If you read my instagram posts or previous interviews you will know i constantly spruik the positives of social media during a time when it is often criticised.
Krzysztof Jedrzejak makes my case even further. How else do you discover a surf photographer from Poland?
Yes, you read that right. All the way from the city of Gdansk, Poland, Krzysztof has made a name for himself photographing the icy waves of the Baltic Sea - You’ll find him on Instagram under the name Baltic Surf Scapes
His imagery is literally putting Baltic surfing on the map and once again, through the magic of social media, his work is being noticed by European surf magazines, Mens Health and National Geographic.
As well as amazing wave imagery Krzysztof’s images paint a picture of the cold water surfing lifestyle.
The tone in his photos somehow draws you in to feel the cold while you are viewing them.
It takes a certain type of person to be the one that see’s something no one else is doing and then making that their own.
He is inspiring in every sense of the word. From choosing to document such a fickle and unique subject matter (they get decent waves maybe 15 days a year!) through to putting his work out there and chasing the dream of a career in surf photography starting from the most unlikely of locations.
I’m a massive fan of his work. From the photography side I love his composition and tones, and the subject matter makes me want to jump on a plane and go and explore new surf scapes
I really enjoyed this one. Please meet Krzysztof Jedrzejak and be sure to follow him on Instagram and his website listed at the bottom of the interview
City of Gdańsk, Poland, south coast of the Baltic Sea. The place, where in the shipyard, the famous Solidarity was born, changing the European map forever.
Was photography always the plan or what made you pick up a camera?
I remember from my primary school times that I always carried a small film camera when I travelled. But I bought my first DSLR with a telezoom in 2010. I took it on my surf trip to the south of France. The Quiksilver Pro in Hossegor was on, so I stood in the front row at the beach to document it. Since that time photography has become my passion. At the beginning I was a bit more into landscape than action photography. I was in love with shooting minimalistic, surreal, black and white waterscapes using long exposure technique. Everything changed when I decided to take the camera with me to the surf sessions on the Baltic Sea.
Surf Photography and Poland would not be something too many people would put together. Firstly, it’s in the Baltic Sea with no access to the open ocean. Can you give us a bit of an insight into it and how you came to basically be putting Polish surfing on the map?
Not many people would connect Poland with surfing, and even fewer with surf photography. There’s no access to the ocean, and moreover, the Baltic is a small and shallow sea with a low salinity level. Mostly we surf short wind waves on a small period, but still there are some moments when nicely shaped ocean-like waves appear. So I started to document those days regularly, trying to show the world that Baltic is a place where you can also catch waves.
You have some incredible imagery from the surf there. How often is it that photogenic?
It doesn’t happen often, maybe about 15 days a year. Mostly when long distance swell from the north or west of the Baltic hits our coast.
The average sea temperature in the town where I live in Australia is around 18 degrees in the middle of winter. What water temps are you dealing with in Poland and what is this experience like?
18 degrees is the maximum sea temperature in the middle of summer here in Poland, while in winter it drops down to freezing level. For me the most challenging is shooting from the water in winter time. There’s no place for taking it slow. You have to know the plan, because after an hour of shooting, there may be no chance of pushing the shutter button anymore.
I understand you run a surf school? Is this catering to more locals or travellers and is it becoming more a destination for people to visit and experience surfing?
Yes, in the summer season (June to September) together with my surf mate, we run a surf school and surf rental. With a population of 38 million, Poland is a country where people still don’t realise that surfing exists at all. That’s why we try to promote it and give people an easier access to this beautiful sport. Most of our students are people who visit Hel Peninsula, one of the most popular regions in Poland during the summer season. It’s also a great place for kite and windsurfing.
Your Instagram has a number of cold water surf images from locations out of Poland including Norway, Iceland etc. How often are you travelling and chasing cold water waves?
Last year I travelled to Norway and Iceland and that was the first time when I visited those magical places. I was hired as a surf photographer on both trips. It was winter in the Arctic, above the polar circle, so first I was a bit scared about the water temperature. But when I jumped into the line-up, I was surprised that it’s much warmer than in the Baltic. Then I remembered, oh yeah, the Gulf Stream - I’d love to visit the Arctic this year, I’m totally in love with the north.
You have had your work in print in a number of publications now. What has this process in being discovered for your surf photography looked like for you? Eg Are you outwardly submitting work, are you being found through social media etc?
I’ve had my work printed in some European surf magazines so far. Probably I was discovered on a social media as the only full-time Polish photographer dedicated to surfing on the Baltic Sea.
What are you goals as a surf photographer?
To develop my photography skills in the water. To travel and discover new places, meet new people. I’d also love to see more of my work on paper. It’s an amazing experience to have it printed in the magazines or shown to a bigger audience at the exhibitions.
Are there any specific destinations you would like to go and shoot that you haven’t been to yet?
I really like winter vibe in surfing, so I’d love to explore cold water destinations outside Europe. Alaska, Canada and Kamchatka are definitely on the list. One day I’d also like to shoot one of the monster slabs like Teahupoo or The Right. It must be an amazing feeling to sit close on a jet ski with a camera when the beast is awoken.
Dive into Krzysztof’s world further here
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