Following a feature in Aesthetica magazine and exhibitions across London and Plymouth, we sat down with recent BA (Hons) Photography graduate Maciej Krzyminski to discuss his process, practice and what it’s like studying at an independent art school.
Hi Maciej, tell us about your photographic practice & the themes you explore.
My latest body of work, ‘Seven Trees’, developed from the idea that I wanted to create work that examines what the viewer sees, how they interpret the images, or even, why they would want to look at my work in the first place.
My ‘Seven Trees’ series is about memories, more specifically childhood memories. I felt the need to recreate them, to reconnect with the moment. The initial idea was to capture the images as close as possible to how the memory appeared in my head, however, I realised that the outcome would've only been beneficial to me, not to the viewer. So I changed my approach by stripping back the memory and utilising symbolism to allow the viewer as much freedom as possible to interpret the images in their own way.
"It’s been four years, and it feels like I have grown and changed a lot, I am definitely leaving a different person to who I was at the beginning."
Actually, something film director Quentin Tarantino said reflects strongly how I feel about my images: “If a million people see my movie, I hope they see a million different movies.” I want every single viewer to see something new, create their own story to the image. There is no right or wrong, I am interested to know what people see in my images, and their stories about them.
I think that’s a really interesting approach, one of your images was exhibited in London recently for the AOP Student Awards, can you tell us about that?
Thank you and yes at the end of July last year, myself and Kinga Burakowska [fellow Plymouth College of Art graduate] went to London for the AOP annual conference and ceremony to celebrate her success of being selected for the AOP Student Awards 2016.
Eight months later, after producing a full body of work, I entered a selection of my strongest images into the AOP Student Awards 2017. I received the news that I’d been picked as a finalist a short time later – it was amazing to be chosen from thousands of entries.
"The dedication of the institution to focus only on creative subjects gives it a strength and a certain sense of creative freedom that tends to be lacking in larger universities."
Congratulations, you also exhibited at the annual Free Range Shows in London.
Yes, part of our degree was working together to curate an exhibition at Free Range, building our exhibition space from scratch, installing the work and promoting the show.
It was a really successful experience, my body of work was noticed by several photographic agencies who I am hoping to collaborate with and sign myself to in the near future. I’ve also got work at several other exhibitions, my fourth one was last month in London and the latest exhibition was in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art.
So what made you decide to study here at Plymouth College of Art?
Well, I had two options, both in Plymouth, and rather than going to a place where the art and photography department is only 10% of the overall institution and student body, I decided to go to Plymouth College of Art which specialises entirely in art and photography.
And what’s it been like studying here?
It’s been a fantastic experience, I started on the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design course, it was such an incredible year of experimentation and discovery that I decided to continue onto the BA (Hons) Photography programme.
The dedication of the institution to focus only on creative subjects gives it a strength and a certain sense of creative freedom that tends to be lacking in larger universities. You know that everyone you meet across all the floors and all the buildings are working in the creative industry, just like you. One of the big benefits of this is that regardless of what subject you’re studying, you are welcomed in all of the departments and given advice and help if needed.
It’s been four years, and it feels like I have grown and changed a lot, I am definitely leaving a different person to who I was at the beginning. The variety of skills I’ve learnt means I have everything I need in order to confidently leave the degree with skills and knowledge to become an independent creative, with the aim of turning my passion into a lifetime career.
You mentioned before about working with fellow graduate Kinga Burakowska, what are your plans now that you are a creative duo?
Well now I have graduated we are both free to fulfil our passion for photography together. My graduate project had a lot of input from Kinga in terms of ideas and inspiration so it’s nice to continue that now. We are both interested in human nature and within our practice, we’re going to explore more about people, their stories, feelings and relationships through photography.
We already have a similar style and aesthetic, and it’s great to have someone else to bounce ideas off and to help motivate each other. We’ve got a few projects we’d like to start and some that are already in process so keep your eyes open for new work!
Will you be staying in Plymouth?
Yes, I’ve been living in Plymouth for just over eight years now, I like the location and I have friends and family here. I have to say, I am not a big fan of rain, it’s very different from my homeland, but I’m getting used to it!