by Mike Sapiecha Published 01/01/2014
Mike Sapiecha's love of photography was born the day he borrowed his grandfather's Box Brownie, and his daughter has followed her father into the same profession and is a past SWPP Photographer of the Year
So often you will find that the catalyst for someone picking up a lifelong interest in photography comes from an influence within the family, and so it proved with Mike Sapiecha. Born to a Polish father and English mother, it was his grandfather who, almost inadvertently, inspired what has so far been a nearly fifty-year love affair with the camera, and Mike can identify the moment when he caught the bug with startling clarity.
"I was nine years old," he recalls, "and I remember that my granddad was in a wheelchair. He had an old Box Brownie camera, and I just picked it up and took his picture. I was enthralled with the experience and with the picture that resulted: two years later my aunt gave me £5 for passing my 11+ I immediately went out and spent £4-10s of this windfall on a Kodak Camera (a 127 I think). It was 1964 and that was a lot of money in those days: I don't think I've stopped spending on camera gear ever since!"
Given that kind of background it was scarcely surprising that Mike should go on to become a professional photographer, the mainstay of his business being weddings and location portraits. Latterly that has evolved to include commercial and fine art work, while Mike also now shoots portfolios for aspiring and established models.
Proving that passions can be passed through the generations, Mike's daughter Helen caught the bug, and made all the headlines three years ago when, against all the odds and in the first year that she had entered the competition, she won the coveted title of SWPP photographer of the year, while also winning the Science and Nature and Digital Art categories. Acknowledging the influence of her father, Helen disclosed at the time that she was "brought up with a camera in her hands." She was also inspired, not just by her father, but by many of his friends within the industry, especially Maltese photographer Christopher Azzopardi.
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