I like roughness and honesty in the visual language
Jagoda Wiśniewska, a Switzerland based photographer, is known for her works with magazines, exhibitions, and online features. Jagoda worked with Hermès, Swarowski, Studio XYZ and was featured in Vogue Italia, AYEMAG and others.
Jagoda Wiśniewska tells WÜL on a personal attitude towards relocation, her favorite films, and the factors that influence her. Read about her latest series ‘Czarna Madonna’, how to work with big clients, and an advice to young photographers. Jagoda is currently working on her own publication.
I have first relocated from my hometown Bydgoszcz after graduating high school. First time moving away from home and abroad to Edinburgh, Scotland. After almost 7 years that I spent in Edinburgh, I have then moved to Lausanne in Switzerland. It was a cultural shock indeed, as living in the UK is very, very different. I think that of course the environment you live in influences your work and it did influence mine. I have to say that it was mostly because of ECAL and the people I met and worked with in Switzerland that played a role in what and how I work.
What would make you move to another country today?
"I don’t have a huge attachment to physical place, so moving away isn’t a big deal for me really. I guess if I move to another country now it would be for a good reason like love or work".
You are a young photographer active for several years. What are the struggles for emerging young photographers today? What is your advice to them?
Oh, I love to be called a young photographer at the age of 31 True that I am relatively young on the photo scene... I think that everyone who works in the creative industry faces some kind of struggles, that is the part of the game. It is not the easiest market, but I believe that if you work hard and are actively pushing yourself both creatively and professionally you can make it work just fine.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Tough of! Of course, there could be so many answers to this question... I think I would like people to be more open-minded to one another.
The appearance of the body as awkward seems to be a recurring theme in “Czarna Madonna”. What is special about this element?
I worked a lot with the physicality of people I photographed for this project because I wanted to represent the conflicting dynamics between the subjects. I trusted that the most evident way to do it is through physicality, body contact, touch, and gestures. I was very much into performativity and tried to play with this theatrical language.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Usually, in my own head that is beforehand influenced by what I see around me, read or listened to.
A movie that has affected you the most? How?
There are many films that had an impact on me but to name a few titles I would say Trainspotting, Die Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei, Pulp Fiction, Lost in Translation, or Wojna Polsko-Ruska. Those movies were our reference when growing up, something that often reflected what we thought or did when me and my friends were 18-19 years old. I also love more classic Polish movies such as Dekalog or Three Colors by Krzysztof Kieślowski and all kinds of documentaries!
For those who don’t know you, how would you describe your style?
"I would say that I like roughness and honesty in the visual language I use in my images. I don't really like to use certain categorisation of photography, but if it helps someone to grasp what he sees then fair enough - I often like to manipulate photographic documents".
It seems you put a great deal of attention to the way emotions are presented in the photographs. Do you find it easier to direct people you know or models and why?
It depends on the relationship I have with the people I photograph and on their own mental plasticity and openness to what we can do. When I work with someone I know I am more direct with them. In the end, it is all up to them if they go for it or not in front of my camera.
You have worked with clients like Hermès, Swarovski or many design studios. What is the guiding principle for you to create work for a client? How is it different from making photographs in personal projects?
Usually, the guiding principle when working with clients is to do something you like despite having a strict brief that often is far away from what you wanted to do. In the end, you want to be happy with what you created and you want to do your job well as requested. This certainly differs from client to client. Some leave you a total freedom some give you a detailed brief. I guess it can be compared to working on your own projects, as you have to also give yourself a brief and direction or leave yourself a total freedom. Both ways are fun!
If you would pick a color that best represents your works what would it be?
Black is the color I love throughout, but if I had to choose a color that represents my works it would be a rainbow - so a big MIX.
What makes you happy?
Travelling, especially in my van with my partner with whom I discover new places and spend most of our time out in nature. Also, when I see clear aims in my life and when I work on inspiring projects, that makes me really happy too!
Day or night?
What will be your next big project?
I am currently putting a new small publication together under the title Never. Rarely. where I worked with text and photographs around the subject of ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder. This is a project that I partially worked on during a workshop at Ahorn books in Berlin with Christian Patterson. I am really excited to share it soon.