BEAUTY & FASHION CATEGORY WINNER
Originally from Poland, Ireland-based photographer Michal Baran explores fashion and beauty in his portraits.
© MICHAŁ BARAN
What first got you interested in photography?
I was exposed to photography from a very young age, as my father was an amateur photographer. I used to be fascinated with his dark room and the process of developing pictures. I always liked playing with a camera, and after a few years of working different jobs, I decided to give photography a proper try.
What is your background in photography?
I am self-trained and I have no formal education in photography or visual arts. I graduated in computer science and worked as a web and graphic designer before I found my way back to photography. I just felt comfortable with a camera in my hands, became obsessed with light, and thought about photography all the time.
It’s really important to me to be present during photo sessions. I try to bring my heart and soul to the session and connect with my subject.
How would you describe your photographic style?
For me the purpose of photography is as much about making images as it is about telling stories. After experimenting in different genres of photography, my own natural inclination and sensitivity as a photographer lies in portraiture. It’s really important to me to be present during photo sessions. I try to bring my heart and soul to the session and connect with my subject. I feel my style has developed over the years, not by looking at other photographers’ blogs or worrying about what other people are doing but by having a strong relationship with my customers and talking to them over time about what best represents them, their work or their product visually. My clients inspire me more than anyone else to create images that are unique and meaningful.
What is your Masters series about?
We are entering an era of virtual reality, an unprecedented innovation in human history where you can transform the self and experience anything the creator can fathom. My project is about experimenting in these new worlds using hair and fashion and exploring this innovation of technology where every element of the environment is carefully constructed. I’d like the viewer to not only think about the benefits of virtual reality, such as the beauty, the style, and the escapism, but also to look beyond the surface and form a deeper understanding of this new technology.
How was your experience using a Hasselblad medium format camera for carrying out your project?
I knew that the Hasselblad medium format camera of this class was going to produce photos of fantastic quality with plenty of details thanks to the super sharp lens and big high-resolution sensor. What came with a bit of a surprise was actually how good the dynamic range was. It was beyond my expectations (which were already very high) and gave a lot of flexibility during the editing part of the project. The iPad connectivity feature was also unexpectedly useful during this project, allowing me to be in the center of the action, working on lights, positions and all the details without having to be more than a few steps away behind the viewfinder at all times. All in all, it was a great experience using a Hasselblad H6D-50 for this project.