Scotland Through A Lens: Tomasz Szatewicz – February 2023

Chief Sub-Editor Rosie Morton speaks with  Tomasz Szatewicz about his landscape photography, as featured in the February edition of Scottish Field magazine. 

Where are you based?
I’m in Inverness, but I’m from north east Poland in a small town called Mrągowo. I moved here a long time ago. I started to travel with my wife, in between my university years, and we got to Scotland because it was always on our radar. That’s how it started really!

What did you study at university? And how did you get started in photography?
I have a MA in Fine Arts, and graphic design was my speciality. Photography was mainly a hobby. I started going to after school photography classes in primary school. We had a small dark room there so we developed prints. That gave me a really good base to work from, and I got hooked on landscape photography mainly, but other types of photography as well. I worked as a graphic designer for many years though.

When did the shift to photography happen?
It was a natural shift which I didn’t really expect. I didn’t think of myself as a photographer back then, but I got more and more fed up working at a computer all the time. I started my Facebook page [Land of Light Photography] in 2006 and began doing more and more photography jobs alongside the design work. Then I started doing workshops because I got a few requests and started doing calendars as well. I realised I could start doing it full-time and try to make a living. It happened naturally.

What is it about landscape photography that you love so much?
I think it’s a combination of the process and the final result. Very often the process is even more important than the final photograph. It’s about being in the outdoors and heading out of my home area. Some people have dogs to walk, whereas I have a camera that takes me out and about. Even if I get lazy or too comfortable at home, if I see good conditions outside, that will take me out of that comfort zone and put me in what is sometimes a very wild environment. That’s what I really enjoy.

How does Poland compare to Scotland for you as a photographer?
It is pretty different. Where I come from, it’s a small town surrounded by many small lakes, rivers and meadows, and there aren’t many mountains – but there is a lot of nature. So, I grew up surrounded by nature and I was very often out hiking. That was when I first fell in love with the outdoors really.

We have the Baltic Sea as well, but that was about a two- or three-hour drive from my place. And then I would have to travel even further down south to get to the Polish mountains which I also love, but they’re different to the Scottish mountains. Things are more spread out. Scotland is more compact than Poland. Where I am in Scotland I can drive for half an hour and be in the mountains or be on the coast in ten minutes.

What’s your main aim when you’re taking photographs?
My website ‘Land of Light’ suggests I’m trying to capture ever-changing light which is very exciting and great to observe as it changes through the seasons. But also it can be colours and textures. I also enjoy bad weather – capturing the atmosphere is something I really enjoy. It can be very atmospheric and moody.

What has been your most memorable moment as a photographer in Scotland?
There are many, but one was quite special to me. I was on my own, and I’d had bronchitis with breathing difficulties and a fever. I was really having a bad time and I was not able to do anything. After that difficult period, my first outing was to the Isle of Skye. I was feeling better but I wasn’t fully recovered.

Somehow I managed to get to the top of a cliff near Elgol and I experienced one of the most amazing rainbow shows I have ever seen in my life. It was like the reward. There were multiple passing showers and the morning light was creating absolutely amazing rainbows. Some of the rainbows were so close to me that it felt like I was actually in the rainbow. I saw supernumerary rainbows – multiple rainbows in one. It was surreal. It is something that I remember to this day.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Doing what I love really. It’s great. Being able to do different things as well, because I don’t like routine. Doing workshops, meeting people from all over the world, and then also doing stuff on the computer like putting together calendars – it’s a lot of different bits and pieces. It’s not constantly the same. I lose my creative flow if I do one thing for too long.

To see more of Tomasz’s work or to find out about his workshops, please visit his WEBSITE.