5 Question Friday with photographer Stephen Cysewski

A couple of months ago I discovered the photography of Stephen Cysewski. I wrote briefly about it on this site and promised myself I’d get a 5 Question Friday out of him when I had the chance. Stephen recently visited Tacoma a few weeks ago and he’ll soon be releasing a new collection of his latest wandering in Tacoma. (The pic to the above is one of the new ones.) As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this week’s 5 Question Friday is with Stephen Cysewski.  

1. How did you get started in photography?

When I was born! Really, I have always been interested in photography. I remember trying to trade a chemistry set for a camera at a second hand store.

2. What about Tacoma makes it a good city to photograph?

My memories of Tacoma from when I grew up is one reason, the other reason is that you can still see history in Tacoma, it has not been gentrified. I just visited Vancouver BC and all the “cool” stuff is gone, only memories. In Tacoma the personality is still here. Portland is similar, but in Tacoma it is not self conscious, it is real. The morning light is also beautiful and brings out the form and detail of the buildings.

3. Many photographers are very possessive of their work. Why are you so generous?

I want people to see my photographs, I also want to create a place for memories. The more I share the more people will see. The more people will see the more they might look at my other photographs. I want to be known as a photographer and the only way for that to happen is for people to see my photographs. Why take photographs if you try to restrict people from seeing them. I am not a commercial photographer my goal is that in twenty or thirty years my photographs will create or resurrect memories. Think of the shareware model of software as an analogy.

4. How has digital photography changed your approach to taking photos?

Not much, the concepts are the same, the images are the same. What has changed is that there are fewer gatekeepers from sharing your photography. In the old days there were books and galleries, now you can show your photography alll over the world without gatekeepers, it is really amazing.

5. What’s something you haven’t photographed that you’d like to?

Well I just finished a trip that accomplished some of that goal, going to Wenatchee and Eastern Washington. There is a place called Douglas Creek that I had not seen since 1965, I finally went there. I guess I would love to go to New York and to Japan, especially Tokyo. I would also like to go to Kolkata again, it was like Bladerunner, an amazing place. I would want to go to those places with a local person, not just on the surface. Laos is also a beautiful place, the images of Buddha in the old temples are truly beautiful. I noticed on my recent trip to the Northwest that I loved nature, I take it for granted, but large trees are really amazing. I have to count the days and years and to be thankful for my health. Mostly I want to photograph where I am, going places is cool, but taking photographs of places you know is very satisfying. Tacoma has many more places for me to explore and it is not spoiled like so many places.

Thanks to Stephen Cysewski for participating in 5 Question Friday and for sharing your photos with everyone. Go to his website, http://wanderingintacoma.com and see Tacoma in a whole new way.

As always, if you know of anyone you think would be good for 5 Question Friday, email me and tell me why at jackcameronis@gmail.com

– Jack Cameron

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