“A good image has to stop you in your tracks. Make you feel and think. Pretty isn’t everything.” Warsaw based photographer Daniel Remian explains his thoughts on photography while our eyes wander through his images, that have a magnetic pull on us. Furthermore we chat about the best desicion he has ever made, his ideas for the future and the image he is most proud of.
What moment made you fall in love with photography?
I don’t recall a specific moment but rather a series of different events and choices. I guess before I got into photography I was sort of unconsciously wandering, moving from one wrong decision to another. When I got my first camera I would only shoot at school trips and birthday parties. I was just going nowhere, didn’t even consider photography as something I’d like to pursue, let alone make money from. Then I started developing a love for cinema and visual arts in general, which led me to taking a hobby in exploring and analyzing the works of many different filmmakers and artists. Then I found Instagram. It may sound cliché, but seeing so many young photographers getting noticed and garnering huge audiences opened my mind to the idea that this could be me. I was beyond inspired, and decided to get a proper camera to see if it would light any fires in my mind. Best decision I’ve ever made.
I totally love your city photos of Warsaw. What are your inspirations when capturing the vibe and beauty of your home?
That’s very kind, thank you. I like to shoot late in the afternoon and at night, as there’s something very intriguing about a large city slowly falling asleep. There’s a certain sense of dreamlike calmness and quietness that helps me pay more attention to the light and the atmosphere. I also like to put my headphones on and be totally cancelled out and lost in the moment. Music has always been an important part of my creative process and a huge inspiration. I’d say most of the time I shoot and edit while listening to Radiohead, Frank Ocean, My Morning Jacket, James Blake, Toro y Moi, Kendrick Lamar and lots of jazz, especially Bill Evans and Miles Davis. The great cinematography of Roger Deakins has been an unlimited source of inspiration, especially his work on Sicario, Skyfall and Blade Runner 2049, to name a few. Also, a lot of what I do has been, in some ways, inspired by the works of the French photographer Alain Cornu, specifically his “Sur Paris” series, which made me fall in love with shooting at blue hour.
“There’s something very intriguing about a large city slowly falling asleep.”
Which camera/s do you use? Do you think equipment is important?
I use a Canon 6D and two lenses – Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 and a Canon 50mm f/1.8. I sometimes rent other lenses, depending on what I need at the moment. Some say a good photographer can take a solid picture with any camera. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think it largely depends on what you do, and how you do it. Personally, I owe a great deal to the stabilization in my lens, as I wouldn’t be able to take as many sharp handheld night shots without it. But, of course, equipment isn’t everything. It’s more of a combination of the right knowledge of your tools, paying attention to the light and having a good eye for details.
A good image has to?
Stop you in your tracks. Make you feel and think. Pretty isn’t everything.
One of your favorite images and why?
I took this on a very cold and windy April afternoon. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews began preparations for the 73rd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I walked around for about an hour, trying to figure out how to make the scene memorable. After countless tries from different angles, I noticed the wind had started forming the fire in the shape of the museum’s entrance and I knew that was my chance. The fire represents the horror and the suffering that took place at the time of Nazi occupation. The feeling of creating something with a deeper meaning is what I’ve always strived for. I’m really proud of that one.
“Of course, equipment isn’t everything. It’s more of a combination of the right knowledge of your tools, paying attention to the light and having a good eye for details.”
You also have some wonderful portraits in your portfolio. How do you capture a person’s soul in a photograph?
Thank you. I guess I just try to make whoever I’m shooting with comfortable, and open to my ideas. I also encourage them to make their own suggestions, as I feel like portraiture is always about collaboration. I like to portray people as naturally as I can, and that’s easier when me and the model are on the same page.
I have been to Poland once (Krakow) and totally fall in love. Any tip for the best coffee in town in Warsaw? And where can we usually find you on a Friday night?
Being a freelancer, my Friday nights depend largely on the amount of work I’ve got. A lot of the times I’m at home, busy editing something I’ve shot during the week. When I’m free, chances are I’m out exploring the city and trying to find something new to shoot, especially if it’s cloudy and moody outside. Other times, I’m probably somewhere by the river chilling with friends.
“I want to be at peace with my mind. Happiness is underrated.”
What do you want to achieve in the next 5 years?
Lots of things. I definitely want to see more continents. I’ve never been outside of Europe and there’s so much I haven’t seen and done yet. I want to go somewhere abroad on commission for a large client. I want to create exciting projects and have them published or exhibited in art galleries. I want to direct my first short film. I’ve got so many ideas for it, but I’m lacking in skill, so I definitely want to change that. And last, but not least – I want to be at peace with my mind. Happiness is underrated.
The worlds needs more of… and less of…
More chill and empathy, and less labels and prejudice.