The Hidden Meaning in Wiktor Malinowski’s works

Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine

Wiktor Malinowski is a talented photographer and graphic designer from Warsaw. Wiktor has a lot of facets which shape his philosophical approach. The path from starting his way as an economist, rethinking the Industrial Revolution to photography to graphic design and back to fashion photography. Wiktor’s sense of fashion genre is unpredictable as the fashion industry itself.

There is a certain statement behind the photograph that is shaped by the architecture of the city, colors, and patterns in a cinematic storytelling form. Read on to find out why Wiktor considers himself as a total opposite of Jean-Paul Belmondo’s character in Breathless.

Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine
Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine

Hi Wiktor! Tell about this morning, what were you doing?

I was at the airport. Hugging and saying goodbye to the most wonderful woman in the world.

You have a lot of experience as an Art Director. What is the design language that most defines you as a professional in this sphere? What do you love in design?

I have a very complicated relationship with design. It began as a rational decision to keep working in a visual field and still being able to make money out of it. I was always more interested in painting and taking photographs, but we all know how hard it's to pay our bills. That is how I started to work in advertising agencies which was a kind of a dark time. I was extremely unhappy, to be honest, but during that period I’ve learned about the importance of conceptual thinking, making a good research, a communicative role of a picture and first of all working in a group. Then I have started to work on my own, occasionally joining studios for some big projects, my work started to be appreciated, and I fell in love with Design.

After all of those years, I have lost wide interest in graphic, madly trying to live from photographs. That is why I’ve limited my approach to very clear and transparent solutions in visual communication. Nowadays, I consider myself more as a content architect in that field. For example, at this moment I’m finishing the website for photographers representation. My work must be nearly invisible and still telling a proper story to a proper recipient.

A lot of times you are capturing faces with fascinating stares of people looking at your camera. What story are you trying to tell through the eyes of the people?

I’m just letting them be themselves or who they want to be. It’s all about how you approach people. I would even say that progress in shooting portraits is about developing yourself as a human. You need to be more empathic, open and honest to actually capture something fascinating in people.

Do you think studying economics helps you out in your current activities in life?

Maybe with some basic understanding of a market. I’m not merging my education with the subject of my photographs. I was fascinated with works of Salgado and once even tried to document the life of homeless people in London, but I’ve given it up, it’s not my thing. The most important thing is that studying economics reshaped me from a naive capitalist into totally left thinking person. Especially the subject of my Bachelor - the Industrial Revolution in England - made myself into an opponent of any kind of economic exploitation.

Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine

What are your hobbies? What do you love doing in your spare time during the evenings?


"I love music! Maybe even more than image, but I’ve never had any talent in playing an instrument or compose. That is why I’m a dancer, and I must say that I love that disco came back to clubs mixed with electronic. Music is also my main inspiration for everything that I’m doing".

Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine
Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine

Who is your favourite movie character?


"Michel from Breathless! I love the movie, and aside from the fact that Belmondo is actually playing a criminal, I was impressed by his approach to life. He just didn’t care about anything. Leaving his stuff anywhere, smoking cigarettes everywhere and taking everything he wanted. Probably it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m his total opposite".

Wiktor Malinowski by WUL Magazine

Sports or no to sports?

I was a big sports person! I was playing basketball since I was 8 till I was 16 when I had a spine injury, and that was the end of my 'career'. Then I was riding BMX Flatland, and it's sad to say that in the last years the weekend dancing is my only one sports activity.

The decade you find most unattractive in fashion?

Was there any to be honest? I think that this unattractive decade will come if people will start to be interested in one kind of uniform for all of the people on earth.

You won several awards in 2013-2014 for your designs. Tell about the most memorable moment that is connected to those events.

You’ve made a good research! Among all, I think that the most important one was being a part of the creative and design team that worked on the Polish Diacritics campaign. It was one of the loudest and the most honest social campaign in Poland. We have changed the language in nearly all of the mass media for one day by taking away the diacritics. It made the communication not understandable. This is how people write to each other with instant messages on their phones - without diacritics. We have received many awards during international festivals like Gold Drum and Cannes Lions.

What are you experimenting now with photography? To what path do you think your style evolves?

I’m working a lot with fashion nowadays trying to combine documental approach with this very visual language. Storytelling began to be much more important for me in photography, and I’m trying to put some hidden meaning in my works.

What is your favorite moment in working on a photograph?

The moment in which I forgot where I am and what I’m doing, this moment of the total focus on work.

Why 35mm, what are you achieving in your works by using this format?

I’m using a medium format very often, but 35mm is my format of choice (except that I’m not a fan of 2:3 proportion) because it has much more to do with how I see and memorize people and moments. Medium format is too sharp and hyperrealistic, and I’m losing a lot of great photographs because it’s not that mobile and fast as 35mm.

What are you working on now?  

I’ve teamed up with an extremely talented stylist Charlotte Tomaszewska (that I consider more as an artist), we’ve just finished a very Polish fashion story that is going to be published in a British magazine. We are also working on a project that is a deep exploration of space between fashion and documentary that we’re planning to self-publish at the end of a year.