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Only seconds to confront the moment - The travel photography of Andy Gawlowski

By Matthew Oxley | 3 years 10 months ago


Travel and street photography is for me the best way to train your eyes and photography skills - as it combines so many different genres of photography.


Andy Gawlowski, commended in this year's Sony World Photography Awards, was born in 1980 in a small town in Poland called Chojnice. At the age of seven he moved with his parents to Germany, and stayed for almost 23 years – in three different cities and regions (North – South – East Germany). His studies brought him in 2009 to Zurich, Switzerland where he works as an Industrial Engineer and freelance photographer. Andy's time is now divided between a full time engineering job and private traveling for photography. In October 2017 he will take timeout from his day job to travel in Latin America for six months. 

Hi Andy. Tell us a little about you and your photography

My name is Andy Gawlowski and I am a freelance photographer currently living in Zurich. I was born 1980 in Poland, grew up in Germany and moved to Switzerland in 2009. Photography has been with me already half my life and has became an important way to creatively express myself. I would describe my type of photography as a mixture between travel and street photography. However, it took me a long while to find out and realize that these genres are what I want to do and where I thought I can excell.

For many years my photography was missing a common theme / thread. I was just shooting “nice things” without any concept related approach. This absolutely changed after my first big trip with my camera through Thailand in 2011. With the first real series of photos in my hand and a personal story behind each of them, I finally found the project-related approach I was always searching for.


For you, what makes great travel photography?

The way I consider travel photography is as a very pure, honest and disciplined process. What I really love about it is the need to quickly react to different cultural situations, moments, light conditions and times of the day. It is surprising and exciting at the same time as you never know which story, person or landscape is waiting for you around the next corner. With limited traveling time, some photographic moments are only available for the seconds you were confronted to them. You can get a great photo or lose it forever in the same moment. So travel photography is a lot of about successes and short-term disappointments which, actually never make me feel disappointed. Last but not least, travel and street photography is for me the best way to train your eyes and photography skills - as it combines so many different genres of photography. It changes its faces and requirements with every new journey.


Where is the most memorable place you have photographed?

This question is really difficult to answer as there were so many unforgettable places I have already visited. Speaking about nature and landscapes then for sure I will never forget Halong Bay in Vietnam, all the mindblowing cenotes (natural sinkholes) of Yucatan in Mexico and the caribbean little Island called Caye Caulker in Belize serving the best best seafood on earth. On the other hand the street photographer inside me who is more into culture, history, social relations and cityscapes would rather mention places like Havana in Cuba, Hong Kong and Fes in Morocco. Especially Morocco, where I shot the commended photo of the harbor of Essaouira for 2017 #SWPA, has deeply impressed myself. Walking through the historical Medinas and being surrounded by all the colors, smells, noise and historical architecture is something I highly recommend to everybody who is into traveling.  


Where in the world are you and what's next for you?

Currently I am based in Zurich and in preparation for my next trip. In October 2017 I will travel in Latin America for six months. I will start in Costa Rica and make my way slowly down to Patagonia crossing countries like Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina etc. I am really excited about this trip as so far I have never been on the road for such a long time. Additionally, it will be my first time in Latin America. My one-way ticket is already booked and the batteries of my camera are fully charged. I can hardly wait to start this adventure.