Arizona based photographer, Krysta Jabczenski, has the ability to take you to a dreamland through the images she produces. A calm, vacant vibe seems to settle over each scene whether the subject be a beautiful woman, an aging cactus, or a seemingly endless desert. When she began taking photos as a teenager, Jabczenski discovered her beloved Pentax K1000 and the wonders it could do. It quickly grew on her and no longer was photography a side hobby, this was a full-time project for life. With her photographer husband and year-old daughter along side, the trio has no shortage of adventures on the road. We spoke to Jabczenski about herself, her inspirations and her project “The West”.
Lola Who: Hi Krysta, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Krysta: Sure, I guess yall are probably confused about my last name, Jabczenski (pronounced JAB-ZEN-SKI). Supposedly, it means apple farmer in polish. I live with my husband and 1 year-old daughter in a 140 year-old adobe home in Tucson, AZ, which Im pretty sure is haunted. Most of the time is spent pursuing photography or other creative endeavors, and when Im not, Im most likely changing diapers, helping my babe with his vintage and new retail or trail running.
Lola Who: What spawned your interest in photography?
Krysta: I always got a thrill from taking photos. I guess my first memory would be in middle schoolId get my girlfriends together, and wed take a bunch of “fashion” photos, haha! In high school, I fell head over heels for a Pentax k1000 and spent as much time as possible in the darkroom. My photography teacher encouraged me to enter an international contest, which I placed second and that gave me the confidence to study photography in college and so on.
Lola Who: Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Krysta: Oh Boy I love photography for a lot of reasons, so I love a lot of photographers. I tend to gravitate towards photographers that shoot just plain ol mundane life in an intriguing way. It reminds me that life can be magical anywhereif you look for it. For the purpose of this interview, Ill pick five favorites; a mix of old school, contemporary and emerging photographers that I cant get enough of right now.
1. Sally Mann. Shes a goddess when it comes to her process and technical skills. In addition to that, I look up to her because she perfected her art through motherhood. As a new mom myself, Im constantly figuring out how to both care for a baby and have a focused head space for creativity. Sally Mann photographed what was closest to her; her kids and her home. Ive always looked at that work and felt so much life.
2. Niko Krijno. His still lives are incredibly original, and they blow me away.
3. Ana Kras. For being a fabulous photographer and not limiting herself to that single medium. Ana Kras is also a furniture designer, a model, a director, a drawer. Everything she does seems to bounce off onto another project. It’s such a fluid and fresh mindset.
4. Richard Misrach. His photos have the most beautiful texture, detail and colour Ive ever seen.
5. William Eggleston. The original color, snapshot photographer.
Lola Who: Can you tell us a bit about your project The West?
Krysta: Ive always lived in the Southwestern United States, and still do, so, I have a deep connection with this area. The West is a compilation of day-to-day moments that, for one reason or another, I felt were striking. Its not a conceptually driven portfolio, nor is it complete. Ill be adding to it as long as Im living here and feel inspired by this area.
Lola Who: Did you have an underlying concept in mind before the trip, or did it just create itself along the way?
Krysta: Hehe, I think the last question answered that but, no. It organically came together.
Lola Who: What were some of the highlights of this trip?
Krysta: Well, it wasnt really a trip. Its here, now, still happening! But, taking some of these photos were a product of spontaneously jumping in the car with my husband and just exploring. That mindset and him are a highlight of my life.
Lola Who: Your photographs are all shot in the natural light, is there a certain camera you use to get this result?
Krysta: Ive used a Pentax K1000 since high school. Ive recently just graduated to a Mamiya RZ67. But, I will always carry around a 35mm.
Lola Who: Your occupation and travel go hand in hand, how do you choose your next destination?
Krysta: Most of the time we just get restless and decide it’s time to drive out of town but, sometimes a job comes up or an opportunity to stay somewhere.
Lola Who: Lastly, where will the road take you next?
Krysta: Twentynine Palms, CA. My babe and I are sneaking off to one of our favorite hotels for our anniversary.