Iwona Pinkowicz: Facial Expressions in Street Photography

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All images by Iwona Pinkowicz. Used with permission.

Photographer Iwona Pinkowicz is a London based street photographer takes a special interest in facial expressions. She’s only been shooting for a little over a year, but has earned the recognition of the famous Street Photography London (SPL)–which is run by Nicholas Goodden. And just think: for a while she believed that she wasn’t good enough.

Iwona works in digital marketing during the day and on her daily commute shoots photos.  “Photographing in public has changed the way I see the world.” says Iwona. “I’m more awake and aware than ever before, always in search of interesting people or situations to capture. I see life through the lens everywhere I go, even when I don’t have my camera with me!”

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

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Iwona: I’ve always had an interest in photography but never really thought I was good enough to do it seriously. For years I only used my camera phone to shoot and upload photographs onto Facebook and Instagram to share with my family and friends. It was around springtime last year that my fiancé finally convinced me to buy my first DSLR camera. That was just before my first trip to the USA which is where my photography journey really began.

Phoblographer: What made you want to get into street photography?

Iwona: On holiday in California I read a book called “Understanding Exposure” by Brian Peterson whilst practising a lot with my new camera. I shot everything from landscapes to people and animals to buildings. Back then I didn’t know what street photography was but did realise quite quickly that I was most drawn to photographing people. After I returned from holiday I started searching the web for things like “people photography” and soon discovered street photography. Back in September 2014 I went out for my first photo walk in Shoreditch, East London, and was hooked immediately. Just over a year later I’ve never felt such passion for anything as much as I do for street photography. I could go as far to say that I’m obsessed with it!

Phoblographer: Your work is very people centric–as it really should be. So what do you feel often attracts you to a scene or person to want to photograph them? Everyone has something interesting that they see.

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Iwona: I think the thing that attracts me the most is people’s’ faces. This is what I look out for when I shoot, interesting faces that tell stories. There isn’t any particular pattern to subjects I find interesting, it could be anyone. I do think however that I have a good gut instinct, so when I get that feeling inside I just know I have to press the shutter. Other things I look out for is interaction between people, for example hand gestures or facial expressions, and quirky clothing. I’m sure everyone sees someone or something interesting somewhere every day.

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Phoblographer: What do you generally like more, black and white or color? How do you feel one helps you tell the story you want to over the other?

Iwona: This is another area where I feel my gut instinct plays a part again. While post processing my photographs I always try both and then decide which one works best. When I started shooting street photography I often read that “real” street photography should only be shot in black and white. I was therefore converting all of my photos to black and white even though I sometimes felt that, by doing so, some of them lost their soul.

Phoblographer: What’s your everyday camera gear?

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Iwona: I shoot with a Canon 700D with a Sigma 30mm f1.4 prime lens.

Phoblographer:  Where are you favorite places to shoot?

Iwona: My favourite area in London has to be Shoreditch. The variety of people is incredible and I have never encountered any negative reactions while shooting there. Outside of London one of my favourite places to shoot has to be Kyoto. It has such a rich history and a fascinating culture!

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