Eva Polak:
A Voyage of Discovery

Other essays in this series

Working on a personal project is the best way of reaching the next step with your work. A project, and all the planning, work and follow up that comes with it, has a motivating power that pushes you to do your very best .

In this essay Eva Polak writes about her experience completing her project: A Voyage of Discovery. While your own projects may be different from Eva's, there is something to be learned from her experience and from looking at her photography.

Alain Briot

A Voyage of Discovery: a year long project

1 - Introduction
I never considered starting up a project. Creating a portfolio - yes, but a project with its long term commitment always appeared to me more as a burden, rather than an exciting and interesting exercise.

Two things helped me to change my mind. Two years ago I discovered Alan Briot’s essays. I was fascinated by his approach to art and photography. He inspired me to do something more with my own work. So an idea of a project started to emerge. I was ready. The only thing I was missing was a subject. I thought long and hard for quite some time, and then, in one winter afternoon, I took my dog Chucky for a walk and unexpectedly I found what I was looking for...

Turquoise Note
After creating this image I’ve realized how an ordinary place can be transformed into something special

2 - Discovery

Nothing is ever the same twice because everything is always gone forever,
and yet each moment has infinite photographic possibilities
Michael Kenna

It was one of those Auckland’s stormy winter days when, for the first time, I noticed how beautiful my local beach was. I’ve never actually liked this place. This polluted, empty inner city bay where nothing ever happens. But that day something had happened. Something unexpected and wonderful. Something that changed my perception of the world around me.

Light was presenting a spectacular show with all its magical tricks. The sky was a main actor with the sea’s surface mirroring its every nuance. The drama quickly unfolded in front of me.

At first puffy cumulus clouds obscured most of the sky’s bright blue, then suddenly become darker and grim. Then lighting penetrated the heavens and the clouds burst into tears. In a final act the light broke through the dark clouds to suffuse the landscape with its raw energy and transform itself into a rainbow. Nature was resting in silent, gathering all its energy to do it again.

I was ready too. I had to come back for more. I let the light guide me on my journey through subtle and dramatic changes of the endlessly shifting rhythms of the sea.

I experienced the freshness of morning, the heavy atmosphere and the dazzling rays of midday sun. I experienced the burning horizon of sunset and the calm of night with its soft, silvery moonlight.

Every time, my camera recorded something new and exiting. Layer by layer this humble bay unveiled its beauty, welcoming my every visit and inviting me again with a promise to show me more.

Brewing Storm
My fascination with impressionism inspires me to capture the mood of the place, rather than an accurate representation. 

3 - Conclusion
After a year of photographing Wattle Bay near my home, Michael Kenna’s words have more meaning for me than ever before.

I took thousands of pictures but none of them looked alike. I witnessed dramatic changes and very subtle shifts of light. I could notice and appreciate them only by recording them with my camera.

After all, the challenge and beauty of photography lay in its infinite possibilities.

Eva Polak
August 2009

You can find out more about Eva's work on her website as:

I love how slow shutter speed and the horizontal panning technique create simple, abstract like images.


Essay and photographs Copyright © Eva Polak 2009
Introduction Copyright © Alain Briot 2009
All rights reserved worldwide