one immortal?
It’s a matter of perspective. I definitely don’t frame anything in my life around any idea of achieving immortality, certainly not photography. For me, photography is about capturing things that I find inspiring and beautiful in the present and sharing those things. It’s about experience, connection and creating something meaningful while it’s possible to. I hope I create photographs that people will still look at after we’re all gone. But to me that wouldn’t mean any sort of immortality has been achieved. It would just mean that I created something that is meaningful, which is the entire point. Having said that, if someone I photograph views that as immortality having been achieved, then for them, that’s what it would be. It’s all about your perspective.
5. What do you think a photograph of a photograph is? Is it the same thing as a painting of a painting?
I think it depends entirely on the intent of the person who makes the photograph, and how the photograph is presented. This made me think of artists who have created bodies of work based on Google Street View images. Those are photographs of photographs, and there are photographic processes, and photographic thinking and seeing, that all go into creating that work. It’s not photography in a typical sense, but it’s photographic. I guess that work inflamed some people, but it’s interesting to me. An automated photographic process created images, (if one searches them out), that are really very similar to what we consider classic street photography. It also captured some crazy situations, just rolling by. That really made me think about some things.
6. Even with all the technological advances people have still clung to analogue, it’s vintage and “cool” in a lot of ways. Keeping this trending mind, how do you see the photography evolving in the next few years?
For those who grew up with film and who enjoy shooting film, it will always be special. I find it interesting to shoot film and think about what I do differently compared to when I shoot digital. However photography evolves, I think it will be driven by technology. Better technology is continually being fit into smaller cameras, mirrorless cameras are now capable of making very high quality images (though they are still no replacement for SLRs, to me). And I’m sure there will be developments we can’t even imagine. But photography will ultimately still be about experience and the moment, no matter what.
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