Hail to the Champ: Marek Ogien

Another photographer has been inducted into the Champions Gallery, and it’s our first non-American. Congratulations to Marek Ogien of Poland! Hopefully the Dakine camera pack will make up for World War II. We caught up with Marek to find out a little bit more about him and his winning shot.

Who is this photo of and when was it taken?

This photo was taken almost year ago, last September. The skater is a half French, half Polish 17 year old, Peter Dziedzic.

What’s up with this spot?

The spot is kind of scary. It’s in an old beer factory. It’s been closed now for several years. It’s like a big maze, with graffiti, broken bottles of alcohol and lots of holes on the ground. It’s all devastated.  Some friends had gone there before, but were kicked out by some hooligans.

How did you find it?

The dude that’s in the photo found it on a way from his school. He was there before with some guys, but they said it was the shittiest place for photos.

Why did you decide to shoot it like you did?

It was rainy day, Peter called me and said he was off from school and he had that spot. So we were there in an hour. Nobody was there. It was dark and cold, only some parts of light got through holes in the roof. I saw this kind of moon created by the wall, and I saw that background, and I realized I had to have it as my background. I used two flashes. First I was thinking about having one flash at the front and one at the back, both directed to the skater. But this place had something better to offer. So I put those two flashes in the back, one directed on skater and one on the background. I did a test shot and I felt in love with it. We made few tries and here you can see an effect of it.

What sort of set up did it take?

I did it with 50mm lens and two flashes with some pocket wizards.

How long have you been shooting and how did you get started?

It all started few years ago. It was hard winter. A few of my friends broke their backs, I hit my friend and broke his hand in his elbow. It all got me thinking a bit. I always had an analog camera at home, my grandpa had his own darkroom, my father used to take photos too. So it kind of came naturally. The analog camera was too expensive for me, I didn’t have money for film etc. Then I used my parent’s small digital camera. One day I just woke up and said to myself, let’s try do the same things I love but from the other side, and that’s how it started four years ago.

What is your camera set up?

I use Nikon. I have a Nikon d70s (but getting a new one soon) plus few flashes. Sunpak 555, pocket wizards and few lenses, all 2.8, from fisheye to zoom lens. And old analog camera too.

What’s the skate scene like in Poland?

The whole scene gets better and better. When I started skating we didn’t have a skate park, plus we were kicked out almost from every place, and everybody wore those huge pants and big t-shirts. There was no rock ‘n’ roll scene. Now there are so many skateparks everywhere, and some friends organize summer camps for kids. It’s super good. There are so many good skaters and everybody pushes each other to next level. My local scene has a great “young buck,” he’s 12 years old, and he is killing all those spots, stairs, gaps, street pipes, he’s just amazing kid. So it’s all going good.

What do you usually shoot?

I’m more in to snow, all great Polish snowboarders come from my city, so there is always bunch of good guys to shot with, plus I was always more into snowboarding. But skateboarding gives me so much inspiration and I want to stay close to it too. I do some FMX and downhill photos too, but mostly as a work. And hopefully if everything goes good I’ll shoot some surfing this summer.

Check out more of Marek’s work and his blog. http://www.ogienphoto.com