Photographers are storytellers. They are tasked with capturing the essence of a series of events, with only a camera and a few lenses as their tools. How can one picture capture the emotion of an entire relationship playing out on one special day? Only photographers who understand the importance of these frozen moments in time can truly capture the raw emotion and history of the couple involved. Magdalena Glowacka of Fotomagoria is one of them.
Fotomagoria was founded in 2012 and inspired by 'phantasmagoria', which is defined as “a sequence of real or imaginary images like that seen in a dream”. Magdalena’s ability to capture the emotion behind an image is second to none. The emotional intelligence that she possesses means that her wedding albums are filled with vision, balance, and sentiment.
Starting in the industry
When I was in high school, I started developing photos in the darkroom. Photography took over me. I used to enter the darkroom in the evening and not leave until the morning. My friends saw me with a camera too, so they started asking me to photograph their family weddings. Simply because I was 17 and brave, I had the courage to undertake the task. Although today I wouldn't do it with such anxious preparation. As a nervous 17-year-old, I was afraid that I would spoil people's memories. But, over time, that naivety and fear became a trait of youth.
Capturing the bride & groom’s relationship
While studying cinematography at university, I watched hundreds of films a year. I've had the luxury of seeing so many different stories in so many different places since then. Every human life, without exception, can be material for a film or book. A wedding is a generational rite of passage for a couple, as well as their whole families. My role as a photographer is to develop empathy and an understanding of my clients, so that I can reach deeper, under the surface of the events of the day. Piece by piece, I tell their story as it unfolds with all nuances, moments of love, pure delight, enlightenment, tears, and nostalgia. These snapshots of personal stories and experiences will be their treasure to share with descendants for years to come.
The love of Florence
The art and design that Florence breathes inspires me as much as the landscape with cypresses and vineyards. I fell in love with this city when I visited it as a 16-year-old, and I was blown away by the majesty of the Duomo facade. I felt so enchanted that I said to myself: one day I will live here. I met the love of my life on the train to Florence. So after 18 years, I kept my promise of living here. My life is like a movie and I can't believe that it is set in beautiful Tuscany.
The mixture of reality and imagination
My brand name derives straight from phantasmagoria. My clients often notice and comment on the atmosphere in my photos. It is an integral part of my style, this aura of mystery, and the immersion in a fairy-tale world. My clients almost always get married outside of their country of origin, choosing breathtaking locations to celebrate their love. I myself often find these locations for them. The destination weddings and elopements that I photograph are not ordinary. The couple is on vacation, in an idyllic state out of mind, suspended out of real-life, and living in a dream. In a state like that, you become sensitive to beauty. Your senses sharpen so that you can pick up every emotion. My couples have this feeling. My advice is to let this moment last and try to commit it to memory so it never ends! I wish I could freeze that beauty in their photos.
Using landscapes in a wedding album
A person in any landscape is just a tiny crumb. I alternate images of macrocosm and microcosm. My couples love the drone photos which have become my trademark. They are so small in these photos that we hardly recognize them. But the photos reflect all the power of the landscape they chose for their wedding location. My stories show the clash between the elements of nature and two people in love in their close-ups, the small gestures, the secret glances, and the tiny details that make their day perfect. I show their intimate world in relation to the universe and capture that moment of their beautiful journey together.
Dream wedding location
There is a new trend of getting married after hours of trekking and climbing to the top of the mountain. This kind of wedding is known in our industry as an ‘adventurous elopement’. The couple exchanges their vows and rings in a remote place high up in the mountains. You feel like you are almost touching the sky. These weddings are metaphysical. This way of getting married speaks to me deeply because I love mountains and I even started learning to climb just so I would be able to photograph these kinds of weddings. I would love to be able to shoot a wedding in my beloved mountains of the Caucasus.
Preferring spontaneous photographs
My couples want to remember their actual emotions and the way they felt in those precious moments. I ask them to forget about my presence. I try to blend into the background and shoot scenes that they don't even remember happening.
Using drone photography
In the case of destination weddings, the place is like a separate character in the story. My couples are always in love with their locations and wish to preserve their image with all of the perspective and momentum of the day. I often start documenting space the day before or after the wedding. I intertwine the whole story for them with these photos, so when they look at their galleries they really feel as if they are traveling in time and space.
Favorite wedding shoot
My first wedding, which I photographed completely alone when I was 17 years old, took place in a small town and is very far from what I am used to photographing now. Since then, I have worked in exotic countries, glaciers in Iceland, villas on cliffs, and more unbelievably beautiful locations. It was just a gray, provincial town in Poland, but my excitement palpable. I already had a feeling that it would be my dream job. And best of all, after 20 years, I still manage to maintain that same level of enthusiasm.