Self-taught photographer and Palm* Studios Founder Lola Paprocka @lolapaprocka is a force in the photography industry. Inspired by both brutalist architecture and nature, Lola’s work focuses on authentic, sentimental narratives. In 2015, Lola founded Palm* Studios @palmstudios as a way to collaborate and exchange with other creatives. She is passionate, genuine, and committed to building community within the photo world. Below is our interview with Lola. Keep reading and prepare to be inspired!
How did you get your start in photography?
I got into photography in my late twenties/early thirties. At first, I was not thinking about it seriously; it was just something I did for fun. After a couple of years, and my first bigger personal project that turned into a book, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for a living. In 2016, I started working with my partner Pani Paul as a photography duo. We shoot both commercial work and personal projects for books and exhibitions.
Finish this sentence: great photography has the power to…
Show other people’s stories that we potentially wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Tell me about your passion projects—what excites you that you are currently working on?
The majority of our projects are about community and sub-cultures. We used to shoot a lot in Australia where Pani grew up. Now we are planning few personal projects in Poland, where I am originally from. It’s the very early stages, so I can’t really say much, but it will be my first time working on a bigger project back home after living in the UK for 19 years.
Camera of choice?
Mamiya RZ67 pro ii and Pentax 67 II.
Tell me about Palm Studios, what was your motivation to start this?
I launched Palm* Studios in 2015 while I was working on the first 2 books, Mile End by Pani Paul and Blokovi: Novi Beograd—my first monograph. Because of this experience, I wanted to create a platform that enabled me to share my work and collaborate with other photographers on exhibitions and publications.
In short, I didn’t feel there was a space for me in the industry to exchange with others, so the natural step was to create that place.
What was the motivation behind creating the Palm Photo prize?
At first, I helped with running the London edition of Independent Photography Festival that started in Melbourne, Australia that was founded by Joe Miranda. Part of the festival was an open call group exhibition and that was my favourite event of the festival. When IPF stopped back in 2016 I spoke to Joe and asked if I could continue the prize event under the name Palm* Studios and I manage the contest on Picter. It has evolved and changed since then, but the core idea stayed the same: it’s for everyone and it’s free to submit!
What is your favorite part about running a photo contest?
My favorite part is meeting new photographers. Contests also gives me an opportunity to reach out to amazing judges and see a very wide spectrum of new photography projects. I have been hosting Palm* on Picter since 2021, and it made my life so much easier! It’s very helpful with setting the size of the images, the amount of submissions, and Picter makes the process very straight forward for the judges.
What do you see your role as in the bigger context of the photography industry?
Frankly, I am still discovering what that is. It’s also ever changing as I really want Palm to grow and have an educational side to it with talks and panel discussions. Additionally, I also want to make sure that everything I do within the community is free and accessible.
What motivates you to do this work?
Photography is the best job I have ever had! Every project is different and you always learn something new, so it’s never boring!
Apart from photography, what hobbies do you enjoy?
I guess a lot of my hobbies are somehow connected to photography. I love traveling, but I will always take my camera with me. With loads of different projects I work on with Palm, I get a lot of joy from it. Not sure if I could fit more hobbies into my schedule if I’m honest. The only other thing I do is going to see live music.