A connection – this is where the process of creating a photograph begins

In my presentations, I often talk about the process of creating a photograph. No, I am not talking about pressing the shutter button. That part is easy and immaterial.   

The starting point of creating a photograph is always a connection. There must be some type of emotional, intellectual, visual or even physical connection to the subject. This connection may not be immediately apparent to the photographer but it develops as s/he engages with the scene. The starting point of the connection doesn’t have to be profound – it could be as simple as the aesthetics of a scene. But it is always a two-way street. Let me give you an example.     

Our local faith community has sponsored two families from Iraq and Syria. Kasia and I had the privilege of witnessing their arrival and photographing this event. Of course, we were all aware of the difficult situation they had faced in their own countries. However, we didn’t know these families. Our purpose was simple – to document the event.

As we started to interact and witness the emotions of the moment, something “clicked” in us. The scene triggered a chain of emotions, a sense of presence and a deep connection to the subject. All we had to do was turn this emotional awareness into a creative process and a photograph. All these elements interconnected.

Here are a few images from this event, all taken with the Fuji X-T1 and the XF 35mm F1.4, Classic Chrome simulation.









and one more…



2016 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.


5 thoughts on “A connection – this is where the process of creating a photograph begins

  1. I only wish we were as welcoming here in the States! I especially like the last photo, it makes me feel a little of their emotional exhaustion that they were going through. This is to me what photography is all about, a photo should stir feeling deep down inside the viewer!

  2. First, these are wonderful images! Second, I like to see, and hear, stories of people reaching out to help other people with all barriers removed. I see a lot of smiles in these image. Well done!

  3. It is great to see photos from such emotional event. It is also great to know that we are able to give Syrians or Iraquis a second chance in their lives, since their countries are being destroyed by the West and Islam altogether. Do you know where are they gonna live? I’m a bit skeptical about them living in such an rent expensive city as Vancouver.

  4. Love the last one in particular – the people (life) are being squeezed by something inanimate and mindless. Also brings to mind the cross, which has huge implications.

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