Photographer Spotlight (lucky) #13: Jarek Duk
This time we get the pleasure of focusing our photographer spotlight on the wonderful Jarek Duk; a man who certainly knows the fashion industry.
I’ve been all over the place since I was 19. I left Poland and went to the States; lived in Miami and New York and worked for a cruise line for a good few years. I travelled the world going to beautiful places which inspired me to take pictures. I got my first professional camera when I was on a cruise ship, started playing around with it and that was the beginning.
What kind of photographer would you describe yourself as?
I mostly shoot fashion and advertising pretty much exclusively.
What cameras and equipment do you usually use?
My first camera was a Minolta – that was a film SLR. From then I had their very first digital camera. Many people might not know that when the first Canon and Nikon came out that there was also a Minolta. After that I did actually switch to Canon and I’ve shot Canon ever since!
To be honest I’m at that stage where I’m not that fussy about equipment. You learn to understand that it is just a tool. It’s good for ergonomics obviously; you just know by heart where all the buttons are and do all the adjustments without thinking about it. When it becomes second nature you can focus on the important stuff like the creative process and interaction with whoever is in front of the lens. That, for me, is far more important than the equipment you use.
Which subject is your favourite to shoot?
I love fashion and I shoot what I shoot because it’s what I like in general. I like the creative industry; I like the people that work in fashion. I like how dynamic and how high-energy that environment is and it just shoots perfectly.
Which photographers have inspired you most?
From the current ones; Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Erik Almas. Then my classic favourites would be Peter Lindbergh and Helmut Newton.
Is there a shoot or personal project you’ve been working on recently?
I’m in the process of discussing a personal project; it doesn’t have a shape or form yet as I’m so busy but it’s an idea! A client friend of mine has a textiles factory and I thought it would be cool to do a fashion shoot there. Barbour have done something similar quite recently and I really liked the concept so I thought I might do my version of it. The roots of fashion; people don’t normally think as far as the factory because it’s not glamorous but this is where it all begins.
Has your shoot or project been Studio based or out on location?
In the fashion world, if you shoot a campaign you tend to be on location and then e-commerce is 99% studio based. Simply because of the volume of collections coming in that need to be shot.
Can you tell us some of the locations you have shot across the world, what was your favourite and why?
I don’t really travel that much for work because there’s so much work in London. In Europe you have Paris, London and Milan – the three dream cities for any fashion photographer.
What’s been your most memorable moment on a shoot or during your career?
I think it’s the moment I decided that this is what I want to do in life. I actually have a masters degree in sports science – another passion of mine – but there reached a point where these two couldn’t co-exist anymore so I had to make the call of either/or. The call was photography and I didn’t look back.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work or process?
To anyone starting out in photography: have a clear goal. Make sure that everything you do brings you closer to that goal. If it doesn’t, don’t waste your time with it. If you want to be a fashion photographer, just shoot fashion. You might not be amazing at the beginning but at least it gives you a sense of direction. Then, with time, the clients will get better and the budgets will get higher!
Check out more of Jarek’s photography here!