Story of One Photo – a portrait of Szczepan Twardoch.

It is 2018 and Martin Fejer from the Est&Ost press agency writes to me and commissions me to take portraits of Szczepan Twardoch. The photos gonna be used as illustrations for an interview in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, on the occasion of the publication in Germany of the novel The King – with the German title Der Boxer. He also put me in touch with the journalist Philipp Fritz, who is to do this interview.

A few hours before the interview and shooting, I meet Philipp in Katowice and we start our collaboration with…. coffee. Philipp is German but speaks excellent Polish.
I take my companion to Gliwice, where we have an appointment with Szczepan Twardoch.
The journey is fun, to say the least. We drive in my car, hurtling down the road in total fog. It is January, but there is no snow. And I tell the story the whole way: we left Katowice, we enter Chorzów. We have passed Chorzów, we are passing through Świętochłowice. And now we’re in Ruda Śląska and we’re about to enter Zabrze. And then it’s on to Gliwice.
Philipp stared at the completely unchanging landscape – white milk. Once in a while he commented: yes, I believe the cities are there.

We meet Szczepan Twardoch in a restaurant outside the centre of Gliwice. We chat for a while to agree on a plan of action – first I will take photos, then the gentlemen will talk.

sesja portretowa wizerunkowa biznesowa Katowice Śląsk Studio Portretowe  Joanna Nowicka marka osobista sesje fotograficzne Szczepan Twardoch

As is usually the case when making reportage portraits, many elements are unpredictable. It’s not always possible to plan a session like this in advance, you just find certain conditions and have to work out what to do. I was inspired by the fog and the landscape, which colour-wise turned out to be consistent with Szczepan’s outfit.
I took a few photographs changing the scenery slightly, but this is the one that finally made it to publication.

And working with Szczepan was very good – he was involved and patient, so I was still able to take an additional analogue portrait, for my One People Story project (about project HERE). As is my usual custom, when I have developed the negative and the photograph is ready, printed on beautiful matte cardboard, I want to give it to the portrait’s character. So, a few months later, I went to an author meeting and gave this photograph to Szczepan.

sesja portretowa wizerunkowa biznesowa Katowice Śląsk Studio Portretowe  Joanna Nowicka marka osobista sesje fotograficzne Szczepan Twardoch

But back to the session in Gliwice: at the end, we took a backstage photo together, and some time later I received the information about the publication.

sesja portretowa wizerunkowa biznesowa Katowice Śląsk Studio Portretowe  Joanna Nowicka marka osobista sesje fotograficzne Szczepan Twardoch

There is also an interesting thread about Martin Fejer – this was the second shooting I took for his agency, but we didn’t have the chance to meet in person until last year (2023). Martin lives in Budapest and on the occasion of my artist residency in Hungary we finally had the chance to see each other.

And Szczepan’s portrait brought with it another interesting surprise. A few months ago – six years after publication – I am found online by a client whose attention is caught by this photograph. The client likes the portrait so much that decides to offer me a collaboration.

sesja portretowa wizerunkowa biznesowa Katowice Śląsk Studio Portretowe  Joanna Nowicka marka osobista sesje fotograficzne Szczepan Twardoch

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