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SNAP 2019: Polly Rusyn

Introducing our 2019 speakers through their own words and work. This week, we will be sharing the beautiful work of Polly Rusyn’s who is going to talk about street photography at SNAP 2019.

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Hi Polly, could you please say a few words about you and your work?

I have been a professional photographer for 3 years. I have also worked as a graphic designer and a commercial product manager in the travel industry. And I lived on the road around the world as a tour leader for 5 years in between! As well as doing freelance photography work I also teach street photography both in the UK and on weekends abroad. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living! I feel my previous careers have led me here and all the skills I learnt along the way have been invaluable in setting up and running my business.

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Tell us about this proejct

This is an on-going street photography project. I look for candid snippets of life in the street or on the beach (or any public place) and try to capture quirky moments or interesting characters. Although I also shoot in black and white, my passion is for colour so I love sunny days for shooting as I can get great colour and bold shadows, but it does also mean that most of the work in this project was shot outside of the UK!

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Do you usually do any planning before hand?

Many street photographers always carry a camera with them just in case, but I'm not reactive enough like that, and prefer to set aside time and give myself permission to do nothing else other than shoot. That way I can simply explore wherever I am and allow myself to slip into the "zone", which is where I become invisible and "one" with my environment! I love that state of mind, it's almost like meditation, and it's there that I make my best photos.

How did this project evolve over time?

I'm constantly pushing myself with my photography. I started out as more of a minimalist "fine art" street photographer, where my human subjects were mostly for scale and context rather than the hero of the story! But I became more interested in who I was shooting rather than where, and I wanted to add layers and challenge myself to tackle more complex scenes with more than one person in the frame, while still retaining a sense of place and not sacrificing composition.

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I believe that if you can shoot well on the street where you have no control over your environment you can tackle anything thrown at you as a photographer!
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Did you learn anything from failure or mistakes?

I'm always learning and sometimes go through periods where I feel I have lost my mojo when nothing seems to work for me on the streets. But I embrace those moments now as I have come to realise that the feeling will pass, and when it has I seem to be able to see differently and I make better photos. It's almost like an evolutionary step! It's different in my client work - I remember when I first started out and a professional photographer told me that there is essentially no choice on a client shoot but to nail it. Simple as that. And that stayed with me and is my mindset going in. It's like my street work is my training ground and a safe place to make mistakes and experiment and grow.

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What do you think you achieved with this project?

This project is on-going and will no doubt evolve and expand as I push myself further. But I think the main thing I have achieved since I started shooting street photography is finding my visual style and the type of street photography I want to do (although I am also open to that changing!). Right now I just want to fine tune it, get better at it and keep developing as a photographer, because the way I shoot street photography really influences how I approach client work too. And I do believe that if you can shoot well on the street where you have no control over your environment you can tackle anything thrown at you as a photographer!

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Would you like to add anything? 

I just love photography! (I have removed the swear word that normally appears in that statement).

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If you would like to follow Pollys work, you can do it through her website and Instagram. You might also want to check out her amazing Street Photography Workshop The Photo Weekender.


Would you like to attend Polly’s talk? Get your ticket for SNAP 2019.

Berni PalumboComment