Stand in Awe before the World’s Most Striking Mountains

“The mother of my photographs is my love for the beauty of the mountains, while the father is my fear of heights. I like to feel fear, to get adrenaline, so probably that’s why I like capturing mountains the most.”
– Jakub Polomski

Argentina

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Rolling fog, jagged land and the gently awakening sun – Jakub Polomski’s crisp, sweeping photographs meticulously document the views he witnesses as he travels across the globe. The self-taught photographer has won numerous, including a National Geographic statuette, awards for his work in the field of landscape photography.

Travelling to places like Argentina, Norway and Austria, Jakub often photographs mountains – the 33-year-old photographer from Poland is adept at capturing the sense of insignificance one feels in their presence. Elsewhere, Jakub captures vast valleys, livestock, homes and churches within through his drone photography.

We met the nomad photographer to hear more about his travels.

THE PLUS: Tell us a bit more about yourself as an artist and as a person. Any secret talents?
Jakub Polomski:
When I am not travelling, I do wedding photography. I am drawn to colourful landscapes, just like the kind from old fairy tales, as well as dark monochromatic photos reminiscent of Mordor in Lord of The Rings. I am an introvert and a perfectionist, so I think my secret talent is self-criticism. Usually, I don’t like what I make, and I always want to improve something.

Iceland

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TP: How did it all start with you and photography?
JP:
In 2005 I bought my first camera, just for everyday use. I wasn’t interested in photography at all. However, I had a lot of free time and so inspired by images which I saw in one issue of National Geographic magazine, I decided to try shooting some landscapes. I live in a beautiful location, so I began taking shots in nearby places.

TP: As a self-taught photographer, how did you hone your skills?
JP:
Inspiration, motivation, knowledge, and – most importantly – feedback from other photographers. After two years I won my first award in a photo competition. In 2010, I was awarded National Geographic statuette, gaining the first place in the category “Polish Landscape”. Three months later, in another competition, I was rewarded with a one-week trip to Patagonia. When I returned from Patagonia, my life changed when my photographs got international exposure. After that, I had the confidence to go professional.

Chile

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TP: Tell us a bit about your travel ethos.
JP:
Honestly, I don’t think I have any. Although I plan all my journey in detail, I am a spontaneous person and I don’t stick to any rules. Everything on a journey depends on a specific situation. So I tread a fine line between remaining both flexible and also cautious.

TP: What draws you to mountains?
JP:
Quite often I get questions from people about my mountain pictures. I feel embarrassed then because I know they expect to hear some fantastic, thrilling story. However, the answer is odd: the mother of my photographs is my love for the beauty of the mountains, while the father is my fear of heights. I like to feel fear, to get adrenaline, so probably that’s why I like capturing mountains the most.

France

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TP: What’s your post-production process like?
JP:
I use Lightroom, mainly for setting appropriate white balances, curves and doing some split toning. I don’t use Photoshop at all.

TP: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get the perfect photo?
JP:
In Chile, I was hitch-hiking to get to the bottom of a volcano in Conguillío National Park. I caught a pickup truck and when I jumped to the back I saw that there was a huge tuna fish sharing the space with me! This journey took about two hours and it was 30°C. As you can imagine, all of my stuff was covered in fish odour for days afterwards.

Italy

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Norway

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Poland

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Slovakia

Slovakia

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Switzerland

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