Monika Markowska: internal beauty is extremely important to me
Monika, can you tell us about yourself, please. Where do you live now and where are you from? How did you discover photography and what motivated you to get started?
I’m a fun-loving, novelty-seeking, constantly self-improving woman who is currently embracing her creative side. I was born and raised in Poland and I live in Warsaw - our beautiful capital city. I had been working in a faceless corporate world for many years (my educational background is in languages) but at a certain point, I discovered that my life lacked creativity. A dear friend of mine convinced me to sign up for photography classes at the University of Warsaw, ‘Why not?’, I said to myself. I loved it from the very first moment, I got a degree and haven’t stopped taking pictures ever since.
What's the best part of being a photographer? What do you love the most about your job?
I love it all, it is truly the best profession for me. I love meeting new people and making them happy by capturing their beautiful essence – sometimes it’s a side of them that they hadn’t even been aware of. I love talking to them and having fun together, discovering them both externally and internally as sometimes they share their stories with me. I also love editing – spending hours beautifying an image, working with colors, retouching with nearly surgical precision, and really extracting the best possible version of that particular moment. I love people’s reactions to the pictures I took of them, their excitement, and the fact that I made them feel special and amazing. I am absolutely ecstatic when they come back for another shoot because they loved the whole experience and because they know that I will always deliver the best quality.
How would you describe your photographic vision?
I consider my photoshoots teamwork – both the model and I – the photographer, are actively contributing to the final result, the same goes for the stylist, make-up artist, and other members of the team. That’s why it’s so important that everybody feels good and comfortable sharing their ideas. I also like to keep it all light and fun and I want it to be a pleasant and enjoyable experience. As it comes to my style – I love color in any shape or form, both luscious and dusty and I really enjoy finding new color combinations. I focus on accurate retouching, crisp images, and original lighting and surroundings. I always try to challenge myself in different photography genres but my favorite is portraiture. I use my imagination a lot and I want my images to be both aesthetically pleasing and to contain a little bit of depth, hidden message, and artsiness as well as to tell a story.
What are the most important lessons you have learned about photography so far?
Humility – it’s not always about me and my vision, at the end of the day it’s always about the person who is in front of my lens. Also – gear is important but you can always take a good picture even with a potato 😊 I pride myself as a photographer who can create something out of nothing – I frequently use cheap everyday objects as props and some of my favorite pictures were taken in front of my apartment building and not in a fancy location.
How do you connect with your models? Do they tend to be people you know or strangers?
Both. I connect with my models on social media, I am often recommended by people who already had a photo shoot with me which makes me very happy. I also shoot with many people that I know, I photographed a lot of close family members and friends and it’s always very satisfying and it warms my heart to see them react positively and enthusiastically to the pictures we took.
Are you the sort of photographer who plans for every minuscule detail or are you more spontaneous with your creations? Where do you find the majority of your inspiration?
I like to plan but it’s more of an outline with key points and a mood board for the photoshoot and as it comes to the rest I like to go with the flow and come up with some ideas on the spot together with the model or other people present on the shoot. Spontaneity is always an important component of my shoot, but definitely I like to be well prepared gear-wise – spare batteries or an extra SD card are some of the things that I try not to forget because, as we all know, equipment tends to get broken without any warning.
I try to find inspiration everywhere, everything that surrounds me can inspire me. My sources of inspiration are art - paintings in museums or art galleries, motion pictures, cinema, music and music videos, fashion, other photographers’ pictures, Instagram and other social media, nature, flowers, plants, and of course people – from celebrities to people from my life – they all inspire me.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
When I hear positive things about my craft, I know I’m on the right track. I try to continuously learn and grow, keep up with trends and get interested in tools that might help me, gear, software etc. I also like talking to other photographers or people in similar fields to broaden my perspective. I try to take part in photography workshops every now and then.
What's going through your mind when you are on set behind the camera?
While I’m shooting I become absolutely focused and I basically have no needs – I feel no cold or hunger because the adrenaline has this effect on me. I always have thousands of ideas going through my head and I always want to execute them all however we usually have time restrictions. So it obviously forces me to conquer the chaos and decide which ideas are optimal for the amount of time and resources that we have and, against all odds, I usually do a pretty good job at idea selection.
Monika, how would you define "beauty"? What does it mean to you?
I don’t want it to sound like a cliché but for me, everybody is beautiful in their own way. I always find beauty in all the people who shoot with me, there is always something original and interesting about them. And of course, internal beauty is extremely important to me, that’s why I appreciate conversations with my models which help me discover all their beautiful qualities. Also I don’t believe in photogenicity – with me everybody is photogenic!
What are your future plans/goals for the next couple of years?
I would love to continue to grow and learn new skills, right now I’m really into making short videos so I’d really like to explore the world of videography. I’m definitely going to invest in some new equipment and props and I would love to get a bigger space – right now I’m working in my mini-home photo studio which has been amazing but I have some plans for more grandiose projects so more room would come in handy. And obviously, as long as I have plenty of people who want to shoot with me, I will be very happy.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
I am active on social media, mostly on Instagram where you can find me @monika.m.megan, same for Tik Tok, Facebook – monikameganfoto and also my website: monikamegan.com. Don’t hesitate to DM me if you want to shoot or collab in any other way 😊
Model: Tanya Lazovik @tanya.lazovik
Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Kinga Jasińska @kinga.jasinska_art
Photographer/Retoucher: Monika Markowska @monika.m.megan
Fashion Designer: Wioletta Padula Podsiadlik @wiolettapodsiadlik
You can read The MAIN ISSUE Vol. 27 here: