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Where Is the Line Between Art and Perversion?

Polish photographer Paweł Tkaczyk doesn't really care about that.

by Paweł Tkaczyk
15 August 2014, 6:00am

words Ana Zalewska

Up until recently, Paweł Tkaczyk was a Polish self-taught painter. Apparently that wasn't enough of a release however, so about a year ago he got to trying his hand at photography too. Pawel says you're more than welcome to hate his work – the important thing is that he makes it.

I kinda like it, so with his latest exhibition at Studio Las in Warsaw in mind, I called him up for a chat.

VICE: So far you were known mostly as a painter. What made you get into photography?
Paweł Tkaczyk: It got to a point, where I didn't have to prove to anyone that I know how to paint, so I decided to stop painting in a realist manned and developed my skills at abstractionism. And then after doing that for some time I realised, that I missed figurative painting. So I looked at photography as a mean of expressing myself. I found it filled the gap perfectly.

So you prefer to take pictures of people rather than pictures of things?
I don't really have a preference; one is different from the other. When I shoot objects it's a simply pictorial story, like painting still lifes. When I shoot a person it's more of a confrontation, a challenge. I like to test myself on my ability to get people to cooperate with me. Sometimes I deliberately set my mind to an extreme idea, knowing straight away that it won't be easy to talk anyone into doing it. But most of the time I make it happen.

How do you approach the people you photograph?
I went to some exhibition opening the other day and met this girl there that I decided to talk into taking her clothes of. In the public space, in the middle of the day, surrounded by all those people. She did it. She was not drunk or high.

But I always tell people my story – who am I, what I do, what I'm interested in. I show them the pictures I take and the ones that inspire me. Building trust is important. Giving a little context helps people to think of my ideas as artistic, rather than perverted.

Do you ever think about how the public will react to your pictures?
I don't really care about that. What's important for me is to show my point of view. The viewer can take whatever they want out of it and think of it in whatever they wish to. I like violence, erotic subjects and pornography. If my photos were different I couldn't say they were "mine". Everything I do is of the topmost quality; I give everything I've got doing what I do.

Do you develop your photos yourself?
I feel it is a waste of time, I prefer to use that time bringing new ideas into life. I tried doing it myself, but I prefer to have it done by the laboratory. I get unretouched photos from them and it's up to me to decide if I want to leave any technical flaws and dirt on them. I consider those imperfections an added value to the final composition.

You can see more of Pawel's work here.

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Pawel Tkaczyk