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From Critique to Front Page ...

by Slawomir Kowalczyk 

My name is 
Slawomir Kowalczyk
I live in Poland and I’m 58 years old.
I started my photographic adventure on 1X in 2009. 

The portal drew my attention by its very high quality photos.

For the first period, I was looking at the photos and tried to create images which could compete with these excellent images posted on 1X.

But my serious illness and very exhausting work held me from continuing my passion for photography with proper attention. 
It was only in 2015 when I returned to photography at a level that I think would allow me to exhibit photos at the appropriate level at 1X.

This photo is still popular today, although it has not been published.


'Tatra Mountains, sun, snow and clouds.'


Unfortunately, the next photos, apart from a fairly warm reception by the photographers' colleagues, also did not get published. I felt some signs of discouragement and began to recognize more differences between my photos and the ones accepted on 1X.
I came to the conclusion that I still had to invest a lot of work in my photography to be successful here. 
At the end of 2018 I decided to show some of my photos again.

Personally I was considering these photos of higher quality, but they were still not noticed positively by the curators. The audience of my photos was no less noticeable and opinions of other photographers became appreciative. But still no success in curation…

I took a different path on my way to success. Self-study was not enough to succeed on 1X.

The times of COVID-19 pandemic surprisingly helped me in this case. I had more spare time due to my remote workplace and I didn't have to travel, I simply had more time for photography.

I started to post new images.  Those which were not published I posted in the 1x Critique section, describing the photo and asking for help in analysing it.

The first photo I sent to the critique section was the one on top of this article.
Read full critique here.

It was commented in a very interesting and clear way by Johanes Januar. 
These first remarks allowed me to review my approach for the next shots. 

For several months, I had very interesting interactions with the senior critics and I noticed that my photos were well seen and commented by the group of critics. Obviously, they recognized the potential in my photos and gave me excellent suggestions on what to do to improve their quality.

The people who took the time to help me out were:
Mike Kreiten, Daniel Springgay, Theo Luycx, Steven T, Johanes Januar, Greg Barsh, and Norman Gabitzsch.

Working together on the pictures gave me a lot of inspiration for some changes to my work.  The Senior Critics showed me what I didn't notice before and that was the most important to me.

My photos got better and better. My interest in photography is in many genres, so in my gallery I wanted to show photos ranging from landscape photos, through architecture, up to creative edits.

Below are examples of discussed and improved photos:


'Tatra Mountains' 

Here my key conclusion was to analyse photos of other photographers on the 1X featuring dark photos using strong contrasts. In addition, the comments helped me to technically improve my photography.
Read the full critique here.  


'Castle in Moszna, Poland'

This photo was previously in colour reversed to BW.
It's one of my few BW works and I was curious what others thought about it.
And here is the link to the critique.


'Ice land.'

For this work I received many encouraging words of critics and a member of 1X, Giuseppe Satriani, mainly good advice concerning the composition.
It seemed to me that success with this photo came very close. Unfortunately it didn't work at the end.
See the response of the senior critics here.


'Fishing for Glory'  - PUBLISHED

My little victory!!!
n this work, I concentrated on a calm mood, a little story, simplification, put focus on both, the side and main subject. The excellent and subtle advice finally got me published.
You can read the different responses from the senior critics here.


Sometimes I still have moments of doubt (you can see it in some of my responses to the critics) but thanks to the support of these people, I continued to work on my pictures.

I have to mention that I also receive great support from fellow photographers, incl. Fabiola Amidei and Giuseppe SatrianiThey are very experienced photographers and great colleagues.  
Their feedback was very important and helpful.
They even sent their comments and suggestions by email. Their view was very accurate and straight-on.

I think the whole 1X community is a very interesting and diverse group of people from all over the world. Each of us is different, but we learn from each other not only by looking at the photos, but by talking about them.

Critique is one of the forums to discuss with each other, probably the most intense place on 1x. We get to know various techniques, new views on photography, new trends. We improve our skills and our workflow to a level every photographer dreams of.

I started to fulfil my dreams – and I finally became a published photographer ;-)

Slawomir Kowalczyk


What a great article and inspiring story, Slawomir. I hope your health is fine now and I imagine photography may had helped you to overcome your difficult times - I've being there too Slawomir. Amazingly many things you mentioned on this article also resonates with amateur newcomers like me. It's great to see your work being recognised, valued and published here at 1X. I wish you all the best and a very healthy and creative future, dear Slawomir. My kindest regards
Thank you very much for such a nice post, Carmen. Everything is fine with me, but I have to limit my trip to the mountains a bit, but I find other, new opportunities for shooting in the mountains. I'm glad you found this article helpful and hope your beautiful photos will be posted on the front page soon! Best regards!
Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring article. It has helped me a lot. I'm a newbie in 1X, and my doubts about whether I fit into this community are enormous. I hope to learn a lot from everyone and that with effort, I can achieve it :) I wish you many more successes!
Thank you very much Elena for reading the article and for such a nice review. I'm sure we'll see your work on the front page of 1X soon. Best regards and I keep my fingers crossed!
I just found your story...I really love it!!! Thanks for sharing it. I remeber when I started sharing my first images here...and I was full of doubts too. Continued success and good luck!
Thank you very much Heike for the kind words and for taking the time to read the article. I am glad that I met the needs of my fellow photographers. Thank you and best regards.
What a great story! Wonderful picture! Good luck and good light to you! !
What a great story! Wonderful picture! Good luck and good light to you!
Thank you very much Victoria for your comments! My pleasure.
Hi Slawomir..An article that is enjoyable and says absolutely right things. Same feelings and disappointments .. :) Sometimes I have a hard time understanding why one photo was published and the other was not. I've never posted any photos for Critique because the word limit pushes me so hard. My every attempt is cut short for this reason. :) but I still spend a lot of time there.. :) Thank you for this beautiful title. Best regards..
Thank you so much Derya for taking the time to read this article. It is worth trying, it is important that in the description, apart from the technical aspects, your feelings and references to this photograph are conveyed. Believe me this is a great experience as other experienced photographers convey to you their feelings and visions, often difficult to apply immediately, requiring reflection and reflection. Of course, it is always up to you to decide what you will use and what not. The most important thing is that the hints are always of a sufficiently high level and are delicate, although sometimes negatively related to the image. And this is interesting on this website and that is why it has such a high level. Thank you again and I keep my fingers crossed for your publications!
I have read with great pleasure this beautiful article participating in the disappointments and emotions felt by our friend Slawomir... which are the same feelings that I too, and perhaps all of us, feel. Dear Slawomir keep it up and never give up... Congratulations to you, Yvette and the talented critics !!! A big thank you for mentioning me, even though my help was very limited indeed :-) Warm regards
Thank you very much for your kind words. I do not agree that you describe your contribution to the joint work on my photo so modestly. Each of you contributed to my success, which is our common success and shows how important cooperation is, regardless of our skills, and whether we are known, we share one love and passion for photography! And this is beautiful . What world would be better if this is how you could cooperate and create good things ... Thank you again :-)
I totally agree with you... the world would be better... All the best :-)
All help is welcome, dear Fabiola! Always a pleasure to see members being active in the Photo critique. Warm greetings, Yvette
Dear Yvette, knowing that I have contributed to the success of this beautiful work makes me very happy, and I'm very happy for Slawomir too :-)
An excellent article of your perspective Slawomir and Yvette.I can clearly remember my very first publication, you possibly could have heard me "Yeeehhhaaaa" from there! At the same time I have had many, many rejections and they never get any easier, but I have learnt that there is something that I was missing seeing that the curators had seen, and I always go back time and time again to try to make the photograph come to life, sometimes I have succeeded, many times not, but I always learn something else from each publication and rejection. Good luck!
Wayne, thank you very much for your comment. It is true that these are often difficult times when a photo that seems perfect from our perspective is not published. But this is what teaches humility and distance to your work and helps you see something else that we have not seen so far. Thank you very much for taking the time to read the article. Best regards.
Dear Slawomir, thanks for sharing your experience in 1X. It is very touching and inspiring. Some of your photos are very beautiful and you can feel proud of your photographic results. Please remember that behind nearly any of the published photos the are many that we as photographers struggled with the get the requested result. Greetings!
Thank you Arnon for your good opinion and thank you for supporting me and my colleagues with a good word! Best wishes
Wonderful title - from critique to front page - hard working, finally dreams come true! You deserve it!
Thank you very much for the nice feedback and evaluation! Best regards.
Hi Slawomir ! I criticize 1x endlessly. I have 4 publications. You praise and admire, and you have only one publication. But you have decent works, and more than one. I sympathize with you and understand ...))
It's important not to give up, I'm sure there will be more soon :-)
I'm sure of that too. I wish you success. You deserve it !!! ))
Great article Slawomir. I also believe that "critique" on 1X is one of the sites most wonderful attributes. I, like you, continue to learn from the comments and suggestions of all the excellent critics. My first publication also came after making adjustments outlined by the various critics. They have been extremely helpful in helping me improve my photography. Warmest Regards, Patrick
Thank you very much Patrick for the kind words about the article and confirmation of the correctness of theses presented in it. Best regards.
Thanks Slawomir to mention me in your article as very experienced photographer!!! I thnk 1X pushes us to be very critical with our own work and allows us to understand the trends in place by the most innovative and cutting edge photographers. This great and frustrating at the same time but, as I told you very often, the most important thing to be concentrate is to enjoy the way rather than obsess over the result. When an artistic work is presented, the artist submits himself to the judgment of others. Of these judgments it is necessary to remove "the noise" and remain with the essential, without ever distancing oneself from what one is and what we want to show. Ultimately our images must continue to be the reflection of our inner landscape. Ciao!!!
Great words, Giuseppe!
Thanks for your article, Slawomir! I totally agree with you in your appreciation of Critique. The good advices and different points of view from experienced Senior Critics are very useful in the process of refining your image. Regards Bjorn.
Thank you very much for your kind words, Bjorn!
Hi Slawomir, interesting read! Keep on with your work :) Good luck! Erik
Thank you very much, Erik!
Excellent article Slawomir , very well put together thoughts and inspiring to read about your journey. Congratulations and my best wishes to you . My compliments to Yvette for presenting this article as a motivation and bonding between all artists , and also to the Critique team. Regards
Thank you very much Rana for your words. Best regards Slawomir.
Wondeful article Slawomir great with a keyboard as well as a camera, Congratulation first class. Yvette another wonder from the pages of time. Well done girl..
Thanks for your appreciation, Daniel. The magazine and fine collaboration from all members and the crew is my highest priority and target ;-) It makes our community outstanding ! Best regards, Yvette
Daniel, thank you very much. Your advice, often filled with humor, makes even heavy criticism light as a feather. Thank you very much for your support and best regards. Slawomir
Yvette, thank you very much for placing my article in 1X Magazine. I hope it will contribute to strengthening the relationship between all participants of this photographic adventure which is 1X. Best regards Slawomir.
Big thanks to you, dear Slawomir. Of course, I'm also crossing my fingers with your fine contribution to strengthen the relationship between all members and especially between those submitting their work to the Photo Critique. Cheers, Yvette
Slawomir, Thanks for the nice article about Critique. It was nice to work with you. We will go on and success with your new work.
Theo, thank you once again and I look forward to working together. Best regards.