Toni Polkowski is a media designer from Berlin. He likes shooting fine-art and portrait photography. His photographs and visual art can be easily recognizable among hundreds of the artists, and that proves his creative abilities. Toni is active in many creative fields like photography, digital art, web designing, and film; thereby he’s able to work in multiple mediums at the same time and can figure out the limits of each of them. This showcase post features some of his conceptual, fine-art, architectural, and portrait photography. Here’s our interview with him:
I’m a media designer living and working in Berlin/Germany. I grow up in a small village with wonderful nature and open landscapes around. After I took Abitur exam I moved to Bielefeld for my apprenticeship. I spent three years there and learned many things for print and webdesign. I was fascinated by creating and manipulating in Photoshop, producing websites and generating little animations. It was always my passion to create something new, to learn new techniques and to upgrade my skills. After my graduation I moved to Berlin and began to work as freelancer and to make electronic music. It was great to combine all of these fields. We founded an artist collective, organized events and exhibitions and played music as a live act. So, there was a lot of inspiration by many other peoples and ideas from film, music and photography.
I started to taking photography seriously in the beginning of 2012. I tried and experienced in various topics and techniques to find my favourite style. There is no constantly rate of picture I shoot per week or month. I use the opportunities to shot new photos, if I visit new places or make a trip. Furthermore, I ask friends for the opportunity to take some portraits of them. There is no pressure of time, because it is for my personal passion and not a job.
That’s a good question. I often asked myself, if it would be better to concentrate only on one of those fields to get absolutely professional in that, but I like to do all of those things. Everything of it has its attraction and some of these creative fields are my job. My passion refers to film and photography and I like it to create works with my ideas not the ideas of a client. It’s great to have a basic idea and to make up my mind how to realize that and to finish this project. Especially, photography is fascinating for me because you have to put all ideas in only one picture. You can try different things in short time and have a result without many days or month of work.
My key areas are fine art and portrait photography. I started to shot with a Canon 550D which was a very nice camera, but a few months ago I switched to the Canon 6D to use the pros of a full frame camera. For my fine art works or landscape shots I use a wide angle lens to get a lot of the scenery on the picture. In the field of portrait I prefer prime lenses like the 50mm. In a shooting I make a lot of pictures and decide later at the PC which I keep. Then I choose some for an edit in Adobe RAW and Photoshop. For portrait photography I don’t need a lot of time to finish them, but my fine art work needs more effort and time. There is a lot of manipulation because I want to reduce the image to the basics. I like it to create an unusual composition with strong contrast and little details.
I think light is one of the most important characteristic of a photo. Especially, in a portrait you can do a lot with light and shadow. I like it to portray a model in a way you see it rarely in the daily routine. I must admit that I shot a lot of pictures of the people sometimes, till I get the one I was looking for. For my fine art works I have a basic idea and shot the elements or basis picture I need. Then I create a composition of that in Photoshop. For me it is important to show only the essence of my concept. Nothing what could deviate should overfill the work.
I live in Berlin, but for my shots I often drive in the environs, because taking pictures in the city is not my ambition. It is ok for shooting some portraits and some elements I need, but I love it to stand at the coast or at a nice place in the nature. I love it to combine a relaxed trip outside the city with taking some photos. There are often moments and scenes I get an idea for a work and start to realize it.
The most important aspect of photography for me is the fun while doing that. It’s my passion and nice to have no stress to earn a lot of money with it. My inspiration comes from a lot of artist I see at platforms like 500px and Fotoblur. There are so many good people who have an unique style and inspire me. Furthermore my very good friends Danny Prusseit and Stefan Bruett are ambitious photographers and it’s great to interchange with them and to incite each other. So, it is not difficult to keep motivated. It’s one of my ways to express myself.
Thanks a lot for your interest in my work. Keep going your photography, follow your sense and try out what you want. It’s good to develop a personal style, but it needs time and experiences. So, never give up and trust in yourself.