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Based in Ipswich, Jolanta is originally from Latvia and has been taking photographs since she was a child. It's both a passion and a profession for her and her work is much in demand from environmental portrait sessions and weddings to commercial event coverage. Her camera of choice is Nikon and she also has mastered Photoshop in postprocessing to produce stunning images that we delighted to share with our readers.
Ipswich is my home since 2006. I love photography, hand-made art, couture garments, travels and meeting new people. I am Latvian born and grown-up under the communist regime in the Soviet Union in the last century in the '60s. My father was a dissident and "The Iron Curtain" locked down our family. But, the lack of informative and physical freedom turned out into creativity in my life.

When did you first become interested in photography?

I remember myself, as soon my eyes were on a table-top level, my father allowed me to be in the darkroom where the magic happened. I was amazed by the mystery of how images pop-up on a paper from nowhere. My father loved photography, and over the years he explained all the chemistry and behind-of-scenes moments. As a teenager, I spent many hours taking photos and working in the darkroom. Then photography was not my only hobby. I was pretty good at textile crafts and drawing. Emptiness and dark boring colours (dictated by communist's standards) in clothes shops in the Soviet Union developed creative thinking. I liked to be original and attractive. At the age of twelve, I started to make clothes. I learned from my mistakes and masters until I nailed it at the Savile Row level. I made living from crafts for many years and I asked photographers to take photos of my more attractive works before they were gone to clients. But I was missing the wow moment in these images and I decided to come back to photography and learn again.

You are so fortunate to do something you love as a job. How did you make this happen?

I simply decided how I want to spend the rest of my life. I had sacrificed a lot of my time and health for other people, and I wanted to change something. I put all my skills in one place and took steps towards a freelance job.

What advice can you share with those of us who struggle to take a decent picture of anything?

The key is practice, practice, practice. My favourite saying about photography is by the German photographer Almut Adler: "Taking photos is like writing with light, like playing music with shades of colour, like painting with time and seeing with love." I like this quote and it is my guideline. A photographer must love the subject that they are taking the images of. I had to make a big jump into digital photography. Technically, I had to learn everything from scratch. I put a lot of effort to update my skills. Mostly, I got my theoretical knowledge from online courses and workshops. Postproduction also is very important and I enhance my knowledge every time after the software – Lightroom and Photoshop – is updated. Photography is like any other craft and it is time-consuming.
You take the most beautiful images of nature and landscape. What's the key to capturing that special moment?

My heart belongs to nature. To be a photographer of nature means a lot of planning, traveling, observing and waiting. A list of equipment in my backpack is long but, let us be minimalistic. I need only five things to take a good photo of landscape and nature. These five are – a camera, a lens, a tripod, an alarm, and luck. The most important is the alarm because timing is everything. The sunrise will not wait for a photographer.

You must find current restrictions very frustrating. Have you been able to take pictures from your home or garden?

Current restrictions are not frustrating for me. I sneak out to lonely places, sometimes. But this summer will be extremely different. I think that I will have plenty of time to improve my skills in "table-top" photography. I have several subjects on my to-do list like food, cosmetics, and jewellery. Also, I am managing a few different kinds of projects at the moment. I love painting on canvas and silk and make garments for myself and my models.

Do you take commissions? Can you tell us about some of the work you've been commissioned to do?

I had the photo project "The Golden Dress" when I made a garment, especially for the private photo session. I was re-creating the iconic photo of actress Elizabeth Taylor in 1946. In the meantime, I filmed the backstage video of myself doing the sewing. I invite readers to watch it on social media platforms. I am sure that a professional portfolio, a good dress for a woman, and perfect timing are life-changing things. So, additionally, to photo sessions, I offer styling and dressmaking. I'm open to new projects related both to photography and crafts. The last season I was busy shooting weddings and events. I had plenty of photo sessions. I saw clients using images on their social media platforms and web pages. Also, a few of my photos were published in the local newspaper "East Anglian Daily Times" at the end of September 2019. I had private orders for enlargement prints, as well. Now and again, I helped businesses by creating content images for digital marketing. When I see my client's success, it inspires me and makes me happy.

Where do you like to go with your camera when you have free time?

I do not have free time. I am always busy. But I like to escape from the crowd and noise to lonely places now and again. Usually, it is a forest or sea coast. There I observe nature. I watch sunlight creating shadows and colours matching in plants and moving clouds in the sky. I listen to the sounds of nature – wind, and birds in the forest and waves in the sea – and I absorb peace. But my camera bag always is with me, in case if something interesting comes up on my way.

What advice can you give to someone who wants to be a professional photographer?

The mastery is not happening in the blink of the eye. Equipment is important but I have to explore what it does, at first. I am still working with an amateur Nikon camera because I have understood that the most important component is the person behind the camera and not the price of your equipment. The image is not happening by itself. A person is taking the image. It all depends on what is in the brain when you press a shutter button. I advise learning from the world's best photographers because the market is overloaded with average "professional entrepreneurs". I wish good luck to myself and to everybody who is thinking of being a professional photographer.

Where can readers see more of your work and follow your progress?

I have the web page where people can see my extended portfolio. Also, I am kindly inviting your readers to follow me for inspiration on Instagram and Facebook platforms.

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