Eighteen years of photography have taught Jack a few things. Like presenting familiar objects in new ways. But Jack Kosowsky will tell you that he spent 18 of the last 20 years taking “really crappy photos.” It all started when he wanted to capture his son playing ice hockey. Those first images may not have landed him on any sports magazine covers, but this New Jersey photographer kept practicing, learning the intricacies of his newfound art over time.
“Talk to me.”
The efforts have paid off—perhaps because of Jack’s desire to connect to his subjects, which are primarily New York cityscapes, the Jersey shore, and nature. “I want the subject to talk to me,” Jack explains. He does extensive research to understand the architecture or the landscape he’s planning to shoot, striving to capture the familiar while presenting it in fresh ways.
When four of Jack’s flower photos were selected for a local gallery show, he realized quality frames would enhance his work. Jack was a bit overwhelmed by the selection he found on Frame Destination’s website. “I ended up doing an online chat,” Jack says. “The customer service rep spent over an hour with me, explaining different choices. I was thrilled with the frames.” Our pleasure, Jack. We think you made a great decision to go with the Profile 15 in Silver (Anodized) with a Snowflake White Bainbridge 4Ply Alphamat and UV/Non-Glare Acrylic.
See more of his work.
To see Jack’s crisp, colorful photography (black-and-white, too), visit his online portfolio or follow him on Instagram. To find out what Jack is working on next and how he avoids ruining his composition, read on.
Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Jack Kosowsky…
1. What is your background; how did you get started?
I got into photography about 20 years ago, when my son began playing ice hockey and I had visions of capturing photos of him playing. This was around the same time that digital cameras were becoming more common. In my head, my photos were going to be worthy of Sports Illustrated. I was clueless and my photos reflected it! I spent a lot of time teaching myself photography and Photoshop. It was a very slow process. In hindsight, I spent about 18 years taking really crappy photos. Two years ago, I decided to go “all-in" and find out if I could begin to take photos that I'm truly proud of. I signed up for a leading photography/photoshop training website, taking many classes and shooting every opportunity I could. I'm very happy with the results.
2. How important is it for a photographer to “connect” with their subject?
Although most of my photography is of architecture and landscapes, it’s still necessary to create a connection with my subject. Before going out to do a shoot, I'll research the building or area that I'm planning to shoot. I want to understand its history, the role it plays in the local community. In short, I want the subject to “talk to me.” This puts me in the best position to really capture its true beauty and not just take another snapshot of some famous building.
3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?
This is easy! Best advice: Keep practicing and don't be afraid to fail!
4. What ways does your work reflect your personality?
Photography helps define who I am. Growing up, I always felt I had zero creative ability. I know now that I've become a very creative, artistic individual. I see beauty every day and everywhere I go. I've developed a great respect for all types of art and the talent of those who create it. I’m amazed by the art that so many talented individuals are able to create.
5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?
Absolutely! Like an author, I think that all photographers suffer from the equivalent of writer’s block. I know I do. I'll go out on a shoot and come back and review my work and hate everything! Maybe the next time out, the same thing will occur. Usually, I'll put that subject aside, move on and come back to it at a later date. Eventually I'll break through and get my mojo back. As long as I come back from a shoot with one good photo, I consider the shoot to be a success.
6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)
I'll say my mind and my eyes. My mind is always working. Trying to come up with creative things to shoot and how best to capture them. When doing a shoot, my eyes are everywhere, not just looking through the viewfinder. I want to see every detail of what I'm attempting to capture. I also want to make sure I see things that I don't want in the photos and make sure my composition doesn't include them. Many potentially great photos have been ruined by garbage cans, power lines, telephone poles and fire hydrants.
7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?
I do. There is a photography contest now going on in the state where I live. The prizes are significant. Entries must be taken in my state. I've several ideas I want to try. My objective is to create something that is completely unique. To capture something that people will recognize but haven't seen it in the way that I present it.
8. What “fad” gadget do you most regret purchasing?
Probably a little mini tripod that had flexible legs that you could wrap around anything. It was crap and absolutely useless. If I'm going to spend money on equipment, I'll do my research and make sure what I'm buying is worth my money.
All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.
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