Born and raised in Krakow, Poland, Bartlomiej Kurela found his passion for the arts at an early age. By the time his family moved to Chicago in 2002, he had already experienced working in stage acting, modeling, playing oboe at the Music School in Krakow, and even playing with a professional Polish soccer team. In 2007, Bartlomiej decided to further pursue his interest in acting and attended the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA). He had the opportunity not only to learn in the classroom but also worked for the association gaining experience assisting with IMTA conventions, organizing fashion shows, training runway models, as well as conducting workshops for R.E.M.
Taking his modeling interest to the next level, Bartlomiej enrolled with HOP Modeling Agency where he had the chance to work with some amazing talent and attended and judged conventions like Pro Scout, Launch, and a Polish talent show, Revia Talentów. It was there that he found his true passion: photography. He enrolled at Wright College and specialized in black and white and digital photography. Employing his knack for creative experimentation, he was recognized by a professor for his unique vision of photography and graduated with his Associates of Arts in Photography in 2010. He has collaborated with the Polish News, like Fakty Chicago, doing photo journalism. All too familiar with the nuances of the local industry, Bartlomiej decided to branch out on his own to form his own photography business in order to highlight the hidden talent within Chicago and the surrounding vicinity. Even though he is working on his photography business, Bartlomiej still makes time for one of his first passions, acting.
Which place do you call home?
Chicago is now home, but I was born and raised in Krakow Poland, so I guess I can say I have two homes.
Are you self taught or schooled?
Little bit of both, I went to school and took few photography classes for film and digital and then decided that the rest I will learn on my own and probably most of the things I learned from making the right mistakes
How did you get into photography?
It all happened around 2009/2010 when my dad bought me my first camera Canon 50d and I was learning how to be a modeling agent at a local agency here in Chicago, I guess I loved my new toy too much that every chance I had while working was to take digitals and start testing with new models that were available. Soon after I realized my dream was not to be a agent… and started building my portfolio since. First with girls trying to do modeling to eventually having a pleasure to work with amazing models from Factor Women and Ford Models in Chicago.
How long have you been a photographer?
Id rather say how long I have been shooting, rather than how long I have been a photographer because that need to be earned and I still have a lot to prove and experience.
So yeah probably around 5 years or so since I shot my first image
As you look through the viewfinder, what is the most critical moment in capturing your image?
The right moment
How would you describe your style?
Evolving within time I don’t like to stick with one type for too long because I get bored but I must admit one thing that wont change is the love for dark and contrasty black and white images
What do you think makes a truly memorable photo?
Right time and moment, I strongly believe that the most amazing photographs are not planned but captured
We know each of us has someone or something that inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
The model, I always try to find an inspiration within them, if you keep on shooting for a long time sometime people have a tendency to lost the spark in their work or do it just for the money…. I think that’s they key problem with a lot of amazing photographers that just settled for ok instead of going for glory…. For me truly each model that I have a pleasure of working with is an inspiration in one-way or another.
What’s the craziest/funniest thing that ever happened in one of your shoots?
I mean I always try not to have my shoots serious, so mostly they are filled with laughs but probably the funniest one would be when I was shooting outside by the beach and slipped on one of the rocks…. Falling in to the water yet holding the camera in my hand so it wouldn’t get wet…. The model instead of helping lol couldn’t stop laughing…..
What photographers from the past or present have influenced you the most?
Richard Avedon, Viktor Skrebneski, Sandro, and Herb Ritts because when you are looking at their work you can see pieces of themselves within their images.
What has been your favorite photo location or session?
Definitely my studio and cities around Chicago, but probably that will change within the next few months of traveling
And regarding sessions I rarely ever not love a shoot unless someone just has a terrible attitude
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
Canon 5d Mark 2 but once ill build a dark room in the house definitely start using my Mamiya C3
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
Probably my 70-200 Canon lens, because it allows me to be close enough to capture a beautiful headshot and be far away to get an amazing moment….
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
Took me a minute to think about it but to be honest…probably my backpack that can fit all my lenses and two cameras yet still remain small.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
Depending on a shoot, but I try to stay away from changing the images too much, mostly just to remove any blemishes… or unwanted pieces of hair…
How important is a website and social media for your business?
Really important, I treat my website almost as my second home, always looking at it trying to improve it, change the images order and figure out what can I shoot next to make it better.
Regarding social media, honestly instagram and tumblr are my favorite and im still learning how to use the full potential of them
Do you listen to music while doing your shooting? If so, what are you playing right now?
We always play music at our shoots but it really depends on the model what he or she likes to listen too, when I shoot I kind of am in a zone and rarely ever pay attention to it, unless its like hard metal….. then no it wont stick lol
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Learn as much as you can from classes but at the same time don’t follow anyone’s footsteps, do your own things, yeah it might take longer but at the end you will know you did it all on your own
What lies ahead for you?
Hopefully a great and colorful life filled with amazing shoots all around the world
website: Bartlomiej Kurela