Milan Stryja is a commercial fashion photographer from Slough. Despite Milan’s incredibly hectic schedule we were delighted when he agreed to complete a full feature interview for Urbanity Chic. Read on to discover how he got into professional photoraphy, what he most enjoys photographing and what he does to relax when not working.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
It is quite a long story. I was born in the Czech Republic. All my childhood I was influenced by art & graphic design, I attended private painting courses during high school and so on. My father had a small family run printing-shop so as a good son I went to study packaging & graphic design college, during the study I met loads of creative people, amongst them some amazing photographers, so it was not long before I bough my first film SLR. When I finished the college I was offered a job at Mars Czech as packaging technologist so I parted with the family business. After 3 years I was offered to move to the UK and be responsible for packaging development of Mars , Snickers & Galaxy, so I moved to the UK. This job was very technical so I was missing the art a lot, so I established and lead Mars Photography club, with over 70 members world wide -- and my job suffered as I spent a lot of time running the club and taking pictures of everything that needed to be photographed at such a large company ;o) In 2010 I made a big step and left Mars to focus at photography.
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
I love to be challenged technically, so I experiment with different lighting techniques mostly in my small studio, whilst photographing people. I enjoy fashion, hair, beauty but probably most of all nude art, as I found it very artistic and technical at the same time.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
It was a very dynamic & exciting year, I quit a full time job in January, moved from flat to house to get more space for photography, all my life became photography. I started working for London School of Modelling which is constant stream of talented young people. 2010 is a steep learning curve but I believe it is just a starting point and the big things are yet to came.
Q: Who inspires you?
It is probably a little unusual in fashion industry, I do get inspired by many different sources, magazines, internet
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
I adored Alexander McQueen, how he did things his way, how complex and thought through his shows were. I love the level of details.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Talent and dedication in fine balance. I had seen so many talented people wasting their talent, or not being patient enough to learn the technical side of photography. Talent and dedication can’t be learned unlike the rest in my opinion.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
Digital, I still have a film in my old Pentax camera with about 12 exposed frames in the camera and can’t push myself to get the film developed… since 2005 ;o)
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
In my early days I preferred location, as I was a bit lost in a studio, there was too much to control and far too much that can go wrong. In the past year or so I fell in love with studio work, I enjoy the 100% control of everything, including weather!
Q: Do you have any interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
Perhaps the fashion shoot on Piccadilly circus, which turned out to be real circus, as we spent more time explaining tourists what we do to than actual shooting, we underestimated the security element of the shoot a bit probably ;o)
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
I’m sure it does not make me unique, but my signature is simplicity, less is more. Simple light, simple but strong composition.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
Got nothing to do with fashion, but I love “Lunch atop a skyscraper” by Ebbets.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
It’s got to be probably Rankin, he is not typical fashion photographer, I admire how he made his name a brand, the show around his work, the books and everything he does. He is very talented not only as an artist, but he is business sawy, which I think makes him unique.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
I’d like to work more with celebrities, I like to show people’s personality in my pictures, and these talented people have usually a lot of attitude ;o)
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
It is dangerous thing. It can work magic when used correctly.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
Q: Where are you based?
In Slough. It is probably not the most glamorous place to live, but it keeps my cost of living down with good access to London.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I grew up in communist country, where people were fighting everyday for limited resources, the shelves were not exactly full of goods , so we had to be very creative to be able to provide basic stuff. So I guess this might had shaped me a bit, to get the most from available resources.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I’m proud I can work at the London School of modelling, I worked for Verge magazine, Identity Salon; but every new assignment is still a highlight for me, usually the next job is bigger and better than the past one. I hope the best is still to come!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
I’m still in the beginning of my career so I’m expecting slow evolution rather than revolution, I hope to learn something new every day.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I listen to music, go cycling or climbing. I like to be on my own, ideally in the middle of nowhere.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
First of all I do not have an iPod, do not listen music on a go, and at home I have a collection of CDs, mostly from 90’s and some more recent stuff.
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Be patient, be determined, people do not became great photographers over night.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
Every time I look back I realise how much I improved, I try new things at every shoot I do, some things works, some doesn’t. I like to experiment. And most motivated I’m when I get compliments from other people, I want to do more great stuff, get more compliments!
Editor’s Note: We believe that Milan’s creative flair and openness to ideas will ensure that he continues to build his business and creative portfolio into the future.
If you’d like to see more of Milan’s diverse and creative portfolio just follow the link to his website below:
web page link: www.milansphotography.com