Ipswich theatre photographer Mike Kwasniak receives top accolade

Photographer Mike Kwasniak in the auditorium at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich 

Photographer Mike Kwasniak in the auditorium at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich - Credit: Steve Tarling

Ipswich theatre photographer Mike Kwasniak has been awarded Fellowship of the prestigious Royal Photographic Society.

Mike, 66, provides images to companies all over East Anglia, as well as touring companies from all corners of the UK.

He is proud to have supplied the New Wolsey Theatre (previously the Wolsey Theatre) and Eastern Angles Theatre Company with photographic services for nearly 40 years.

A scene from the New Wolsey Youth Theatre's Grimm Tales

This scene from the New Wolsey Youth Theatre's Grimm Tales was one of the images in Mike Kwasniak's portfolio for the Royal Photographic Society - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

"I was absolutely delighted with the recognition," he said. "I feel privileged to have spent a lifetime working in theatre."

Mike started out in the early 80s, working with Richard Leggatt, who was publicity manager at the Wolsey, taking over from him when he moved on a few years later.

In 1982 he was asked to take photos of the understudies for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar - and that was just the start of a long career as a photographer.

A scene from Eastern Angles' production of Ragnorak, from Mike Kwasniak's portfolio for the Royal Photographic Society

A scene from Eastern Angles' production of Ragnorak, from Mike Kwasniak's portfolio for the Royal Photographic Society - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

He became an associate of the RPS in 2012 and has now been awarded a Fellowship. This is the highest level of distinction offered by the Royal Photographic Society, requiring work of the highest technical ability.

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Mike trawled thousands of images to select a portfolio that represented the most visually extraordinary work created by both the New Wolsey and Eastern Angles for his submission.

A scene from Eastern Angles' production of Arthur Ransome's We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea

A scene from Eastern Angles' production of Arthur Ransome's We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, from Mike Kwasniak's portfolio - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

He said his success came as a huge surprise, as the RPS is generally looking for proof a photographer can control and influence every aspect of a picture, while theatre photography is the exact opposite, and is pure photo-journalism, attempting to make the best of whatever is presented.

No matter how dark the lighting conditions or frenzied the action, his job is to record a live event as it happens - silently and with no second chances.

A striking image from Eastern Angles' production of Ragnorak

A striking image from Eastern Angles' production of Ragnorak, one of the photos from Mike Kwasniak's portfolio for the RPS - Credit: Mike Kwasniak

A dramatic image from Eastern Angles' production of Ragnorak

A dramatic image from Eastern Angles' production of Ragnorak, which was one of the pictures in Mike Kwasniak's portfolio for the Royal Photographic Society - Credit: Mike Kwasniak


 

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