The purpose of my blog has been to share my journey as a parent, and to celebrate motherhood! Not just me, but mommies all around me as well! And with that in mind, I am starting a new section called MOMTASTIC 🙂! I will be interviewing inspirational mommas who are wearing multiple hats, and managing it all with panache!
My fab femme for February is ace photographer Alicja Kalinska. She has been passionate about photography for a long time; it started as a fun hobby while she used to fly as a purser for Etihad Airways. But it was her move to Qatar three years ago that made her take the leap f faith to become a full-time photographer, And the birth of her son Oliver 16 months ago, encouraged her to step into the family and maternity shoot spectrum as well.
Explain yourself in about 10 words.
Mother, Photographer, Businesswoman, Hard worker, Positive Thinker, Perfectionist, Risk Taker, Grateful, Adventurous, Good and Humble.
But I am talkative, so let me explain it further:
- “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” MOTHER
- “When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” PHOTOGRAPHER
- “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” BUSINESSWOMAN
- “You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” HARDWORKER
- “Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” POSITIVE THINKER
- -“You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame.” PERFECTIONIST
- “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” RISK TAKER
- -“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” GRATEFUL
- “I may be going nowhere, but what a ride.” ADVENTUROUS
- “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.“ GOOD AND HUMBLE
Tell us about your business.
Let us start at the beginning. It all started as a hobby ;). While I used to fly as a purser for Etihad Airways, I used to photograph everything around on my travels. In fact, my colleagues called me ‘little paparazzi’.
And then came a time, where I was wondering if I wanted to stop flying and become a full-time photographer. Was I ready for it? To move from something stable to something like this? To be my own boss?
But life took the decision for me. My husband received a job offer in Qatar, so we decided to go, for me, it meant exiting my comfort zone and becoming a full-time photographer.
Back then, being a photographer was my only task. Not “photographer slash full-time CEO of the Household, backslash housekeeper, personal chef, head cheerleader of Oliver’s team, champion tickler, toy repair expert, sleep scientist, kiss and hugs expert and lady MacGyver” 😉
At that time, my photography focus was mainly on corporate/family/sport events and weddings with a hint of product, food and architectural photography, now and then. I also started doing some maternity and newborn sessions, however mostly for friends who have asked me.
I was lucky enough to be able to set up my own studio, which offers privacy and comfort. I currently offer custom-made sessions, which include:
- maternity photoshoot/ pregnancy month by month – indoors in the studio and/or outdoors in your chosen location
- newborn studio photoshoot/1st year of life (covered month by month or by milestones like first smiles, sitting up, standing up, first steps and finally cake smash)
- Newborn lifestyle photo-shoot – in the comfort of your home
- Family photo-shoots – indoors in the studio and/or outdoors in your chosen location
I still do some events and weddings from time to time though.
How has the business evolved?
Things changed the moment I got pregnant. I realized how remarkable these 9 months are, how women who come for pregnancy photo-shoot feel, and how unforgettable these moments when the baby is just a few days old, smiles for the first time or when a baby becomes a toddler. They will pass by so quickly, all so remarkable, but un-repeatable. Capturing them will be a unique piece of art, which I desired to create. Knowing what it means to be pregnant, to be a mother and a part of a family, I started to value this type of photography above all.
So basically at this stage, Alicja Kalinska Photography is mostly about capturing these beautiful moments of family lives, which will never happen again. I love the words taken from my friend’s husband:
“I never thought I would ever be so happy, my love, from the day you gave me the news of your pregnancy I have not stopped smiling. For the way you evolved with our baby over these 9 months, the way you cared for, nourished and loved the soul within you – I say with absolute truth, you have never been more beautiful. To think that in a few hours you will make me a dad, makes me the happiest man alive. My happiness will be complete when he is in my arms and I can see the glow in your eyes. I love you endlessly & I can’t wait to start this family with you <3”
What are your goals for Alicja Kalinska Photography?
My aim is to capture these inner feelings, to see the smiles within, emotions, the beauty – inside and outside. So that one day, when people will look back, they would be able to recall them and feel them again, as if they were real.
What about your own memories? As a child? Do you have many pictures from then?
I wished in “our times”, we had access to technology like nowadays – I would love to see more photographs of myself as a child and my parents – to see how we all were changing and growing up as a family. I actually set up an email for my Son, and I am sending him “progress reports” with his pictures 😉 I hope he will love to be able to see himself and us together as a family 😉
What is it about photography that excites you?
I love meeting new people. I am actually surprised with my answer. But it came to my mind on the spot! Each photo I create is a reflection of a bond between people I photograph and myself as an artist, unique mix captured in one frame, one moment of life which recorded became eternity… So I guess the real answer should be creating eternity from evanescence while meeting new people 😉
How do you find the time to juggle motherhood and your work?
I don’t find time LoL! I literally sleep a few hours a day! 7am – 8pm “baby/cleaner/cook shift”, followed by hours in front of the computer, in the studio or out taking pictures. I actually wonder how I am even surviving 😉 I didn’t have a single day off since 493 days! I guess what keeps me going is staying positive. I applied one thing – while being with Oliver, I focus on US in that particular moment, not on the million things which still need to be done. Eventually they will get done sooner or later, so why spoil our beautiful moments together with worrying about them.
Tell us about the most interesting, enjoyable as well as challenging shoots you have done.
Until now the most interesting and enjoyable outdoor photoshoot experience is during Color Run Qatar. It’s unbelievable how many amazing, different people I meet during this event, and photographing them being happy and having fun is such a pleasure. However, it is very challenging due to the conditions – to get the best shots, you need to be in the middle of action (plus you really want to be in the middle of it!) and while you are there, you need to protect your equipment! Every year I am spending a few evenings trying to DIY best possible camera covers and it never lasts until the end of the run…
Indoors, the biggest challenges are newborns. Every single one of them! They are such incredible, unpredictable miracles, who give you the highest sense of achievement once you have captured their perfectness on camera.
What is the one most important parenting rule you live by?
Grow to explore
To view Alicja’s work and to get in touch with her, visit https://www.facebook.com/alicjakalinskaphotography/