"Pentax 6x7, boy does that camera sound good when you fire it!"
Tell us about yourself.
I’m 26 years old, was born in a small city in Poland, just by the shores of the Baltic Sea. I now live in probably the most inspiring, beautiful and thriving city in the country, Wrocław and am on my way to becoming a software tester while being a part-time barista and exploring the culture around special coffee roasting and tasting. I like dealing with fragile natural aromas, pushing the development of my senses and perception, hopefully that shows as well in my photography.
When and how did the film journey begin for you?
It was actually quite straight forward, when I was 16, I picked up my granddad’s old soviet Zenith E camera, got to know that my father used to be passionate about photography when he was my age and felt sort of a bond with the visions of all the images that could be created with it. It was before the explosion of affordable digital cameras and parents buying their children the newest gear because it was fashionable among middle class people to have “artistic” kids.
I worked during my summer vacation to buy a digital camera and then another and another… It went on for years, yet none of the digital cameras seemed real to me… dealing with film and chemistry, developing / scanning / printing on my own was and still is a tangible and sort of sensual experience that strikes me with its down to earth beauty.
What Could we always find in your gear bag?
My trusty Pentax 6x7, boy does that camera sound good when you fire it! And almost always there is the WWII Kodak Aero Ektar 178/2.5 lens on a custom elastic mount made by TheBokehFactory to fulfill my needs. It’s extremely difficult to handle such a heavy lens and maintain focus, but the painterly dreaminess of the pictures I get with it is well, worth the hustle; it fits my aesthetic like no other lens. An almost 75 year old lens. Who would have thought a couple of years ago, when I was deeply into GAS, that I would get into debt because of it?
What camera makes you click?
I have specific requirements about the gear I use and the way it renders images, so my P67/Aero Ektar combo is really hard to beat right now. It may change in a couple of years, but if I would have to choose, probably I’d love to get my hands on a 4x5” Graflex DSLR and fit it with the Aero Ektar to boost its capabilities in the painterly-dreamy-rendered-portrait department.
Who are your models? How do you interact with them before shooting?
A bunch of my models are friends who I think have some kind of natural spark, most of them are very shy and have little to none modeling experience. Recently I’ve started working more often with girls who actually are into modeling, some of them are real friends, a bunch I met on Polish photography/modeling forums and made good friends with them. Before we start preparing for the shoot I talk a lot about coffee, about life in general, try to get to know something about the girl I’m going to take pictures of. Sometimes it ends up without ever taking the camera out of the bag, and just talking about the meaning of life. :)
What inspires you most?
Meeting people that are truly, honestly passionate about something, that found their calling and pursue it no matter what difficulties they might encounter.
Do you have any advice for film photographers out there?
Don’t get GAS and don’t go into debt, that's one.
But more importantly, seek your style, an expression of yourself and extension of yourself in photography. To quote Charles Bukowski – “Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.”
You can find Kornel Kabaja here: