“I believe everything is possible, like having a picnic on the moon in the next 10 years…”
I think it’s fair to describe Magdalena Wosinksa in one word — cool. Or maybe two — VERY cool. In cahoots with FP to roll out our #DenimDaze campaign, we took a few minutes to talk with the famous Magda about her art, her love of fast rides and capturing fleeting moments in time.
Can you share with us how you came to decide…’I’m going to take nude self-portraits”? It’s not an idea that crosses too many minds…or at least, it’s not an idea that many folks actually execute. Or…it’s not an idea that many folks execute as well as you have.
Well, I think it all came from my upbringing. I grew up fairly poor in Poland…it was communist during that time, so everything was very scarce, from food to clothing. Options were limited, and I didn’t ever have a choice of clothing — fashion was not a thing. I was always wearing the same thing. After I moved to the States when I was 9, I noticed people cared about what they wore, maybe because it was accessible or maybe because I was getting older and paid more attention to what people call fashion. By the time I was 14 and started considering photography, I was shy, and not very outspoken (since English was my second language), and didn’t know how to ask people if I could take their photo. So I shot self-portraits. I got used to being my own subject til I got the guts to shoot others, but this has really stuck with me my entire life.
About 5 or 6 years ago I went on a trip to Iceland with one of my best friends. We rented a car and drove across the wild island, exploring Mars-like mountains, rolling green hills, chasing the steam of hot springs and running wild with Icelandic horses at midnight to a sun-filled summer sky. As I documented this journey I wanted to not only show others this dreamlike place, but I wanted to be involved more than just taking the photo. So I did what I was most familiar with, and shot self-portraits, subconsciously knowing this would be the beginning of a lifelong series.
As for the nudity in it all, I remember pulling off of the side of the road to shoot a photo of myself in a field of purple flowers. I looked down at my tattered jeans, my flannel and leather jacket, then looked at the soft perfect field of flowers, then back at myself, then the field, and said, “this would look much better nude!” The clothes didn’t match. They classified me too much, they showed who I was, how rich or poor I was, what kind of music I listened to and what time, era, year it was. All I wanted to evoke was the timelessness of the moment so, yeah, this long drawn-out explanation is how the nude series started!
You’ve produced several books in support of your photography. Care to speak to us about that process? Was it/is it a dream come true?
When I was in my early 20s I realized (as a photo assistant) that I needed to set up some ideas for my future, and found I could do that through goals, one of them being to publish a photo book by the time I was 25. And I did. The process was brutal — I was very unorganized with my work back then and didn’t take myself seriously as a photographer. Lots of long nights editing and finding images till 5 am to meet my deadlines for both printing and book launching. It was a lot of hard work, but really worth it. Once I had that book I could actually show people that I WAS a photographer. After that, I published another book, then another, and it became a way for me to catalog my life. It’s my picture journal entry.
What are 5 things that you want the Free People community to know about you?
— I always wanted to be a race car driver as I love fast cars.
— The best way to endless freedom is by riding motorcycles in the desert at sunset on a warm summer night.
— I’m much more domestic than people think.
— Best way to spend a Sunday is making ceramics and macrame with my girlfriends.
— I believe everything is possible, like having a picnic on the moon in the next 10 years…
Inquiring minds want to know – how do you keep your hair so lustrous?
Hahaha, I don’t do anything to it. Sometimes a trim, whatever shampoo I have laying around and a lot of fun in the sun and the beach.
You mentioned that you were in a band…fondest memory from that experience? Any plans to start/join another?
Well, there is nothing more epic then shredding a 78 Burny on a crazy loud 68 Laney Supergroup to a couple thousand people head-banging to the music you wrote with the other 4 radical people standing on that stage with you. All the good shows are all the best memories. Especially going on tours and experiencing an amazing camaraderie with other folks in other bands, and the lust we all shared for music. The band was called Green and Wood, kinda like Sabbath, some stoner rock mixed in with traditional doom. I have some vinyl records just burning a hole in my garage if anyone wants one. :)
And I would FOR SURE start another band if I found the right people to jam with. Why not try and be a rock star in my 30s…??
Boxers or briefs? Or neither?
100% Briefs! Be bold!
Whose spirit – living or dead – do you most closely embody?
Hmmmmmmmm that’s a tough one. I have one living, but it’s a secret:)
Tell us a secret.
I can’t tell secrets or they would not be a secret!