MEET OLYMPUS EXPLORER CHRIS POPLAWSKI
WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Christopher Poplawski. I am born and raised in Orange County, California.
I specialize in landscapes, travel, wildlife, brands, tourism, and weddings. Quite diverse I know, but I consider myself to be a Swiss army knife with a camera. I was programmed differently than traditional photographers. Most people are persuaded to focus on a specific niche and to really hone is their skills within that one area. But, I think what makes me unique is that I step into every opportunity with confidence and try to apply myself creatively. I believe this provides me a healthy creative balance, helping me avoid "creative walls" in return. I'm constantly working in different environments, perfecting my creative approach, building relationships and just applying myself and time into things I'm passionate about.
Photography is my full-time job. I also manage a creative agency that I launched in December 2018 with 5 of my best friends known as The Untold Narrative. So most of my time is spent working on brand direction with videographers, designers, photographers and full-scope creatives.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE A PHOTOGRAPHER?
After graduating from USC with a business degree, I found myself stuck in a Director role with a big time marketing firm. I would manipulate my 10 days vacation, by taking off 10 different Fridays just to spend longer weekends in the mountains backpacking. I saved everything, paid off my debts, saved for the camera I wanted, and attempted to document life with my friends in the mountains. I was far from 'talented' and had zero education into what I was doing.
But if you love anything, you know how quickly your mind becomes consumed by it. No matter how much I excelled in the office, it took me 2 years to fully grasp how unfulfilled sitting behind a desk really was for me because I truly I lacked creative application. I put in my two weeks, told my friends that evening I was going to dedicate all of my time from this point moving forward to photography. 3 and a half years later, I have never looked back.
I tried everything. Real Estate. Cars and rims. Engagements and weddings. Portraits. Dogs. And 3 months in, I caught my first huge break with MVMT Watches. 3 years later I am still working with them and found a huge interest and growth development in working with brands.
How did you get started with the Olympus system?
My first encounter with Olympus was while traveling in Germany, where a huge group of my photography friends highly backed the brand. I was curious, decided to reach out and before I knew it I had my first Olympus system in my hands a few days before heading to Japan. I honestly had no idea what to expect- or what the camera was capable of. Then Osaka Castle happened with the most incredible Cherry Blossom foliage I could only dream of, and the value of Olympus struck me. The dynamic colors, the size and ease of travel, the durability, and most importantly- the trust I quickly built within the system.
How does Olympus help you do your job?
Olympus offers me range, which is instrumental to my creative process. The more time I spend in the outdoors and taking photos, the more I realize that a good photographer is always prepared for any and all possibilities. Light rays in the distance, the unexpected wildlife encounter, a massive landscape arguably too big to capture, and the list goes on. Not only does Olympus offer what you'd expect in any camera, but the range in which the setup allows me to capture quality is huge. The performance is comparable to any, and I truly appreciate the portability and trust I have within the brand.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A MEMBER OF THE OLYMPUS FAMILY?
100% the people. Every single person I've worked beside, talked to, connected with in the field, etc- has been beyond personable. Helpful, excited, motivated to list a few characteristics. It really does feel like a family, and it's filled me with more purpose. When you're a freelancer, you somewhat miss out on the whole colleague part of life and Olympus has given me just that.
TIPS FOR OTHER BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Make time. The world will always give you a million things that weigh you down with comfort or distraction, and it will keep your passion sidelined. Believe me, it applies to every one of us and why we fail to pursue our dreams. If you want to be successful in life, I believe you need to make time for it. You will grow in your craft naturally, have opportunities to take classes (online or offline), ask questions and connect with others for advice, the chance to travel new places, to ask for opportunities and put yourself out there, to get involved in the photo community, and most importantly, the chance to see what you're made of.
TIPS FOR OTHER PRO PHOTOGRAPHERS
Don't lose sight of your passion. Remember those first weeks you started taking photographs, and the little kid moments you probably felt as you woke up early, energetic as ever and hoped for a good sunset. Reflect on those times often, and keep looking for those moments we want to capture and share with the world. As we all know, creativity is a tough road with lots of ups and downs. Passion is what keeps us going.