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Karol Nienartowicz: Photographer of the week

by Yvette Depaepe 
Published the 20st of April 2020

Karol Nienartowicz is always in search of wild places where he tries to catch fleeting moments. His splendid landscape shots satisfy his need for hunting extraordinary images deeply rooted in his soul.  Karol feels good when catching good frames and love to share them with us.
In our today's journey, he takes us with him and reveals a lot about the artist behind his work. 
More of Karol's work at the end of this interview.


 'Walking on the line'


Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, dear Karol.
I have been associated with art for over 20 years. By profession I am a painter. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, and later I was involved in painting, also professionally. I was a part of the team who painted the Loving Vincent painting animation (nominated to Oscar in 2018). Since 2016 I have been professionally involved in landscape photography in the mountains.

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography? 
My story began on the day when my mother took me to the mountains for the first time, it was in 2003. I was still a teenager at that time. I took with me an analogue compact camera. Since that day I began to hike regularly in the mountains and take photographs. I was a painter, but regularly I was involved in photographing mountains. In 2016 I had to make a decision what I want to do in my life: to paint or to photograph. I chose photography and subordinated my life to it.

What first attracted you to photography?
From the very beginning I was attracted only to mountains. I grew up in the mountains and they were the only thing that interested me in photography, I never wanted to photograph anything else. But there was a time when I lived by the sea in Poland, where there are no mountains, or even rocks or cliffs. Contrary to appearances, this time was also good for me and developed me a lot. But after this period, I returned to the mountains and lived close to them.

Describe your overall photographic vision.
I look for effective and wild places where I can try to catch fleeting moments. In landscape photography I am interested in experiencing the adventure and that is why I try to avoid the most easily accessible places. I like long escapades with a backpack and tent. During my open-air sessions, I organised several hundred camps in a tent or under the open sky, because in the mornings I want to be in the most beautiful, isolated places.

Why are you so drawn by landscape photography?
It allows me to satisfy some kind of need for hunting, which I roots somewhere deep in my soul. Outdoor photography and trips are like hunting to me. I feel fulfilled when I find and catch good frames.

What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Mood and history are very important to me, but they have to be captured in a technically perfect photo. One without the other is empty for me.

What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?  Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I look at the world through the lens. The world is a great inspiration for photos and I evaluate each place in terms of photographic attractiveness. I usually check the places where I want to photograph quite accurately. I watch a lot of photos in the Internet, I use Google Street View, I check the angle of the sun's rays at sunrise. But at the same time, I allow myself to some improvisation. This is one of the most valuable things in landscape photography for me: as I do my best to organise and plan the open air, nature always surprises me with something that I did not foresee.

What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I don't have much equipment because I always carry it with me on a mountain hiking trip in a backpack so I need to make sure that the equipment is not too heavy. For this reason, I limit myself to a one camera and two lenses. I am currently using a Canon 5D mark IV camera and Canon EF 16-35mm f / 4L IS USM and Canon 24-105 mm f / 4 L EF IS II USM lenses. For every trip I take a Manfrotto 055 tripod (I am the brand's ambassador in Poland) and NiSi filters (I am also the brand's ambassador).

What software do you use to process your images?
I use Camera Raw and Photoshop.

What is your most important advice to a beginner in landscape photography and how do you get started?
It's good to find a field where you can feel comfortable and which you like - and be consistent. In addition, it is good to look at work that is better than yours, but at the same time look for your own path, instead of copying what is already there. I know that this is not easy in the times of Instagram and Facebook, where we are bombarded with hundreds of great photos every day. It is also worth to focus on a small market close to you, because this way it is easier to start making money on photography.

Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I like to see photos of my friends from Poland who photograph the same places as me. I put a lot of emphasis on my work on photographing what is happening near me, which is why I am inspired by others who do the same.
I also travel a lot and I am inspired by other photographers who also photograph in places where access requires a lot of effort and is adorned with adventures. I like visionaries such Max Rive, Nicholas RoemmeltArnar Kristjansson and Simona Br.

Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
I am inspired by photos of people I mentioned. Photos from the air by Simona and Arnar, like the ones below, are a great inspiration for me to rediscover Iceland.

Simona Br



Image may contain: ocean, water, sky, cloud, outdoor and natureArnar Kristjansson


I like wide panoramas by Max Rive and the wild places that he visits. Below is my favourite photo he took in Tierra del Fuego in Chile


Nicholas Roemmelt (lightpix) inspires me with panoramas from the summits of Alps or Scandinavia. He is great in it.


Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I would like to travel a lot to the mountains which are not so popular in the photos yet. There are still quite a few places, even in popular locations. I have several plans for the future, but I don't like to reveal them before they are realized.

Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you? 


'Rapa River Delta'

My favourite photo was taken in the Sarek National Park in Sweden in 2016. It presents the Rapadalen valley during the sunrise. To take this picture, I had to walk 46 km, spend the night in the wild, drink water from the stream and endure the whims of Scandinavian weather. This one is my favourite photo because I remember this landscape well, but also because of the whole adventure associated with this long trip.

Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
The advantage of 1X is the elitism of this place, which results from the restrictive rules of photos selection.
I often don't understand the choice of curators, which raises some frustration, but on the other hand you can feel some satisfaction when your photo is already in a good group.


'Torres del Paine'



'In the Winter'



'Winter's Melody'



'Eye of Sauron'



'Wadi Rum'



'In the Wind'






'Tre Cime di Lavaredo'









'Mashroom Rock'






'Injured sheep'








wow !!!!! without words Karol
Congrats, dear Karol, you have such a beautiful portfolio, you landscape shots often so extraordinarily beautiful and painterly, very admirable! Best regards Ulrike
Thanks Ulrike
Breathtaking images of spectacular sceneries. It is an art to capture landscapes so atmospheric and touching and at the same time so fascinating and powerful. Congratulations on your great work and this well-deserved award, Karol! Thank you and Yvette for sharing your images and this fine interview with us. Best regards Martina
Many thanks Martina! My pleasure :)
great great
כתבה מצויינת ניתן ללמוד על הצלם על שיקולי הדעת והחלטות היכן איפה ומתי לצלם תמונות מושלמות יפות כל כך כמו בריאת העולם
Many Thanks!
Its one thing to be able to take such magnificent photographs, but its also just as incredible to make the enormous effort to actually travel and stay in these remote and sometimes, unforgiving locations. Bravo Karol, you deserve every success and much respect, congratulations! Thank you again Yvette for your constant effort to bring us many of the very best photographers on the planet. Stay safe, vigilant and healthy!
That's very nice, thank you Wayne.
Thanks, dear Wayne!
All my admiration and congratulations for your work Karol. Some fantastic landscape photos, which I had already been enjoying and that I was wondering about the author. Now, if possible, I will follow you with more interest. My sincere congratulations and thanks for the interview Yvette
My pleasure to interview such a talent, Jois !!!
Thanks a lot!
Cheers for your pursuit of exploration, dear Karol. Appreciate your work
Many Thanks!
Congratulations with the feature of Photographer of the week, dear Karol. Many thanks for your fine collaboration and for telling us more about yourself. Cheers, Yvette