About Tom Styrkowicz

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So far Tom Styrkowicz has created 17 blog entries.

pivotal moments

I love working with words. With this series I distilled a look, an action, and a word into the most minimal elements. I tried to make it what the mind remembered of these “pivotal moments” in a relationship. Each one could create a book’s worth (or a life’s worth) of stories. What would your memory of your “pivotal moment” look like? And what word do you attach to it?

pivotal moments

pivotal moments

weddings, but different

I’ve tried to photograph weddings. Mostly for friends. My experience was usually like this: Mother of the bride asks if I have any OTHER photos of the bride and groom. “I was hoping to find one that matched the photos from my other kids’ weddings”?!?!?!?

Or the time when I was photographing before a wedding and the preacher was right there seeing me take flash photos. But when the ceremony started and everyone started taking flash photos with their phones the preacher interrupted his reading to announce that he had a macular condition, and the flashes disturbed him, so no more flashing, please. UHHH…that seemed to include me, who needed a flash for a very dark room!

I’ve since developed a “documentary” style where I am not the prime photographer, but I am free to room around and capture little intimate, unposed moments. When I gave a friend the photos I had taken at her wedding she started crying. “I don’t remember anything from that day, and these show what a wonderful wedding it was.” 

Couldn’t ask for a better review of my photos. THAT’S how I photograph a wedding. And I am available for my documentary style coverage.

weddings but different

weddings but different

Fun stretching my creativity

I used to call these my “fun” photos, but as I was writing this I thought ALL my photos are fun for me. In between all my portrait commissions, where I am challenged to bring out my subject’s true personality, I usually have a number of projects going on where I create the personality in the photo.

what I do for fun

I enlist willing subjects who want to collaborate with me in creating this mystical persona. I usually do extensive image research, collecting examples from Google Images, or Pinterest, to flesh out my idea. These also serve to communicate my vision to the person who will portray this vision. These reference images always just form a jumping off point, where the final image usually looks quite different.

If you have an idea of a different way to picture yourself, get in touch with me and we can collaborate on realizing that vision.

By |2023-03-11T18:03:34-06:00March 11, 2023|inspiration, rethinking creativity|

Out of the more than 10,000 portraits I’ve made at my events, this one is the standout.

Greensboro History Museum, Fourth of July celebration. Mom brings her 5 kids. When she sees their photo on the monitor she starts crying. She says she hasn’t had a photo of them together since they were little, and now she’s so happy that she has this memory of them.

Mom starting to cry upon seeing all her kids in one portrait.

I can do 500-600 photos in a 3 day event, and although each one of them gives me a smile as I see people’s personalities emerge, occasionally something like this will happen and I am reminded of the power of a portrait. Sure, it’s a souvenir of the event, but it’s loaded with so many other memories. I have the ability to quickly read the people and guide them to reveal their feelings for each other. At a different event, after I captured a family of five in one shot the mom said that picture depicted them better than when they spent two hours in a portrait studio.

When I say I can capture 600-800 people in a 3-day event I’m not saying I take their “pictures” (as in a driver’s license “picture”). These are warm, incisive depictions of their lives at this moment, at your event. THAT’S what makes the prints that they take home with them a treasure, and their connection to your event memorable.

You can be TOO FAR AHEAD with predictions

It’s 1987. BEFORE the internet dominated shopping. However, we felt the retail landscape changing, which we explained in the ad copy. We were looking for a company leader who felt the same things.

That led us to run two ads in Women’s Wear Daily. Brash statements, which we felt deeply, but the world had not yet had the same realization. And, I’ve got to say…fashion retailers had their eye more on beating LY sales than seeing into the future. 

Two ads we ran in 1987, in Women’s Wear Daily.

What could we do with these beliefs? We created the MYA Store concept link to post which was one way of looking at retail in a different way. But it was still almost impossible to get a company leader to go all in.

What even we didn’t see, at least in its magnitude was the INTERNET. It took several years for it to catch on, but by 2005 the trend was clear, and rising (dramatically) every year. That got people scrambling, and experimenting all along the way.

The ironic thing is that I never got to address this seismic shift in retailing, except to watch it from the sidelines. Deborah’s sudden death, in 2005, shifted my life entirely, as characterized by the split between chapter’s 8 and 9. (More on that in a later post.)

We saw all this coming, only 15 years or so too early. Too early to get significant support, and even too early to remember I said it way back…when????

By |2023-01-23T12:07:35-06:00September 2, 2022|5th chapter, history, inspiration, rethinking retail|
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