{ Interview } Jedrek Kostecki: From Warsaw with Love

{ Jedrek Kostecki is a photographer from Warsaw, Poland. A self proclaimed hobbyist, Kostecki primarily shoots women. In this interview we talk about his interest in photography, the brain dumps of social media and the out of touch nature of men’s magazines and the adult entertainment world. Like in his photography, Kostecki is honest and doesn’t pull any punches. }

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Jedrek Kostecki, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on. We’re a blog that tackles the issues around nudity and sexuality in art and entertainment. You shoot many different things in your photography; from graffiti to animals to landscapes and everything in between. But, you also shoot women, many of which are either nude or not wearing much. Where did your interest in shooting women come from? Could you tell us about your motivations for specifically shooting women in the nude, was it a transition that happened naturally?
Thanks. To be totally honest, I’m a bit surprised to be here. Photography is strictly my hobby and I try not to take it too seriously.

I started like a lot of people, shooting here and there, like all those people on the internet who talk about “covering lens length” and “walk-around lenses”. Had a bit of a fling with bird photography in 2005-2006, now the only pictures I don’t take with my iPhone are of girls. The transition was natural, although I took some photography courses that helped me along and made me realize that to be good at anything, you need to do it, so I stopped doing everything else. If you see a landscape up on my flickr, know that I shot it during a shoot or while scouting a location.

Many photographers and models I talk to about the subject talk about the freedom they feel when doing nude work. For many it seems like a release against the norms of society telling us to cover up. What are your thoughts on this? Is there something cathartic about the process for you?
I don’t read that much into it. It sure does free me up from organizing production-style shoots, which has to be the biggest pain in the ass when you’re a hobbyist. Models, makeup, wardrobe, studio time, etc. Now it’s just me and the model, sometimes they bring a friend, but that’s it. At a shoot, everybody but me and the model is dead weight. I also work almost exclusively with women who don’t pose or have never posed before. There’s a handful of girls who model in the half a hundred women I’ve shot. It’s so great working with people who don’t have “looks” or styled poses, sometimes a bit challenging, but they’re usually a lot more enthusiastic and happy with the experience than the models I’ve worked with.

With the glamour look in men’s magazines feeding us what we should think beauty is, I’m interested to hear your take on beauty and what it means to you.
I’m sort of amazed men’s magazines are still around, I can’t imagine buying one for anything other than the articles. There is so much imagery of the female form (nude or not) available to us right now, the women of Playboy or Maxim are more like pictographs of what a 17 year old would imagine a grown women to be, than what they actually are. The women in Playboy are photographed like boxes of cereal and between the plastic surgery, make-up, lighting and digital retouching they stop being real and start becoming plastic. Major porn studios keep complaining about poor sales and the demise of traditional porn, maybe people just don’t want to see amazons faking orgasms with body builders?

Thankfully, there are so many alternatives right now. Lots of women and photographers who would never get any sort of exposure before the internet are rockstars. When’s the last time a pale girl with an A cup graced the cover of Playboy? The internet gives you realness, it shows you what people actually want to see instead of what someone thinks they want to see. The filter is removed, the barrier to entry lowered. I have images that have gotten tens of thousands of views, before the internet there was no way to get that kind of exposure but to give my images away to someone else to publish and distribute. Now I just upload my JPG and boom, it’s there.

You also get stuff like tumblr or blogspot or even facebook, which I both hate and love. I hate it because it removes content so far from its creators that you often spend serious time trying to track it back. I love it, because it’s pretty much other people’s brain dumps, with all their love, wisdom, beauty, ugliness and stupidity.

Are you optimistic about the future?
Why wouldn’t I be? Europe has never been safer, richer or freer. The change I’ve seen here in Poland in the past 20 years has been absolutely amazing. My personal life is pretty great, I haven’t had a model flake in months and I have three more trips planned this summer. What’s not to love?

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{ Thank you Jedrek Kostecki for the interview and the photos. }

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