Featured Photography – Marcin Wajda

Tell us a bit about the image?

It’s a self-portrait, me as a bloody pirate, har, har. I take lots of self-portraits, as a way of free training, and also to appease my inner narcissist I suppose.


What inspired you to take the shot?

I had a client who brought with him a shitload of props. Clothes, accessories, swords, guns, even a saddle. He got a call mid shoot and we had to end abruptly, so he asked if he can leave all this stuff. I said yes, I always say yes to free props. Then, as I still got the gear set up, I thought what the hell, let’s have us a bit of fun.


What gear did you use for the shot including lighting?

It was shot with Sony Nex-7, which was my main digital camera at the time. I don’t remember the lens though – it was either a manual 57mm 1.4 Konica, or 58mm 1.4 Minolta, I was using them alternatively and they don’t save into exif, so can’t be sure. Great lenses by the way, perfect for APSC portraiture. The lighting is three strobes – Bowens Gemini 200, barebulb, with only small PARs, and barndoors on key. This is my standard setup for male portraiture, gives more punch and drama than a softbox or beauty dish would. There’s also a reflector below, to create highlights in the eyes and metal objects.


Tell us about the editing process?

Editing was pretty straightforward and consisted mainly of pushing contrast and clarity to the max, and swapping plain background for a photo of clouds, edited to resemble smoke. Some local edits were made too – brightening of the smoke from the barrel (I dropped a burning Marlboro inside for this smoke), changing the colour of the cross from silver to gold, and other minor details.


How does this piece reflect you as an artist

Well, it’s a selfie, so it would be pretty weird to analyse how it reflects me… I guess, since this is more or less how I shoot all my male clients, it represents the urge for something more adventurous, rough, than your average portrait session. Maybe a call back to some childhood dreams? I mean, who didn’t want to be a swashbuckling adventurer back in the day. Blackbeard, or William Kidd, or maybe even Guybrush Threepwood. In a way, a shoot like this is a great way to make those dreams come true. A bit at least.


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