Piotr captures people’s unique life stories into their portraits.
Imagine just one photograph of yourself that captures your life story – shows all that you have been through in this life’s journey.
Surreal? Exactly! And that is the kind of photography, 25-year-old Cardiff-based Piotr Skoczylas does.
Before embarking on any task, Piotr meets with each client and gets to know them before ‘infusing’ elements of their lives – emotions, personality into the photograph. Using multiple exposure photography, Piotr turns the story into something creative.
“I listen to their story and try to find key words or symbols which would represent that individual. Then I try to find a visual representation of those symbols and put them together in photoshop after taking the basic picture,” Piotr explained.
“People and unique stories are my biggest inspiration. We’re all unique and we all have a story to tell. What I try to do is to create a connection between the viewer and the artwork,” he says.
He has labelled his kind of photography ‘surreal’ because surrealism is something he deeply connects with based on his life story and how he wants to express himself as an artist.
“I do not like to identify myself with other artists because we are all different in a way. I think Salvador Dali [a prominent Spanish surrealist painter] was the very beginning of it all and you can compare his work to mine and show how thanks to technology, art, evolved. Also, we think differently and face different problems now which will have an effect on the artwork,” he says.
Piotr also takes inspiration from many artists and loves the work of modern artists like Adam Bird, Ronny Garcia, Brian Oldham, Eric Lacombe, Rob Woodcox, Martin Stranka and among others.
Piotr’s works have been featured in photography websites such as 500px.com and petapixel.com. He was also part of a charity exhibition in London dubbed “The scream of freedom” which raised money for abused women.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Take a look at some of Piotr’s portraits each telling a story.
“It never stops” and “when it hurts”
This shows how broken hearted and hurt the man is. So hurt it feels almost like fire coming out of his chest. The idea, according to Piotr was to capture this strong feeling using around 10 different images of fire, charcoal and burning wood to create a realistic burning effect over the man’s body.
When the sun gently touches your back
Using ‘multiple exposure’ technique (blending few images together), Piotr was inspired by the summer holidays and the sunset warming you up to create this dreamy, soft look.
It does not exist
Using a blend of six images, Piotr was inspired by the wrong decisions people make in their lifetime. The picture of New York symbolises emptiness and confusion – uncontrolled thoughts you wish would go away.
In the beginning
Piotr says he has always been in the arts. He is a man of many parts – born in Poland, he was a musician for a long time; wrote his own lyrics and travelled to sing at festivals all in an attempt to send a message and express himself
“To be honest with you, I write very lousy lyrics; I’m better at playing the guitar than writing lyrics,” he said amid laughter.
Piotr said as a child he was always very independent and trying to find his way of doing things.
At the age of 18, he moved to Ireland without having many friends or connections in that country. He tried different professions but always felt there was something missing. This was when photography took a big part of his everyday life. He saved some money for a decent camera and started to take photographs.
It took him about a year to find out what he really wanted to do and photograph. He decided that photographing, meeting and connecting with people were things he enjoyed.
“I love to meet new people; talk to them and listen to their story. That’s the only true way I can connect with the photographed person and create images which stand out.”
“People say that artists are people with lots of stories to tell, sometimes sorrowful and heartbreaking. I am not an exception. Maybe that’s why I like to be in my own space, contemplating, deep thinking …. A few years ago, when I took photography seriously, I saw how it helps me to express myself in a unique way. I hope viewers can see it in my portfolio.”
“On my website, I have written: I hope my photographs show not only my skills but also freedom, love, mystery, intensity, drama, all the feelings and emotions which make us who we are.”
He said all the things that make us human really interests him and getting to know who people and what made them who they are now helps him to also find who he is.
“I was lost for a long time, doing a lot of different things. Living in Ireland for four years taught me a lot about life which made me stronger as a person. It thought me discipline and confidence which gave me strength to go and reach out to people; learn about them and myself at the same time.”
Within this time, he realised this: “if you only listen to your heart and follow your passion, slowly, good things start to happen. When you’ve got a dream, you’ve got to protect it!”
In five years, Piotr said he would love to have his own business and be a full time surreal photographer. He has his own youtube channel and hopes to mentor young people in photography.
He says he is trying his best to produce images which everyone will be happy with adding that money was not a motivator.
“I hope that through my photography, I am not just showing good skills but also who I am and giving you a piece of me with every single photo I create.”
What would he like to be remembered for? He says: I always felt like I have a story to tell, a message to send to the world. Exploring photography made me understand how taking pictures can be so much more than just a click of a shutter button. I like it when people can connect with my work on a different level. The level where it’s not just nice looking at an image or just a bunch of pixels. I believe that this is where you can make a difference when you establish this connection and help people open their hearts and minds.”