Local photographer focuses on Morocco

By Jennifer Walker

A celebration of light, vision and subject, his work brings the world to the viewer in images that are so often ignored or unseen. Today, he is making plans for exhibits in Morocco this summer, and possibly in Ottawa this fall.

Jakobiec is a local photographer. Born in Szczecun, Poland, Jakobiec has lived in Ottawa for 20 years, during which time he has travelled the globe finding inspiration in images of people, and the intricacies of ordinary items like tables and chairs, fallen fences, and architecture.

“I don’t do it for others, I do it for me,” he says. “I have forever been interested in photography, and I like the feeling of power it gives to me. I am not like other artists, I do not create, I communicate.”

In his last exhibition in Ottawa at Ginn Photography’s gallery on Bank Street titled White and Black and Bronze, Jakobiec described his work by stating:

“Life is a film…a short film so I walk slowly. Each time I pause I take a picture. Each picture is a frozen frame of life. In search of an order, a certain verse of phrase, a reflection on that which will pass, I refrain from excessive colour. Reducing it to black and white brings out what is most important — form. I include bronze to attain that certain vein . . . not everything is frigid. There are things warm, intimate. White and Black and Bronze . . . ‘Less is More.’”

Jakobiec began taking photographs when he was 13 or 14 years old. Following in the footsteps of his father he learned the technology, then found the vision.

“Photography had been my life since forever,” he says. “It’s not a job, just a way of life.”

Jakobiec has assembled a total of five portfolios, including collections of photographs from Canada, Morocco, Spain, England and Poland.

Each portfolio of photos includes a variety of works in black and white that use light and shadows to enhance the images of what the untrained eye may see as ordinary.

On his Web site (www.wojciechjakobiec.com)Jakobiec comments on his gift for seeing the extraordinary in the everyday by quoting photographer Dorothy Lange. “The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera.”

The young photographer received his master of arts degree from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, and is currently studying through correspondence at the New York Institute of Photography in New York City.

“There is always more to learn,” he says. “I don’t want my art to be limited to old technology or old thinking. I need to grow as an artist and learn new things.”

Jakobiec is not the only one in his family to be inspired by his father.

His son Jan Jakub Jakobiec Jr. is also an avid photographer and world traveller. Jakobiec Jr. is currently completing his masters degree from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

In 1998/99 he travelled to China to work on a project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and the Yunnan Public Health Bureau.

While in China, Jakobiec Jr. compiled his own portfolio of colour photographs of the women and children living in poverty-stricken Yunnan. His ability to capture character, condition, and emotion on film is reminiscent of his father’s style, and indicative of his attention to human capacity.

As Jakobiec continues to grow as an artist he says he feels quite fortunate to be able to explore the world and capture it on film.

“My photographs are about shape, about emotion, about life. I want to show people what they miss when they turn away too quickly. I see beauty in simple things. I think that’s important.”