Hi Konrad, can you please introduce yourself and ‘The Whisky Island Gallery & Studio’ to our readers?
I’m a documentary, portrait and whisky industry photographer based on Isle of Jura. I shoot mainly for businesses and corporate clients on Islay and Jura, and occasionally on the mainland or worldwide. 3 years ago I opened a Gallery in Craighouse where I display my work and offer bespoke photography tours and workshops.
You moved to Jura in 2006, what was it that led you to make the move to Jura and opening the gallery?
I was dreaming of living in a place like Jura ever since I was a kid. I grew up in a big city of 1 million people in central Poland, far away from the mountain and the sea, but I always yearned for true nature, wilderness, space and beautiful landscapes. When I found Jura, this was it and I simply never left.
The gallery is located in Jura’s only village Craighouse, and boasts spectacular views. Can you explain your surroundings?
I’m literally less than 20 meters from the shore with spectacular views of the Small Isles Bay, the Paps of Jura, and the beautiful village of Craighouse with its cute Hotel and the famous Jura Distillery.
What local businesses do you call your neighbours, do you have a favourite place you like to go for a coffee?
I’m right next to two up-and coming Jura businesses: The Deer Island Rum and Camela Crafts. I will occasionally grab a coffee at the Hotel or The Antlers Cafe, probably the only two places you can do that here, but they both have good coffee! The truth is that due to my often busy schedule I will mainly have coffee at my Gallery, out on a hill from a flask when scouting for next best shot, or in a car on the way to a photoshoot.
The gallery is home to a collection of your award-winning photography prints, available for people to enjoy and purchase. Can you explain a bit about your work to us, and the type of photography that you do?
Most of my work is focused on shooting for the whisky industry, so you will find a lot of images of distilleries, moody scenes from warehouses, and portraits of distillery people at work. On the other hand, though, I have a number of dramatic landscape photographs of Islay and Jura with their pure nature and wildlife, and of course, numerous shots of Jura stags almost always with breathtaking backgrounds.
You also offer photography classes, what should people expect when they book one of your classes?
I offer bespoke photography classes and tours for very small groups or for individuals so they are always adjusted to clients current photographic knowledge and their expectations. Of course, I teach technical aspect of photography such as how to use the camera correctly and how to achieve a certain effect, etc, but I mostly focus on how to see photographically, what to look for in the environment and nature in search of a good image and what to eliminate from it. I also share some of my own secrets of how I personally execute the shots for the best results and how to work with available light.
Where on Jura is your favourite place to shoot and for what reason?
I absolutely love anywhere in the west coast of Jura. It is dramatic, wild and diverse, and it always looks different in different seasons, weather and times of the day. From raised beaches to rugged cliffs, caves, natural arches and stunning waterfalls – you never get bored here.
As well as landscapes you also photograph the magnificent wildlife that lives on Jura. You have a fantastic collection of photographs of Red Deer, in particular ‘Stag at full moon in Ardlussa Estate’. Can you briefly explain how you got this shot?
It took me over couple years to get this image from the moment I planned it. I knew I needed a full moon, twilight, clear weather, and a stag on the hill – all in the place that is about 30 minutes drive from Craighouse, but has a hill looking out to the east where the moon is rising, and where you can often see deer. I had maybe one or two days a month when I could execute that shot. This was simply a waiting game which invlolved a lot of failed attempts, but one day I got it right. I’m so glad British Photography Awards recognised my efforts in taking this photo.
When you are enjoying some downtime, how do you like to spend your time on the Island?
I love kayaking and stand up paddling in the Small Isles Bay or on Loch Tarbert. On sunny and warmer days I simply chill out on the beach playing football with the dog.
When you are not taking photos in Jura and are on the mainland, where in Scotland do you like to visit, and where is next on your hit list?
I don’t think there is anywhere in Scotland that I’d go and not take photos. My camera is with me anywhere travel. I love Scotland’s west coast and I absolutely adore Scottish Islands. I’ve been to quite a few, and I recommend any of them, and but I still have a few more to visit. Orkney are high on the list.
To the readers who are thinking about visiting Jura, how would you describe its character and what would you recommend doing while there?
Vast, rugged, wild and dramatic, but you need to venture out to the west coast of Jura to fully appreciate the place and that takes time. There are practically no roads or houses on the west coast and it takes some effort to traverse the terrain across the island. Once you make it there it is spectacular. I’d recommend at least a few days to a week to really get the feel of the place.
Finally, where can our readers find out more about you and your work? And what is the best way to plan a visit to your gallery?
It is always best to double check if my Gallery is open by sending me a quick message – either email or WhatsApp as I may be out on the photoshoot or taking clients on a photo tour with no one to cover in the shop.