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Paul Kolenda

While growing up in Michigan, Kolenda would visit Chicago often. His love for Chicago brought him here in 1998. Since, he has focused on urban photography. Kolenda says, “It’s like a different world when you see these buildings. What were the architects thinking? What did they do to make everyone want to take a picture of their building? These architects have created a fantasy.” Kolenda prefers buildings that have odd angles which allow him to create abstract images.  Whether Kolenda is traveling or in the city, he takes time to research where he is shooting his photos. His preferred Chicago spots are by the river. Kolenda elaborates, “I like the reflections of the buildings in the water. The architects took so much time to design the buildings themselves, it’s a marvel that they took into consideration how the building would reflect on the environment around it as well.” The El has Kolenda working on his perspective and has driven him to explore more imitate parts of the city. Kolenda typically takes his photos alone, however recently he has been partnering up with different photography groups in Chicago. 

Paul Kolenda’s fascination with photography stems from his aspiration to take postcard quality photographs. Kolenda has been take pictures of his surroundings since he was a child, but has only really been shooting seriously for about 10 years. Since college, Kolenda has traveled the world. The first place to truly inspired him was a spontaneous visit to Fiji. Kolenda recalls the heightened colors of the land and in the water. Kolenda says, “That trip I just had my point and shoot camera and underwater camera. What they captured was out of this world.” Upon his first trip to Morocco, Kolenda realized that the main thing he wanted to capture in his photographs were specific memories. While some of these memories have significance to the artist, the true goal is to instill a sense of that memory and moment in time in the viewer. Kolenda explains, “When living in London I could go anywhere. Traveling has always been a part of my life and seeing all these places, capturing memories, and being able to recall a sense of smell or taste has been my goal when capturing these places.” When recalling his trip to Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakesh, Kolenda says, “The booth I remember the most was owned by a fisherman whose family had been in this one spot for about 80 years. His specialty was fresh fish he would bring in from the coast every morning. The fish he would cook right in front of you and was served with traded flat bread with grilled eggplant on top. I captured these moments and can recall these memories every time I see the photos.”

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