Marcin Labedzki, Poland
The WPJA is honoring a member of the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association (AG|WPJA) with a Photographer of the Year (POY) award. Marcin Labedzki of Gdanzk, Poland, has earned through contest points the title of AG|WPJA POY 2009. In addition to the title, Labedzki will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a trophy with his name engraved on it.
“Winning this award is a very special distinction and I’m happy that my work has been honored like this,” says Labedzki. “I think being a wedding photojournalist is the greatest thing in the world. Not many people have the luxury of turning a passion into a profession. In photography nothing is impossible. The only limit is our imagination.”
Since becoming a member of AG|WPJA four years ago, Labedzki’s award-winning images have attracted international attention. He is well known for his avant-garde style and visual playfulness, particularly in trash the dress (TTD) photos. “I let my imagination flow freely and that’s where I am my most creative,” says Labedzki, who photographs couples in urbanscapes, water and visual fantasies.
Labedzki began photographing weddings in 2003 when the photojournalism style was in its infancy in Poland. Until then all Polish wedding photography was staged and posed, so Labedzki’s reporting style was fresh and exciting, winning him awards and a steady clientele that grew through word of mouth advertising.
Labedzki gets inspired by looking at the work of master photographers, including Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon, he says, and by reading fashion magazines. Although he never pursues couples during a wedding, “I’m also not the kind of photographer that hides in the corner. I like to be very close, so my favorite lenses are Canon 35mm f/1.4 and fisheye 16mm f/2.8. I always have the camera next to my eye so I observe everything through the lens, because sometimes the most important mome snt can disappear just when you are about to lift the camera.”
– Lorna Gentry / For the Wedding Photojournalist Association