Art can be distant and personal at the same time. Photography has the same effect but the work of Kyle Waszkelewicz is something else. His images are the product of passion and a hunger for self-expression. What he can't say in words, he does with his photographs. It's not merely a passing scene, it's a glimpse of that exact moment frozen in time along with the emotions and thoughts that conceived it. Read on to learn more about Kyle, why he shoots, and what photography means to him.
Hello, Kyle! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Thanks for having me! I’m a photographer and filmmaker originally from the woods of Connecticut now living in Brooklyn.
Tell us about your photographic journey. How did you get into it?
I was in art school focused on filmmaking but was looking for a different outlet. Making a film, even a small one, takes a lot of time and a lot of people and I was getting really frustrated with that. I needed something purer - that could be just me and I could explore or express whatever simple thing I felt like at the time and see results immediately. I knew some of the filmmakers I looked up to had started in photography and my older brother had been really interested in it so I gave it a try. I thought shooting on film was much cooler and more legitimate than digital, probably because all these movies I loved were shot on film, so I ‘borrowed’ a 35mm camera from my brother and started messing around.
When did you realize that photography was for you?
I don’t think there was any conscious realization but it definitely fit me well right from the start. I can be pretty contemplative and observant anyway, and holding a camera works for that. And compared to filmmaking the immediacy and simplicity of it was really, really refreshing. So it stuck.
How would you define photography?
Capturing particular light at a particular time for a particular reason.
What's your favorite thing about it?
The authenticity of it. Knowing that this light actually existed even if just for a moment somehow makes the image more magical and affecting.
What do you think are the best ways to stay creative?
I wish I had a good answer for this! Just being present as much as you can - paying attention to the world around you and staying mindful of what affects you and how you’re feeling. If it’s about sparks of inspiration then you have to be keeping an eye out because they can come from little things. So yeah, just paying attention.
I can get pretty moody sometimes and when I stay aware of those feelings and accept them I find a lot of energy there that can lead to beautiful things. If that makes any sense. When you’re in the dark the little glimmers of light become more noticeable and important.
Are there artists/photographers that influence you heavily?
There are always people inspiring me with their honesty or their style or just their attitude towards it all. Lukasz Wierzbowski. Ed Templeton, and Toby Harvard are some names I can think of right now, each for different reasons.
As we said in your feature, your photographs look honest and real. How did you achieve that kind of effect in your work?
I think they just come from a really genuine place. It’s all about the mood or feeling a shot conveys. The things I photograph are things I’ve responded to emotionally and am trying to capture or represent, if for nothing else than to remind myself.
What's your favorite subject? Do you have a favorite subject?
Fleeting light, like the kind that comes in through a window and hits a wall for just a second. Those little instances you just want to protect or preserve in some way.
Describe your style in three words.
Contemplative, quiet, lonely maybe?
Who or what would you say is the greatest inspiration in your work?
I have borderline personality disorder which basically ensures I’ll never have a shortage of moodiness or strong emotions, and dealing with it has taught me to be very mindful of how I’m feeling and reacting. It’s also a big factor in the themes I like to explore since it affects my life and how I see the world so much.
What's the most memorable photo you've seen?
It’s a film still. From L’Avventura, of Monica Vitti standing on this rocky island, her hair blowing wildly in the wind, with this amazing expression on her face. There’s something so mesmerizing about it, it immediately sucks you in.
Does gear matter when it comes to putting out quality content?
Not really. Not in the sense like, if only you had this camera or whatever you’d be a better photographer. Of all the things that go into it, specific equipment isn’t that important. The camera I use most often is still the one I started on, and the photos I’ve gotten out of it have changed as I’ve evolved.
What do you think is more important -- talent or skill?
Talent is a hard thing to nail down, but I think strong inspiration and lots of work are more important than technical skill.
How do you think photography will evolve in the next five to ten years?
Eventually, brain implants will be able to capture exactly what our eyes send to our visual cortex and send that to other brain implants, and we won’t spend so much time struggling to translate what we see into something communicable.
If you could collaborate with an artist/photographer/group, who would it be and why?
Mike Mills comes to mind, though I don’t know what the project would be. He can cram so much universal stuff about being a person into the simplest things, and maybe some of that rubs off on whoever he works with. He just fucking gets it.
Any upcoming projects? What's next for you?
I’m working on a photo book that will be coming out very soon. It’s about those subtle and fragile moments of beauty and light I was just talking about, that become so important to notice when the world looks bleak.
What are your hobbies outside of photography?
Skateboarding’s been a big part of my life. Doing puzzles, like crosswords while stuck on the train. And I like playing weird artsy or well-written video games.
What does a perfect day look like for Kyle Waszkelewicz?
Something relaxing and recharging. Wake up late. Take a relaxing drive through the woods keeping an eye out for some deer. Be near water. Then spend a good amount of the day meeting new dogs and playing with them.
If you could pick one thing to replace photography with, what would it be?
Maybe the power to control time? As long as I could eventually start taking photos again when I was done.
What was most influential advice you've received?
“Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
Any message for our readers?
Try not to compare yourself to others too much. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. Also, everyone should get more sleep.