Tom Krawczyk (b. 1988) is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in English Education, he worked as a substitute teacher on the South Side of Chicago until he moved to South Korea to satiate his bug for travel. He lived in South Korea for 2 years, teaching students, exploring with his camera and working on documentaries. His photographs have been painted as murals in the bustling neighborhoods of South Korea and displayed as billboards in Hong Kong for Vans Skateboarding. His work has also been on the cover of Bling, a Korean indie rock, underground hip-hop, club culture, and fashion magazine. His work focuses on finding the subversive, alternative, and fringe elements of everyday life and bringing them to light through photography.
Before my solo trip to Poland, I was on a brief shooting hiatus. Similar to writer’s block, I had a difficult time picking my camera up. I’d think about photography religiously but there was this instilled fear of failure. I felt like I was running out of ideas and inspiration. I knew that in order to become a better photographer, I just had to go out and shoot. The constant cycle of juxtaposition put pressure on my willingness. This trip was going to push me outside my comfort zone and that’s exactly what I needed.
I started to think if the way I was feeling had anything to do with my personal life. Was there something missing? Like an artist and a writer, much can be said about a person through their work. It changes as they do. After returning from Poland, I looked at my photos asked myself, “What do these photographs say about me? Why did I shoot the way I did?” Moments later, I found myself dusting off old hard drives and going through my old work. My own photos determined that I was a shy and novice photographer just by the distance that was shared between myself and the subject. Every photo was shot far and wide. In the Poland photos, I was drawn to more intimate details. Exploration of love, friendship, religion, and humor are all evident features.
Now what does this say about me? Why was I drawn to these particular subjects? These questions have helped me look at my photography at a more profound and meaningful level. They are all things I can apply to my own personal life to help me figure things out. This realization has helped bring me closer to my camera.
To view more of Tom’s work please visit his website.