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Interview with photographer Martyna Wisniewska

Wednesday 26 July 2017

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Martyna Wisniewska, known as ”Gingerdope” is a young photographer based in Southampton.
She has an obsession with lizards and the pictures on her twitter are the proof! Her live music photography is dreamy and very prominent, she travels all around Europe and collaborates with bands, creating amazing tour diaries and memories.  
We caught up with Martin to discuss her work, creative process and favourite collaborations!

How did you get into photography and what made you think “that’s what I want to do!”?

Taking photos has never been on the cards for me, the only reason I started going to shows was because my parents were so overprotective I never got to see any live music until I was 16 years old. When I moved to Southampton from the worst bit of Kent to do this whole university related galore I joined a team of people who worked on a magazine (that never came out really). I was in charge of the music section, just cause I liked music- so naturally I started writing about it. Went to a bunch of shows for free, which was pretty cool. It wasn’t until I saw 65daysofstatic that I actually fell fully in love with live music photography. Something about the dynamics of that show that really punched me in the stomach and it rolled from there. At no point I ever thought I’d be making a living out of taking photos. So when I realised ‘’I’m actually doing it’’ I mean, it was pretty overwhelming to say the least.

Where did the nickname Gingerdope come from?   

I honestly couldn’t tell you, I don’t take responsibility for anything I did back in 2013. I got my Instagram account back then, and probably posted about LTA too much and quoted a bunch of awful movies in the caption section. I’d like to think I know better now. Wish there was a good story behind this, but it’s probably something I came up with to make saying my actual name less of an occurrence.

Gun Shy

Your live music photography is pretty dreamy and unique. What do you want to communicate with your work?

Hey thanks! I learnt my ways (still learning) over the nearly three years I have been shooting for, still got a long way to go to achieve what I want my photographs as well as motion pictures to feel like. It’s not necessarily what I want to communicate with my work, it’s more about just capturing ‘’the bit’’. I’m all about the ‘’plain-nice’’ bits in life. So for me, there’s always ‘’the bit’’ in almost everything that comes out of my camera. I feel like there’s a ‘’bit’’ in everyone and what they do and it’s wonderful and I just want to show exactly that in my work.

What does an average day of yours look like?

When not on tour, I’m probably sleeping til midday, eating eggs on toast in bed made by my favourite person then on a good day going charity shopping for stuff I don’t particularly need in the best company imaginable, and occasionally shooting all the Wrongway Round Promotion’s rock shows. When I’m home I tend to keep my work to minimum, purely because coming off tour after creating every day is super hard work and it takes me 3-4 days to get back to normal head space. I’m sure there’s loads of people out there that’d tell me to shut up and that I’m lazy but honestly I put all my heart in making the things that I make. Whether it’s being perceived like that or not is a totally different story but I like to keep it chill. I have a tough time relaxing, so I’m working on it.
I’m not saying I don’t shoot when home, but I like taking my time and not having loads of things on.

What’s the biggest mistake you think you’ve made in terms of photography?

I’s all a learning curve for me, on a technical basis, business basis and what not. I haven’t been taught any of what I know at school or at university (despite paying for it). I am absolutely the type of a person who has to make the same mistake at least seven times before I learn the god damn lesson. Missing files, lens cap still on, dropping everything on the floor, working and putting up with truly nasty people, being too nice when I shouldn’t or getting too caught up in my own head. But I am a big fan of where I am at the moment and if it wasn’t for all these bumps I came across thus far my work wouldn’t be half as pleasant. So all in all, win-win.

What’s the best/worst thing of going on tour with bands?

The worst is leaving home, that’s always going to be the hardest thing for me. I like being around and spending time with my human being, he’s my best pal so it’s always going to be hard leaving the part of myself that I like the most behind for weeks on end. I am truly the luckiest person in the world having someone who’s constantly pushing me to chase whatever I’m after. I also eat like absolute idiot on tour, making all the wrong choices and my best pal is so excellent at cooking I have a tough time not missing that amongst all the other things. Tough life, right?

In terms of the best thing is of course travelling, seeing that 10 meters away from the venue is always rewarding. But mostly getting to shoot shows every day, I’m very lucky to tour with the finest dudes, people who are not only excellent at what they do but they are also lovely inside-out. Being surrounded by people who love their ‘’thing’’ as much as I do makes me want to bend my back backwards to produce content to its fullest potential. The ultimate fear of disappointing someone, totally leaves me wide awake at night.

What’s the best collaboration you’ve done?

Ah man, that’s such a tough question as I don’t wanna make anyone mad. I honestly do get to work with some wonderful people that have all these crucial messages to deliver across to the masses. On a long scheme of things, I adore working with Casey purely due to the fact their sound is something so raw and real to portray, Shit Present though are some of the wisest people I have come across and touring with that crew is always a treat,  but Gun Shy will always have a special place in my heart. Their musical creations are all I ever wish for in music and whatever we make together always ends up being my favourite even if the making of is extremely nerve wrecking. My recent ‘’clientele’’ list literally consists of the most beautiful souls, and I am so, so, so grateful for that.

Do you ever get stuck with your creativity?

ALL THE TIME. I am the worst at getting stuck in a route, hating everything I make and no amount of chocolate, crying or nice talk can fix it. I’m sure it’s part of the creative living so I put up with it and float. Not sure how people around me do though, I can be truly unbearable. That’s why I pace myself with everything I do these days to avoid feeling like I’m not making enough effort to perfect my craft, but it’s ups and downs of course. I’m sure it’s exactly the same with other creative creatures out there.

Andy Shauf

Do you have any exhibitions planned / projects going on?

Recently I’ve been spending more time shooting analogue, working on my cinematography and taking time with the overall feel of the still and motion images. When on tour I don’t always have time to get it perfect because my brain is all over the place so when I do, I make sure it happens. I got a pretty chunky on-going project, which I cannot talk about but I am so excited for the final product to see the light of day later on in the year hopefully. Other than that I’m always working on something, whether it’s photography related or video related. It literally never stops, unless I allow it to.

Any other photographers you’d recommend us to check?

Considering I come from the live music photography circle I hardly follow anyone from that world, purely due to drama and double standards of the industry. My Instagram is just full of gardening tips, landscapes and portraiture of the human kind. At the moment I’m fully in love with artists like Sarah Ashley Eiseman, Chantal Convertini, Corinne Schiavone, Chelsey Sinclair, Cvatik and Gundula Blumi of course. My all-time favourite almost idol-like is Nona Limmen. Her works speaks absolute volumes to me.