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Filip Gierlinski
Filip Gierlinski
Filip Gierlinski

Filip Gierlinski

Country: United Kingdom

My uncle is a very accomplished craftsman and very keen and skilled amateur photographer. I always loved to see him draw, paint, design and gave me my fist Minolta x370 35mm manual camera when I was about 8, so it started there.
At school and Uni I studied art subjects. I graduated in Graphic Design, worked for a year as a junior designer, but all the time thought I wanted to be the guy who came into our office with a contact sheet of commissioned photography, and not the guy sitting at a screen and designing the layouts for his photos. A friend was working in a Commercial Photo studio and needed some summer intern cover, and I jumped at the chance. 3 months tuned into nearly 4 years at the studio, and I learnt the skills, techniques, discipline, equipment and it opened my eyes to the industry and business of commercial photography. I have always had a passion for travel and I was eager to get outside, into the sun, and shoot people and places...we worked on products, catalogues and room sets at the studio which was an amazing experience and training, but not what I most desired to be shooting. I was fortunate enough to learn my trade in the days of film, and came to professional photography just as digital was breaking in and the industry was opening up and shifting. This gave me the technical skills of shooting on film for many years, and the ability to by my first semi-pro digital slr and advertise online for freelance jobs - so I had the best of (understanding) both worlds.

After some travel and teaching TEFL with my wife, we came back to the UK and I started to freelance, shooting mostly art projects, working for the Arts Council and delivering educational programmes, and all the time slowly building up my freelance business. So since about 2003 I have worked as a commercial and corporate photographer, covering a wide range of subjects and industries and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing and diverse clients. The work as a tutor gives me the opportunity to travel and practice my craft and I bring that inspiration back to my business.

Part of my early freelance work was shooting business portraits, and so I started to advertise specifically for Corporate Headshots and Portraits as a separate arm of my work, and this has become the main source of my income and commissions over the past few years. I have shot for huge companies with 1000's employees, as well as small businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs. I try to bring a sense of style and creativity, and an editorial feel to the ‘Corporate Headshot' and think that defines me with a distinctive look and product. I enjoy bringing a bit of creativity and style into the corporate world in my own little way, and years of shooting 1000s of people means I can read with my sitters quickly, make them feel at ease and connect with them which is something that shows through in my portraits. The skill is to do that within the 4 or 5 minutes I have with each person, sometimes up to 60-100 times a day!

Most recently I shot a campaign for a bowling alley company, working with a sports marketing agency, and so in between my corporate work and travels, I work with agencies for hospitality, sports and automotive industries. Working on set with director Shane Meadows was a great experience, as well as shooting the bands I loved since I was a kid from the press pit and back stage at rock festivals - a real pinch yourself moment. As I often photograph a lot of faces and people in my daily work, it is always nice to get a luxury hotel commission where it's all about the rooms and design, architecture and details and make for a pleasurable change of pace.

I was born in Poland in 1977, at 2 months packed into basket and flown to Tunis as my father was a civil engineer and contracted out there for a few years. We then lived in Poland and France and then moved to the UK when I was a child and so travel is in my blood. Since then I have been lucky to visit so many amazing countries. I have never really had money to just go travel, but always seeked out jobs where I could see the world. I have spent time as a tour guide in South America, teaching English in Nepal and India, and more recently working as a tutor has taken me all over the world. I have been lucky enough to be able to balance seeing the world, with a family life and earning here in the UK. I don't shoot travel stock or go with any intent to produce a commercial library, but more to see the people, to document their lives, to capture a story, as I feel my travel images are much more personal stories and of a more editorial feel than commercial. This may all change as i shoot new projects and seek to follow my vision.

It is still my dream to find a way to move more towards travel and editorial commissions but I am lucky to be able to make ends meet through a job that I love every day.
 

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The Posts ended their marriage when Marion was a young teenager, and she and sister Helen were packed off to boarding school. At Edgewood School in Greenwich, Connecticut, removed from the trials of her parents’ bitter and heart-rending divorce, Marion thrived in a progressive atmosphere which fostered open inquiry, flexibility and individuality. Throughout those early years, she also had a very close, loving relationship with the Post’s black housekeeper, Reasie, a relationship that gave Marion an ease and empathy with the blacks she would later photograph in the fields and juke joints of the deep South. On weekends and in the summer--whenever possible--she spent time with her mother, Nan, in her tiny Greenwich Village apartment in New York City. Nan was working with Margaret Sanger helping to set up health and birth control clinics around the country, a pioneer in her own right and an inspiration to Marion. In "The Village," mother and daughter hung out with musicians, artists, writers and members of the theatrical crowd, went to art exhibits, lectures and concerts, and after graduation from Edgewood, Marion fell in love with, and began studying, modern dance. At the same time she was working her way through school as a teacher of young children, pursuing her interest in early childhood education at the New School for Social Research, and then at New York University. As the Great Depression began to impact the working people around her, she witnessed dramatic class differences among those living in the small Massachusetts town where she was then teaching.(...) Soon after, in 1932, Marion traveled to Europe to study dance in Paris, and later, child psychology at the University of Vienna. There she met Trude Fleischmann, a Viennese photographer with whom her sister Helen was studying. Upon seeing Marion's first photographic images, Trude encouraged her to continue. "Sis," you've got a good eye," she exclaimed, a line Marion Post would never forget, although she was quite reticent about encroaching upon the territory of her sister, Helen, long considered the artist in the family. Meanwhile, a horrified young Marion and Helen were witnessing the rise of Nazism and Fascism in Europe. Of their friends, again many were musicians, artists, and young intellectuals. Many also were Jewish, and Marion watched as swastikas burned in front of the homes of her anti-Nazi friends, and their fields and fences were set ablaze. She was further rocked by the assassination, during the winter of 1933-34, of Austrian Chancelor Dolfuss and the bombing of apartments of socialist workers near Vienna. Lending a hand, she spent several months working in the local schools with the children of Austrian workers. It was too dangerous, however, for her to stay; the University of Vienna had been closed, and Marion was told either to return home or give up her small allowance. Back in the States, she took a teaching position at the progressive Hessian Hills School at Croton-on-Hudson. Here she began taking more photographs and making her first prints. Close to New York, she also became active in the League Against War and Fascism, and, together with Helen, helped Jews, including Trude Fleischmann, leave Europe and immigrate to the United States. She had friends in the socially and politically concerned Group Theatre who became both subjects and clients, and she published her first work in Stage Magazine. Encouraged by her progress, a year later, at twenty-five, Marion moved to New York and began freelancing, even landing a picture on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. She also began attending meetings of the New York Photo League, an important organization that was influencing many of the country's best young photographers. There Marion met Ralph Steiner and Paul Strand who, upon seeing her work, asked her to join a group of serious young photographers who met at Steiner's apartment to discuss and critique each other's photography.(...) Needing more certain wages, Marion accepted a position as a staff photographer for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. As a young woman, however, she was required to do stories on the latest fashion and events for the ladies' page, hardly compelling assignments for a young woman of 25 with her background and experiences! Mentioning her frustrations to Ralph Steiner one day, he took her portfolio with him to Washington, to Roy Stryker, head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker was impressed, asked to meet her. So, armed with letters of recommendation from no less than Paul Strand and Ralph Steiner, Marion Post set off for Washington. She was hired immediately, and joined the ranks of the other FSA photographers, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, and Arthur Rothstein, among them. From 1938 through 1941, Marion produced many of the most vividly moving of the more than 100,000 images in the FSA archives, reflecting her many years of social and political involvement, her strength and independence, and her deep sensitivity to the children and families of the less fortunate. The Farm Security Administration had been mandated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to assist American farmers who had suffered grievously during the Depression. Families were stranded and starving; soil was worn out, unfit for production.(...) Segregation and discrimination; humiliation and condescension; labor movements; eroded, worn-out land; dirty, sick, malnourished children; overcrowded schools. She traveled primarily alone, got tired and lonely and sick and burned out. She had to wrap her camera in hot water bottles to keep the shutters from freezing; write captions at night in flimsy motel rooms while fending off the men trying to enter through the transoms; deal with southern social workers, suspicious cops, chiggers and mosquitoes; mud, heat, and humidity.(...) In 1941, Marion met the man she wanted to marry--Lee Wolcott, a handsome, bright assistant to Henry Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under President Roosevelt. Marion completed her assignments and left the FSA in order to raise a family, tend their farms, and later to live and travel extensively overseas. Both passionate, eager, curious, intellectual, they developed interesting modern art and music collections; had interesting, involved friends; were deeply committed to the raising and educating of four accomplished children, and with mentoring their grandchildren. Although she did not again work as a "professional," largely due to the demands of family and overseas living and traveling, she captured numerous serious images of farming in rural Virginia, and later in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. Upon returning to the States, she taught and photographed American Indian children in New Mexico, did a series on the ‘70’s counter-culture in Isla Vista, California, and in Mendocino, California. She also was actively involved with the photography communities in both San Francisco and Santa Barbara where she helped, encouraged, and inspired, and was loved by many younger artists, worked with museum and gallery curators, and, in the 80’s, at the urging of the same, undertook a massive project to produce an archive of fine prints of her work of both the FSA and later years.(...) Letter from Paul Strand: "Dear RoyIt gives me pleasure to give this note of introduction to Marion Post because I know her work well. She is a young photographer of considerable experience who has made a number of very good photographs on social themes in the South and elsewhere... I feel that if you have any place for a conscientious and talented photographer, you will do well to give her an opportunity."--Paul Strand 6-20-38 Marion's favorite image: "I guess if I had to pick one, just one, favorite image, it would be the Negro Man Going Up the Stairs of the Movie Theatre. I think it says the most about me, about what I was trying to do and trying to say." (Conversation with her daughter, Linda)
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