Plymouth, Mass., photographer Stephen Poltorzycki may have only gotten serious about digital photography over the past few years, but his knack for it has certainly come into focus, as he recently won the Sunset Print Award in the “The Fine Art of Photography” show, organized by the Plymouth Center for the Arts. His winning image, “Samson,” is pictured at left.
“I took photography somewhat seriously in college, but life took over and I didn’t pursue it,” says Poltorzycki, a self-employed management consultant. “When the digital age dawned I decided it would be fun to get back into.”
He joined a local camera club and started studying photography technology and judging criteria. Once he stared entering competitions, he saw the best success with still-life images like “Samson.” The image was part of the club’s challenge to capture images that showed symmetry.
“I’m a collector of tools and I was pawing through some old tools when I came across these metal snipping shears that I inherited from my wife’s uncle,” he explains. “I would never dream of using it, but it had good color, particularly in contrast to the basement floor, which is blue. The combination appealed to me.”
Poltorzycki oiled the shears a bit to bring out the red and wet his basement floor to deepen the blue paint. He lit the shoot with just a handheld flashlight. “Because I shot it on the slightly three-dimensional surface of the floor, it pops out a little on the printed version,” he says. “The judges like the color — the good counter-play of the red on blue.”
With this win in his pocket, Poltorzycki says he’s continuing his learning, experimenting with lighting, playing with shutter speeds and learning more of the industry language. “It’s something that is fulfilling for me,” he says. “I’m not sure I have a unique vision, but I’d like to get there.”