On the realness and raw beauty of nature.
PHOTOS Yan Kaczynski
Yan Kaczynski is an adventure photographer and an environmental activist.
His work attempts to show the symbiotic relationship between humans and the environment— that these are not meant to be separate entities. Kaczynski’s drive to visually reestablish this connection is his way of helping ensure the survival of environment.
Both his photography and aerial imagery feel authentic and attentive of the realness and raw beauty of nature. And his creative process, work ethic, and collaborations with select clients transcend these values.
For Yan Kaczynski, it’s all about connecting the human and non-human world and inspiring people by sharing the positive impact of nature through immersive outdoor experiences—one adventure at a time.
What sparked your interest in photography?
For as long as I can remember. My grandfather on my father’s side always carried his camera and it surely (unconsciously) influenced me. The camera itself was an object of curiosity and imagination for the young kid I was. I grew up with his prints on the walls of my grandparents’ place in Warsaw, just next to my father’s prints. My father did a lot of climbing and mountaineering as a young adult and I had the chance to discover his adventures through his amazing reversal film photography. He took some of the best adventure imagery I’ve seen to date.
How does traveling influence your photography, or vice-versa?
Traveling requires a lot of openness. You can’t just show up somewhere and shoot the way you want without being attentive to your surroundings and most importantly without knowing about what or where you are shooting. Traveling has influenced my working process and my work ethic. It has given me more empathy and more curiosity. I like to get to know the people and the landscapes in my photographs. I like to engage with my surroundings.
Is there a specific adventure or place that has stuck with you?
Most recently, I was amazed by the hospitality and the overwhelming kindness of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, a mountainous area in Northern Pakistan. But the northern regions of Canada are by far the most beautiful and inspiring places I have ever seen. I went to Baffin Island on a mountaineering expedition when I was a teenager. That was a really strong and immersive experience in our country’s wildest places. I had the same impressions during my travels to Quebec’s Côte-Nord as well as in Northern British Columbia and the Yukon.
What do you seek to capture in the subjects you choose?
Emotions for sure! But that comes with authenticity, which isn’t easy to find these days. If viewers relate with the emotions in my images, they will hopefully engage with them and maybe even share and spread the values I am trying to identify my photography with.
What would you like to communicate to people who look at your photos?
I hope my photography communicates my love for human beings and nature. In my view these two entities are not meant to be separate. I am hoping to reestablish this connection through my work—my own way of helping ensure our environment’s perpetuity.
Are you involved in any cause or social initiative that you would like to tell us more about?
We keep hearing this, but it’s true. The future is in the youth. I’ve seen what summer camps can do. They create immersive experiences in nature and promote real, concrete, immediate positive change through kids. I’ve worked countless hours to create the branding and the images for a summer camp in Quebec called Kéno. They bring young kids to live the camp life—from weekend getaways to month-long canoe expeditions along the wildest rivers of the province. Some children come home with more skills and maturity than their parents. I’d like to think camps like this will never die.
What 3 Instagram accounts inspire you the most?
His use of film photography in the high mountains is insane. It’s really refreshing to see someone shooting action sports differently.
Everything he does has a strong cinematic feel. His Alaskan spines pictures are incredible.
Without any question, because his storytelling is the best.
Where can you find Yan?