Tomasz Lazar is an independent photographer and a graduate of the West Pomeranian University of Technology, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology. He has won a number of photography contests in Poland and abroad (World Press Photo, POY, CHIPP, Sony World Photography Awards, the International Photography Award, BZWBK Press Photo, Grand Press Photo, Lumix Festival for Young Journalism). He says he is "a coffee-lover and a good music enthusiast".
In 2015 his series, 'Children of Siberia' was shortlisted in the Professional Portraiture category of the Sony World Photography Awards. Find out more about one of the world's leading free photography competitions.
Hi Tomasz, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your photography
I was born in 1985 in Szczecin, Poland. I graduated from the West Pomeranian University of Technology, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology. My journey with photography started seriously around 2010. In 2012 I have receieved the World Press Photo Award which was a big step in my career. Since that time I've worked with many magazines and newspapers with whom my works were published, such as The New York Times, Newsweek International, Sunday Times Magazine, New Yorker & the Washington Post. I'm also represtented by Clair Gallery in France. Since 2013 I've also worked as a teacher at Fine Arts Academy in Szczecin. I'm currently working on my PhD.
With my photography I'm mostly interested in long-term projects that focus on society and the human mind. So I would say mostly documentary, portraiture and street style photography.
Why photography? What does the medium mean to you?
Since I was a child I have been really curious about how our world works and why. I think this also started my journey into photography. What I like with this medium is that you can document but also you can create. You can make people doubt what is real and what is not. With this tool you can also try to understand yourself. Only those, who will travel across the conscious horizon but at the same time will stay in one place will be able understand themselves.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
I like photography that comes from the inside and is honest; when someone has something to say, and he is not creating the work for fashion. Finding yourself is the most important step. Like Allen Ginsberg said: "To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard. . . .". The more I take pictures the more I understand that with photography, I want to explore the subconscious and shadow part of humand mind.
Your work seems to straddle the realms of documentary and street photography. Tell us about style and what you hope to achieve in your work
I would way I use different styles of photography for different projects to achieve the effect. But I could say that mostly I'm somewhere in documentary photography. The style is changing. It is not the same when we compare my works 'Theater of Life', 'Children of Siberia' and, for example 'Sea of Trees'. But what is coherenet with all my projects is that I like to ask questions, questions that are somewhere in the back of our heads – hidden and waiting.
What's next for you?
A few days ago I came back from the Haute Couture Fashion Week, which I was photographing for Cr Fashionbook. At the end of March I finished my long-term project about Aokigaha - 'Suicide Forest in Japan'. Now I'm already working on 2 new projects and preparing for the 3rd. One is about my hometown and the second about nightmares. Both of them also try to explore the shadow part of humand mind.