Fresh Faces: Magdalena Siwicka

Magdalena Siwicka describes her photography as projecting "nostalgia and a sense of longing for a lost childhood and days that have past." Her latest project is about Bedouin girls from a small Egyptian village called Dahab, which is more or less where she’d drop everything to be right now. You can see examples of her photography on Gasoline.XXX which has a show coming up May 31 at Bushwick Open Studios.

Why photography?

My passion for photography began very early in life, thanks to my grandfather. He documented the life of his family through photography. From the time I was six years old, every time I would visit him we’d go through the photo albums he made. I think it was then that I made an unconscious choice to see and live my life through photography.

What was the first photo you ever took?

The first photo I took and developed in the darkroom myself was of my friend in the woods where everything is covered in snow. I still shot in that forest next to my house where I grew up. I took that photo on a type of old Russian SLR camera called a Zenit, which didn’t even have a built-in light meter. Because I didn’t own a light meter it was a great way to learn about light and exposure. I also wasted lots of film, but it was worth it.

Top three photographers of all time?

Richard Avedon, Francesca Woodman, Eadweard Muybridge

If you had one year with no financial restraints what would you do?

I would drop everything and go to Dahab in Egypt. I would pay for my freediving buddy Michelle’s plane ticket. We would pretend to be mermaids for half the day and the rest of the day I would continue to photograph Bedouin children. We’d smoke shisha and drink Egyptian beer in the evenings with the locals.

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