Katarzyna & Marcin Owczarek have truly found each other as the perfect partners in crime, the Bonnie & Clyde of the photography scene. They complete each other in every way and without any argument, you can definitely retrieve this in their work. Magnificent. Like stepping into a fairy-tale, it just absorbs you, curious about the next move.
In their new series "My Heart Is An Animal" they're combining human and animal souls together, collided with the imaginary, while making us understand that we all have the same desires ...
They believe we’re all connected as one whole and should anticipate on this more often. So let yourself immerse in this enchanting world of surrealism through this interview here exclusively at Stitch. #wecallitstitch
Where did you get the idea for this project? What do you want to make people feel with this series?
The series is called "My Heart Is An Animal". The main inspiration and idea was the relationship between human beings and animals. It is a fact that people resemble animals and animals resemble humans (emotionally, physiognomically). We share the same set of needs - we need nourishment, we need to be loved and understood, we need warm and shelter, we are all limited by the mortal body, etc. ... We wanted to stress the fact that we often forget how deep we are connected together with animal/natural world and we do not treat this kind of connection in a proper way. Animals are being abused, some species are close to extinction. By linking human and animal elements together, we want to say: we are all one living organism and we should respect each other. When we use animal masks and human bodies, it also means that we share all these aspects of existence. In addition: our idea was our state of mind and particular way we observe the world. This series satellites around allegories, archetypes, symbols, myths which are always up-to-date. The pictures have metaphorical and symbolic connotations. Using animal heads as a symbol and referring to instincts might be interpreted on many different levels. Symbols have many deep dimensions, they are stronger than passing time. Our human-animal instincts are simply universal and will be visible as long as this world exists. To summarize: we want to transmit a serious message of living in coexistence with animals, plants, and harmony with nature. Respect each other and other human beings and the planet.
How is it like working as a photographers' couple? What are the pros and cons?
We are together for 11 years and since we met we were both interested in art. After so many years we spent together we understand each other without words and it helps a lot during our working process. We share similar sensibility and perceive the world in similar surrealistic way, so creating and inventing this kind of images is common for both of us. The advantage and disadvantage is that we are both perfectionist, so we also need to make many experiments before we achieve a certain satisfaction for both of our level/result. Not every picture is/was good, sometimes it must be repeated a few times, before you are satisfied with the final image. When we co-operate, we demand from each other a lot and perfect photographs. Our main criterion is to achieve perfection which we still learn. The advantage is that we also can combine our skills, experience and visual sensitivity. In this way, we created storytelling "My Heart Is An Animal".
If you could reincarnate in which animal would it be and why?
If we could reincarnate, Katarzyna's animal would be a Lynx - "Seer of the Unseen" gifted with the ability to see into other dimensions and into the hearts of others, able to "hear" thoughts. The keeper of secrets. As all cats, independent and trusting in instincts.
Marcin's animal would be a Wolf, since wolves symbolizes instincts, intelligence, appetite for freedom, ritual, loyalty, and pure spirit. Wolves teach us to trust our hearts and minds, and have control over our own lives. The wolf has the ability to make quick and firm emotional attachments.
Tell us a bit more about your workflow developing these reality-defying images!
We start from the conceptual part - when the impulse for creation appears, we summarize it in a few sentences and make sketches in our notebook. Then we set off for the trip to find the best place, visually attractive place which corresponds with our sketch/ideas. Next step is to introduce to our model, who is Katarzyna's father (the perfect person with theatrical skills for this kind of photography), upcoming ideas for new work(s), just to prepare him for posing and give him time to adapt to the situation. After a few days, we start the photo session. The model is prepared, he knows the idea of the new work and the way we want to present it. The animal used are either handmade masks, which we make on our own or masks available to purchase via internet. The post production takes a few hours. The biggest part was done during the shooting, the suitable lightning (in the morning, evening or in the studio), modelling. The post production steps are for example: adding contrast, sharpening image a bit if necessary, using special filters to change the colors/tonality and make them look surreal ... to present our unique hand-writing.
Do you have any upcoming projects/exhibitions we should know about?
We will have an upcoming solo exhibition at ARTCO Galerie in Aachen, Germany. The show will start on 24.11.2017 and will run until 26.01.2018. We invite you to come and see our works in real life. Regarding projects, we just started a new series called "INVISIBLES" and we still work on a conceptual spectrum of this project.
How does a day in your lives look like non-photography related?
Apart from being a photographer, Katarzyna is also designer and she works for international Dutch C&A clothing company. Marcin is a self-employed full-time photographer. To be honest we are partly always related to photography and there is no non-photography. Our other interests are travelling, but when we travel we always have our cameras with us. Books, but when we read we imagine and make new sketches in our notebooks. We have a cat whose name is "Ulisses" and even when we play with our cat we take pictures of him. We share the opinion, that when you work in the professional field of art/photography your entire life is dedicated to taking photographs, the camera is always next to you. It is an addiction, not to miss the right moment. In the same way, a writer always has his pencil with him.
Which music would you choose to accompany these images? Name one song that fits it all!
Nick Cave And Warren Ellis - The Proposition.