NORTH SHORE-BASED PHOTOGRAPHER STARTS SELLING HIS PICTURES AT NORDSTROM
Photographer Mike Krzywonski has achieved a milestone. “Nordstrom plans to retail some of my work as early as next month,” he said.
The North Shore-based fine-art photographer, who specializes in Hawaii nature photography as well as photos of severe weather from his mainland storm-chasing jaunts, met with buyers last week and got the good news the same day.
He had been selling his fine-art photography via his website and at large-scale craft fairs such as the annual Made in Hawaii Festival, and at the juried Haleiwa Arts Festival. For the latter, artisans’ work must be preapproved before they can sign up as exhibitors.
It was at the most recent Made in Hawaii Festival that he connected with the Nordstrom buyers, said Krzywonski, whose name is pronounced “kriz-WAHNskee.”
Previews of some of his work to be sold at Nordstrom in Ala Moana Center can be found on his website. Due to the volume of his work, he is not able to transport everything to the events at which he is an exhibitor.
Krzywonski’s images include everything from tornadoes and strange cloud formations on the mainland to beauty shots of Hawaii, including lava flowing into the ocean and fingers of cooled lava jutting out next to active streams, geological formations from Hawaii and beyond, a blood moon, a monk seal and something he calls “urban decay,” which has a certain beauty to it. One example includes old Chevron gas pumps at an abandoned gas station seemingly in the middle of nowhere — but his website helpfully identifies the location as Nara Visa, N.M.
On his website there are 10 Hawaii galleries, four severe-weather galleries, two Great Plains galleries, three American Southwest galleries and a favorites gallery that includes a sampling of each type of Krzywonski’s images. Navigating them takes a while but the journey is enriching.
The Hawaii gallery is divided into categories including ocean, wildlife, landscapes, sky, lava, night photography, historical, prehistoric and others.
The prehistoric gallery opens into even more galleries, and one includes photos and general locations of ancient petroglyphs.
He feels strongly about capturing the petroglyph images as a means toward preservation. “A lot of those things have cultural relevance and importance,” he said. To find them, “you have to really dig and read the right books and find out where these things are hidden. They’re lost from the public eye. It’s like hunting for hidden treasure,” Krzywonski said. He captions each with the general location where the image was captured.
The night gallery includes scenic shots of Waikiki, Honolulu, the Windward side and other locales, but also, perhaps unexpectedly, pictures of power plants illuminated via a prolonged-exposure technique. It is surprising to see how pretty even a power plant can look at night.
His photography, now stunning, was not always so pleasing for him to view.
He got into it because of his fascination with severe weather, which could have something to do with having to evacuate his Texas Gulf Coast home for a hurricane at 8 years old.
“I started photographing lightning … in Arizona, Florida, and from there it blossomed into severe weather,” he said, describing himself at the time as “a complete amateur.”
“I guess my failure rate motivated me to get better,” he said, laughing. He became an ardent storm chaser in 2007, traveling to the mainland’s so-called Tornado Alley each spring.
His efforts at improving his craft, and his annual trips to ensure new material, worked. He sold his first image in 2009 after putting up a website.
Living in Hawaii, there is no shortage of material year-round. “We’re surrounded by all this beauty. Sunsets, large waves and surfing, and then it just blossomed from there,” he said, as he began capturing “every aspect of nature photography here in Hawaii.”
With the explosion in digital photography, “it’s a tough market out there,” Krzywonski said, so he tries to differentiate himself and his work by offering a diverse array of pictures. Customers can say they are not looking for one thing, but another, which Krzywonski is likely to be able to show them.
Prices on the Mike Krzywonski Photography website range from $30 for an 8-by-10-inch print on metallic photo paper, to higher for metal prints on aluminum sold with “float mounts” that cause the work to stand out from the wall, to canvas gallery wraps in various sizes. The prices on the website top out at $1,300 for a 30-by-40inch metal print, but he offers prints “up to 60 inches, or 5 feet across” in length, he said. “The labs I work with are pretty versatile,” enabling him to do custom work.
Mike Krzywonski of Mike Krzywonski Photography shows his work at the Made in Hawaii Festival at Blaisdell Center.
Mike Krzywonski of Mike Krzywonski Photography holds one of his “float mounted” photos printed on aluminum, which can be purchased on his website.