Interview with Rafał Makieła

#1 Please introduce yourself:

Hi, my name is Rafał Makieła. I was born in 1973 in Zielona Gora. Currentley I live in Wroclaw, Poland, but I work almost everywhere in the world. It’s 10 years since I’ve got interested in photography, and now it is my passion. Before this, for many years I was the Head Chef.


#2 How did you get interested in photography?

10 years ago my daughter was born and it was an inspiration for me to start being a photographer. I wanted to keep every moment of her life, so I was taking a lot of pictures of her. That’s how my hobby became my profession.

#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?

I don’t have any education in arts, also in my family nobody is an artist or a photographer. Everything I’ve learned I’ve learned by myself watching the work of other people. I was also reading, watching and searching a lot of stuff on the Internet.


#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your work?

The biggest inspiration in underwater photography is Zena Holloway and Elena Kalis. In commercial photography – Therry Ghonis and Joel Grimes. In portrait photography Gregory Laubsh. There is a lot great photographers in the world that give me in inspiration and new ideas, but it will take definitely too long to write about all of them.

#5 What is it about underwater photography that interest you the most?

The underwater world is something mysterious and magical. Everything is different, there is no defined end to the bottom or top. Gravity law almost does not apply, the light propagates differently, sometimes completely unpredictable. Here, almost everything you dream is possible. Each vision and the idea is feasible.


#6 How do you find the models to work on your projects?

I cooperate with professional model agency – SPP models. If I’m looking for new faces I organize underwater tfp session and make a casting. Also a lot of models are writing to me, asking about the underwater session, so it is not a problem for me.

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#7 What is the biggest challenge in working under water?

The biggest challenge is water itself. It is not a natural environment for us humans and makes us defenceless so to speak. The models need to be really well trained in order to pose at ease. Everything is just different under there, the distances, sizes. Also light looks and travels completely different than on the surface. It is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of the models and the crew, which is why we are always accompanied and supported by professional divers as our underwater assistance.

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#8 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph? Are you planning every step or is it always spontaneous?

The time that I’m spending on preparation depends of the kind of shooting I’m planning to do, it is always different. If it’s a commercial session I’m planning everything with my client to avoid misunderstanings – starting from the choice of models, make up, stylisation, ending up with the place of shooting. If I’m shooting for my portfolio I’m often spontaneous, what sometimes brings me unexpected effects.


 #9 What gear do you shoot with? What other equipment do you use?

for underwater photos I use canon 5d MkII and Nikon D700. For my Canon camera I’m using Ikelite underwater housing from my sponsor – Mozaik Underwater Housing Camera. For Nikon I use budget housing – Ewa Marine. I use Bowens lamps and modificators of light, and Phottix triggers. When I’m doing simple shooting I take pictures holding my breath underwater. Working with more complicated sessions I use full Scuba gear. I also use fabric to make a backgroung in the pool.

 #10 What do you do in your life besides photography?

my passion is cooking so I cook for my family. I’m also raising my 10 years old daughter so I spend a lot of time with her. I don’t have any other job, so I can fully focus on photography. Photography also allows me to travel with my lovely woman to many places in the world.

Underwater session mermaid

#11 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?

I have few commercial sessions planned for the moment of writing. Also soon session with my personal model(Kristine – my woman) will be released, with the underwater movie and outdoor campaign. We are also planning to travel to Mexico and shoot in cenotes with our friend Pierre Voile, who is also underwater photographer. Also my dream is to shoot in old, drawned ship for a famous fashion designer, which for sure will be very difficult and expensive, but I think the effects would be outstanding. The other plans I would rather keep for myself J.

Rafał Makieła portfolio:

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