Experience

Talent Show: Piotr Karpinski

British photographer of Polish descent Piotr Karpinski became known to the wider public after he was featured in the guide New Artists in the UK 2015. This year, he won the BJP Breakthrough 2016 award. Bird In Flight asked him to show his best photographs and tell us about himself.
Piotr Karpinski

Born in Poland, moved to Great Britain in 2006. Studied photography at Farnborough College of Technology and Middlesex University. In 2014, was featured in The Catlin Guide 2015|New Artists in the UK. Was selected for a number of group exhibitions including the exhibition organized by The Royal Photographic Society. First solo show “Let’s Talk about Life & Death Darling” was held in London in 2015. Piotr’s work has been selected for Creative Review The Photography Annual 2015. The winner of a Breakthrough Award 2016 by The British Journal of Photography.

I just want to be happy. That is the primary reason I decided to be a photographer. It is hard for me to imagine being happy and not doing photography at all. I was always thinking of becoming one. I was like eight when I got my first camera, a Polaroid. And I quickly realized that it’s insane, mental, and absolutely genius to be able to record what your eyes can see. It is like taking a sample of a reality around you and making a copy of it — I find it crazy cool. I guess I decided on it when I realized that it was time to prepare some photography portfolio which would allow me to get a place at a university years after. It was a slow and natural process. There was no lightning burning my home and leaving only me and my camera alive.

I quickly realized that it’s insane, mental, and absolutely genius to be able to record what your eyes can see.
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The photo below is titled Katarimukha Mudra as Death. Mudra is a symbolic or ritual hand gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. One of the meanings of the spiritual sign of Katarimukha mudra, known as scissors, is “Death.”

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What makes me different from others is the way I see stuff around me I guess. The individual perception of everything. I am a human with a mortal body like all of us. I am fascinated with Life and Death so I think of those much more than a regular person I believe. I am made of contrasts. I love contrasts in life, art and photography — visually and on a conceptual level. Introvert and extrovert in one with the entire package attached to those. I have a bipolar personality I would say — and it reflects in my work.

I have a bipolar personality I would say — and it reflects in my work.
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I feel like I am photographing ideas and concepts rather than people. I shoot pictures about Life, Death, and Time. Time is my biggest inspiration. Observing its consequences fascinates me — including Death and Life — those mixing together all the time and everywhere. What is always behind the image is a thought. Thoughts behind my photographs are my own concerns and fascinations, I use photography to record them. I depict my own states of mind when creating a picture often, even if it looks like a portrait of someone else. I am interested in memento mori as a theme in visual art and I think that it is a big part of my work as well. I like codes and metaphors — photography allows me to operate them using visual language. I am fascinated with “never”, “forever” and “always”. I photograph because it’s my way of expressing myself.

I depict my own states of mind when creating a picture often, even if it looks like a portrait of someone else.
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