My name is Monika Wanat, and I am an artist, photographer, and scientist. Most of my art is photography. As a scientist, I am a crystallographer, which can also be considered a form of photography, albeit focused on single molecules. Instead of visible light, I use X-rays, and the final "photograph" is developed through mathematical analysis of diffraction patterns and computational methods.
Photography is my lifelong passion that began in my childhood and has evolved in various directions, including a scientific approach. I love experimenting with different ideas and methods.
I didn't study photography. I am a self-learner, however, after years I took some classes to help me master my photography. Now, I also teach photography as the author of the newsletter "Artistic Lessons of Photography" which I create in cooperation with contemporary artists. In addition, I am the author of two photography courses: "Original and Consistent Photo Editing", "Creative Product Photography", and the e-book "How to Capture Beauty in the Frame? A subjective guide to Aesthetics in Photography. ". Courses, guides, and newsletters are currently available in Polish. I have plans to prepare the English version.
"This is art and no one has the right to decide otherwise."
Being a photographer often means being an artist. For many years, I have done a lot of art that was part of my Psyche art cycle. I didn't have the courage to say that out loud. I just posted these artworks online among many other pictures that I did, including commercial ones, and didn't tell the full story behind them. I was lucky because people around me appreciated me, saw my artwork as art, and encouraged me to go in an artistic direction. I created a separate brand under my name and surname, and within three months, after I started working actively as an artist, I received the New York Photography Award. My artworks are part of the group exhibition in the museum. I had an interview for ELLE Decoration, and I started my first collaboration with the art gallery.
If you read it now and feel the same, that you don't know if your work is art, don't hesitate! Don't wait until someone else notices you and tells you that. Don't doubt yourself.
Ideas related to my storytelling are always inspired by the life, emotions, and behavior of the person I photograph. My storytelling is emphatic. And by "person," I mean both humans and animals. I believe that animals have the right to their souls as often as we can observe their emotions and intelligence. I photograph people and animals the same way.
The winning artwork "Not for Us II" is part of a "Not for Us" cycle. I performed the artwork in Ovahimba village in Namibia. The tribe members did not pose for me, and I was looking for moments when they were unaware of the camera's presence. I wanted to capture everyday moments that are simply extraordinary in their ordinariness.
This particular artwork, "Not for Us II", is just a portrait of a boy looking at the preparation of aromatic smoke that would be used as a cleansing agent. By playing with light, I wanted to achieve the impression that the artwork was made in a photography studio. This was to emphasize the recallability of this moment.
For me, winning the award is a very important distinction because it happened three months after I officially started my artistic career. On the same day, I received an interesting opportunity that allowed me to expand my art. I am very grateful to the Jury for this award.
Discover and cultivate your aesthetic as it guides your artistic journey and acts as your compass. Experiment with different styles and approaches to refine your style. Delve into other art forms such as painting, sculpture, art installations, product designs, and interior design to enhance your photography. Analyze individual elements like colors, patterns, and textures for valuable insights and inspiration.
I am very careful with words of wisdom. The advice I can get can't just be applied in different situations. Success is not only hard work but also a bit of luck and current circumstances and possibilities. Always essential are hard work, patience, and not giving up. However, I would like to give some more "practical" and specific words of wisdom. So I would say that often I am actively looking for new possibilities. I'm applying for programs, and competitions, and looking for mentors. In this way, I have a lot of scientific achievements, including a ca. 45000 Euro award for my achievements. Now, I'm doing the same with photography, and the New York Photography Award is one of the first results.
Monika Wanat is an artist and photographer who specializes in crystallography. She teaches photography and is the author of photography courses, guides, and newsletters. She has been taking pictures since childhood and has a photo from Iceland in 2014 that she is proud of.
Read more about this article from Didi Hsu, Silver Winner from the 2023 New York Photography Awards!