Documenting the crippling realities sex workers in Chiang Mai are subjected to for his gradation project, Jarek Kotomski is the young Ukrainian photographer who wants to make a difference.
Shooting his first reel of film in his early teens whilst on a trip to Berlin with his father, 26-year-old E8 London based Jarek instantly fell in love with photography. Learning to refine and perfect his skills by trial and error and completing a BA in photography at LCC whilst assisting and working full-time, Jarek’s hard graft has finally paid off. Selected as artist-in-residence for an international brand who showcased his portfolio to a launch party of over 1000 people, he is now a fully fledged professional photographer. Fully focused upon getting his work out there, Jarek is regularly commissioned to shoot look books and editorials for an array of designers and magazines.
Crisp, sharp and multi-dimensional, the aesthetic captured on Jareck’s digital SLR reveals his need to challenge the dynamic between subject and photographer. Preferring to impose a character of his own choosing upon an individual, he does not strive to reinterpret the personality of whoever he finds before his lens, thus allowing his pictures to be exciting, composed and completely unique. i-D Online caught up with Kotomski to find out where and who he’s looking towards for inspiration right now.
What single image has had the greatest impact upon your work? It’s too difficult to choose a single image… ‘Rain’ series by Erwin Olaf and the work of Gregory Crewdson had a great impact on me in the early stages.
And which individual? Actually, discovering the paintings of Edward Hopper had probably the most profound influence on my photography – especially his lighting and composition, but also the beautiful, involuntary detachment of his subjects.
How do you define beauty? I can’t define it, it’s too personal. I can feel it, but my response to the very notion of it keeps changing as years go by and I find myself drawn to new mysteries.
What can you tell about the way a person feels about himself or herself through the way they pose for a photograph? I generally agree with Richard Avedon: portrait is, in most cases, a performance on both sides. I like it when my subject is a confident performer, but many people are camera shy – and that’s immediately apparent in their body language. Some of them think they’re confident but the camera disagrees. That usually presents an interesting challenge for the photographer. It’s essential to observe and tune-in with your subject.
Who is your hero? People with untamed imagination and enough balls to make a difference.
How do you feel when the lens is turned on you? Too self-conscious to be comfortable.
Who are your top five favourite photographers?
1. Philip-Lorca diCorcia
2. Sølve Sundsbø
3. Billy and Hells
4. Vincent Fournier
5. Nadav Kander