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One of Beata's works entitled 'Magic'. The photographer says she loves to work with children.

Award winning Beata’s passion for photography

PHOTOGRAPHER Beata Rosik recalls she felt “positively surprised and appreciated” when she discovered she was to be the recipient of Clare Arts Office’s TONES Studio Residency Award.

Beata, who is living in Ennis having moved from her native Poland, hopes this honour will lead to greater recognition of her work, which has already received many prestigious international awards and appeared in exhibitions around the world.

“It’s a really nice feeling that my work was noticed and appreciated here in Ireland. I’ve been photographing since I came here, which is about 14 years ago, it’s a long period of my life.

Beata took up photography seriously when recovering from cancer.

“To be honest, it is not easy to be noticed even in your own country, or maybe in your own country in particular, let alone living abroad. I hope that this awareness will help me to develop, and hopefully be a small bit more recognised in Ireland. I’m confident to say that Ireland is my home and Ennis is my town. And I would hope to make connections with different artists around the world.”

The 49-year-old is a primary school teacher by profession and worked in a school as well as being involved in politics as a councillor in her home country.

She moved to Ireland because she was “disappointed with the quality of life in Poland” and wanted a better life for her son. “We say our life started again in Ireland,” she says.

She spent a few years working at the Polish School in Limerick, however not long after her arrival in Ireland she was diagnosed with cancer describing this as “a tough period” of her life.

It was during her treatment that she discovered her love for photography.

“I took a small camera in my hand one day and looked through the lens and I enjoyed it, hence I bought a better camera with a better lens. I started with landscape photography. Ireland is so beautiful, everyone wants to capture it in photos. Unfortunately the weather isn’t always as beautiful as the views, that’s why I started working with people on portraits.”

Beata is inspired by “everything”. “Movies, music, nature, artists from medieval times, especially my favourite Leonardo Da Vinci or more contemporarily a photographer named Jan Saudek. Part of my photos are paintings where you can notice my quite tough childhood.”

She is “passionate” about working with different photographic techniques.

“Photos with the prism are one of my favourites. These photos are hard to make and understand. I think that photos like that define each artist. Working with prism is a way of moving one image into a different image, which makes a new image.

“That’s how my first photo using a prism was born in 2017 ‘Between Conscience’, which was awarded in an international photographic competition in Slovenia using an amateur camera. I used this camera and one lens for about ten years.”

Beata’s signature style is known for her use of props, and they are created with the help of her good friend Natalia Chrun, who is the mother of two of Beata’s photography models.

Like all artists Beata’s work was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, however she used the time she was unable to photograph people to develop her techniques even further.

“I think that all sectors had big difficulties because of Covid-19, that includes artists, especially those whose work is associated with working with different people.

“My work as a photographer does fit that area. Unfortunately there was no possibilities to take photos due to social distancing. During that time I spent my time developing new photographic techniques including Adobe Photoshop. I have two hard drives full of photos, I had plenty of material to practice on!”

She explains she was encouraged to apply for the Clare Arts Office residency award by Mary Flanagan from the College of Further Education in Ennis.

“She was the first to notice my work and she believed in me. She suggested I apply for the residency award. Edel Donnellan was very helpful as well. Without their help and support I would not be brave enough to apply.”

As the recipient of the TONES Studio Residency Award Beata will have access to a shared studio facility at the EASI (Ennis Access to Spaces Initiative) artist studios in Ennis for a year, a small production budget and supports needed to progress her work and her career.

She also has the opportunity to work with acclaimed Dublin-based visual artist and independent curator Moran Been-noon.

“I hope Moran will help me in my development, and allow me to make connections with different artists. I deeply believe that this is going to be a great co-operation and a new experience.”

As well as this latest accolade, Beata has also received two gold medals in the Nicosia Photographic Society in Cyprus International Contest as well as the Best Female Entrant Award.

In the past year she has won international awards including the Federation of International Art Photography (FIAP) Gold, Photography Society of America (PSA) Gold and Global Photography Union (GPU) medals, and two Blue Pin Awards.

She has appeared in exhibitions in Canada, India, Iceland, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Portugal, Cyprus, Ukraine, Tunisia and North Macedonia, to name a few. She received the GENIUS (G.APS) Distinction Award from Agile Photographic Society in Bangladesh.

“Never in my dreams was I expecting that my work would be awarded so highly across the world. I was very surprised with the awards I received last year. If you win a gold medal for your photo you are a very lucky person, but if you win the overall award and receive a Blue Pin from the Federation of International Art Photography where there are a minimum of 500 photographers from all over the world, you feel huge pride.”

She is looking forward to seeing where her TONES Studio Residency Award will take her. Beata says she has “no huge plans” for the future adding, “I enjoy every day”, though she reveals has an idea she is hoping may become a collaborative project.

“I would love to make a series of photographs about Irish traditions and legends. Maybe I can convince my fellow photographers from the Clare Camera Club to work on this project with me. A few months ago I was invited to the club and I was very kindly received. Sharing my passion with other photographers is a cool thing.”

She concludes, “Like everyone else I have dreams too. I would like to have good photographic equipment, travel the world, take photos of people especially children, but that’s only dreams for now.”

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