• March 13, 2014

Musings: Monika Strzelecka’s Glimpse Into Childhood

When you know, you know. This is a saying often heard, yet not always understood.  But it’s one I’ll use to talk about Polish photographer Monika Strzelecka’s photos. I first saw the photo of her son and a horse on Your Shot (below) and I just knew. This photo spoke to me, it made me stop and want to know more. Scouring the many daily uploads in order to publish the Daily Dozen—the twelve best photos from the previous day—is difficult. I try to show a variety of images from the Your Shot community as well as take into consideration the members I spotlight, so as not to feature one member too often.

Picture of boy in meadow with horse

As I was pulling photos for a monthly edit, I noticed that I had picked four photos, all black and white, and of children who looked to be from the same family. They were all made by Strzelecka. I was surprised I hadn’t seen the connections before, but sometimes you can only see similarities when they’re together, right in front of you. I knew I had to find out more about the photos and the photographer. The work is technically sound; close attention is paid to the composition and the frame. There is a purpose and intent to Strzelecka’s photos, a body of work from a seemingly mature eye. So, it amazed me to find out that she had only recently began photographing.

Photograph of girl on the shore
Picture of children playing in a garden

It wasn’t until her second child that Strzelecka became interested in photography. Her husband had bought a camera to document their first son’s childhood, an expense she thought unnecessary at the time. However, her point of view changed dramatically when she was expecting her daughter. “I realized how fast the child was growing up, how he was changing and how elusive these moments were,” she recalls. “I think it is only when one has small children one fully experiences the pace of time.” She decided to save these moments and joined a photo class. She said she was “completely absorbed.”

Picture of kids playing with a dog
Picture of children playing with a kitten

Over the last six years, Strzelecka has had time to develop her unique style. She is inspired by photographers such as Diane Arbus and Eugene Smith as well as Polish photographer Tomasz Tomaszewski, who has helped guide her technique. Most of all, she is inspired by people, her three children included. She looks for the fascination and surprise that fill their daily lives. “Taking pictures of children is every parent’s natural need, I guess. All those moving moments when the small human being does something for the first time—smiles for the first time, the first steps, discovers the world we [have] all come to know quite well—we can see that these are people, although small, surprised by [what is] obvious to us.”

Picture of a girl holding a hen in Poland

Two specific moments shaped Strzelecka’s perspective. The first was when she found her grandmother’s photo albums. “I remembered them from my childhood. I have always loved to watch pictures and listen to stories about them. Now I looked at them differently—I realized that the ones I loved most documented the most trivial, everyday moments. The pictures showed the past and that made them real. Even if they were less perfect than carefully posed portraits, they were more interesting. That struck me.”

Picture of boy with toy guy and baby pool

The second was with a fellow photographer and friend as they were talking about their children. He told her how he wished he had shot the spontaneous moments; thinking less about the background and the technical details. She said, “All those thoughts led me to the conclusion, which was probably put best by Diane Arbus: ‘For me, the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture.’ I don’t want to make nice, colorful pictures. I want to show how it was. I want to tell a story with a picture.”

Picture of boy and girl goggles field

Strzelecka hopes to continue developing her photography and produce a series on the Polish countryside. See more of Strzelecka’s photos in her Your Shot gallery.

There are 19 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Sabina
    September 29, 2015

    I’m very touched by your work Monika…Even I have my own kids, I never thought that way….Gratualcje!

  2. Leslie Schmit
    May 22, 2014

    Beautiful work, I am truthfully touched. Thank you for sharing this, it kind of made my day.

  3. Paula Kajzar
    April 7, 2014

    Big congratulation. Very great photographic material and very nice article

  4. Venessa Scott
    March 26, 2014

    Those are very beautiful pictures and the feature was quite interesting. The pictures captivated me at first glance and the black and white theme adds beauty and grace.

  5. Alison
    March 19, 2014

    Beautiful… Reminds me of Sally Mann. You all should look at her work if you like these photographs.

  6. littledarling
    March 17, 2014

    I’d love to live in the countryside because of its fresh air and beauty elegant.

  7. kathleen h maher
    March 16, 2014

    With one behind the camera so often, doesn’t one miss out on the actual every day thing happening?

  8. Hiro Kurashina
    March 15, 2014

    Polish photographer Monika Strzelecka created beautiful images of children and their world of innocence. Their natural dynamics portraying the relationships among children and with nature and animals will be long lasting memories and stories. Great black and white images which convey the appropriate mood in the air.

  9. leila
    March 15, 2014

    I Love ALL of your pictures. they are amazing. I look at them every day.

  10. Marina
    March 14, 2014

    Impressive! the one with the boy and white horse is perfection!

  11. Riccardo Bonfatti
    March 14, 2014

    Some beautiful examples of B/W photos indeed!!
    Brava Monika!!

  12. abhyuday chowdhury
    March 14, 2014

    sheer joy in black and white.

  13. Janice Grinyar
    March 14, 2014

    If ever there was not only an artistic photographer, but a loving mother to highlight, it should be Monika – her photos speak to us of her world…and how we wish is was so all over the world. Thank you for highlighting her, and thank you Monika for sharing your family’s moments!

  14. shannon
    March 14, 2014

    Beautiful post! Love these photos.

  15. Aly Lyu
    March 14, 2014

    Really beautiful pictures, yet I must say that, sadly, not only parents feel the time flies fast… Everybody experiences this kind of feeling every now and then. As for the photos, they are very atmospheric and inspiring, especially ones with the boy and the horse and with children playing with thier kitten 🙂

  16. Dorota Łajło
    March 13, 2014

    Brawo. Piekne zdjecia. Gratuluję

  17. Shouptik Basu
    March 13, 2014

    Wonderful pictures, great stories. I really like the faces of both of them,their expressions,their actions, wonderful.Really great moments to cherish.

  18. Princee ekka
    March 13, 2014


  19. Estiven
    March 13, 2014

    there not just beautiful,, there unics pictures,,

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