Magdalena Walczak is a Polish born fine arts photographer, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her adventure with photography began as a little girl when she got a vintage Russian Zenith camera from her dad. Inspired by her father’s hobby, she completed several photo courses in Poland. Ultimately, the family encouraged her to get into a more practical field, so she graduated with a degree in Production Process Engineering from the Wroclaw University of Economics. In search of love and a new lifestyle, she immigrated to Scotland, where she settled down and started seriously exploring photography where she earned a BA in Photography from Stevenson College in Edinburgh.
“I remember my dad turning our only bathroom into the darkroom and locking himself up for hours, tightly covering any gaps in the door so the daylight could not get it. This homemade darkroom allowed my dad to develop a lot of photographs that are priceless family memories to this day.” – M. Walczak
Walczak’s biggest passion is food and documentary style photography which she often combines in her creative work. The series of images called The Most Hated Vegetable” in 2017 received the Certificate of Merit Student Award by the British Institute of Professional Photography.
“In today’s world of super artificial and processed foods, eating healthy is a huge challenge for many. People are always in a rush. We are feeding ourselves and our children with empty calories. Placing today with contrast of the past, I wanted to focus in ongoing issues in our society when it comes to the eating habits of our children. Many of us don’t think about it on a regular basis but I believe them to be a major problem for society in XXI century.” – M. Walczak
“MOTHER’S LITTLE MODELS”
To bring this project to life, Walczak had to step into two roles: a photographer and a mother. The result is a captivating series of children’s portraits, each child holding the vegetable they dislike the most. By dressing models in clothes from different decades, Walczak wanted to put the issue of nutrition and quality of food in the historical perspective and get back to times when people cherished simple and natural food and ways of life. This concept created an interesting dynamic of peaceful nostalgia contrasted by distasteful or disbelieving looks on the faces of innocent children.
“When it came to getting the facial expressions of my little models, it was surprisingly easy to achieve. After an earlier interview I bought vegetables and told them that they would have to eat them all. Sadness, surprise, disgust and disappointment appeared on their faces.” – M. Walczak
In her projects, Walczak tries to use very minimalist lighting. She uses natural ambient light complemented by a white umbrella and reflectors to bounce light in a certain direction. It allows her to obtain optimal lighting that complements the model which adds character to the set and overall composition.
“When I create my photographs, I want to see paths of light, lines, important details, texture, shapes of human bodies and the beauty of simplicity within a composition.” – M. Walczak
“A lot of props used in the series were rented or borrowed from friends. I actually have a quite big collection of various props and fashion accessories that I have acquired over the years. Always looking for new things while visiting garage sales and car boots sales. When I see a certain object I instantly “see the story” attached to them. I can quickly visualize it and turn it into the photo composition.” – M. Walczak
GEAR AND POSTPRODUCTION
“I used a Nikon D610 to photograph the series. As far as post-production, I used some Photoshop but I always try to keep to the necessary minimum.” – M. Walczak
All images courtesy ©Magdalena Walczak