Stunning family snaps turn photographer into internet sensation

Sebastian Luczywo’s wife Agnieszka is visible in many of his photographs, standing by the water or walking along a sunlit forest path. He said: I am very grateful to her for choosing cold and misty mornings over her warm bed. Sebastian Luczywo

In the hazy light of autumn, as early morning mist rises over a golden lake, a silhouetted woman leans forward to beckon her dog out of the water.

This ethereal world, entitled ‘Invitation to Life’, is captured by Polish photographer Sebastian Luczywo.

Now in his 40s, Luczywo hails from the town of Jelenia Góra, in south-western Poland. 

After studying economics, he spent the next 17 years working for a telecom company, before focusing on photography full-time in 2014. 

Sebastian captures his family in photos that embody his rural life.Sebastian Luczywo

His adventure with photography began in 2011, when a popular website named a photo snapped by Luczywo at the zoo its “Photo of the day”.

“I thought then that maybe it was photography that I was looking for all my life, as a means of expressing my stormy interior,” Luczywo told TFN. 

“I always envied those with talent, until I suddenly received a chance to find it within me.”

Luczywo’s adventure with photography began in 2011 when a popular website named a photo of his its “Photo of the day”.   Sebastian Luczywo

Luczywo’s photographs capture his two favourite regions in Poland: the mountains around his native Jelenia Góra and the rural landscapes of Podlasie, on the country’s eastern edge, where his parents-in-law have a house.

The woman visible in many of his photographs, standing by the water or walking along a sunlit forest path, is his wife Agnieszka.

Man's best friend: The photographer says he includes his pet dogs in his touching photos because they are a part of his family.Sebastian Luczywo

“I am very grateful to her for choosing cold and misty mornings over her warm bed. Posing requires considerable patience, but also good health,” he says.

Luczywo also uses his lens to document the childhood of his daughter and two sons, now aged between 20 and 12, who feature in some of his photography projects.

Much of his work is done in the morning, taking advantage of the light. Still, he has taken to always having a camera with him.  Sebastian Luczywo

The dogs in the photos are Luczywo’s own pack, which accompanies him on his walks through the surrounding countryside. 

“I am a human ‘wanderer’. I really like to flee from civilization and dogs are my life companions. Since the camera has also become a must-have, the dogs are often the heroes of my shots,” he explains.

When not working on his own projects, Sebastian volunteers as a photographer at an animal shelter.Sebastian Luczywo

When not working on his own projects, Luczywo volunteers as a photographer at an animal shelter.

“This photography gives me the most satisfaction. Creating photos that help a lost dog or cat find a home is very fulfilling,” he says.

Luczywo’s photographs capture his two favourite regions in Poland: the mountains around his native Jelenia Góra and the rural landscapes of Podlasie, on the country’s eastern edge, where his parents-in-law have a house.   Sebastian Luczywo

His portfolio encompasses a range of aesthetics – a journalist from China once asked him whether Sebastian Luczywo is a team of photographers, he quips.

Alongside his admiration for the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Sebastião Salgado, Luczywo says he is most influenced by music. Listening to music, he sees fixed and moving images, some of which he then seeks out in photography.

Sebastian says that as well as photography greats he is most influenced by music. Listening to music, he sees fixed and moving images, some of which he then seeks out in photography.Sebastian Luczywo

“I always base [my work] on my imagination, but capturing life, those unforgotten moments, is a major part of my photography,” he adds.

Much of his work is done in the morning, taking advantage of the light. Still, he has taken to always having a camera with him.

“I believe that regardless of the time and place, we are always capable of finding interesting light, an intriguing gaze, a unique shot or a special moment,” he says. 

This article was first published in September 2018.