Local photographer David Konieczko believes every photo he takes should capture the emotion of the moment.
“Before every shoot I tell myself one thing, ‘It’s not so much taking a good picture but it’s about capturing the emotion of the moment,'” he said. “Whether it be a groom watching his bride walk down the aisle or a running back breaking free for a touchdown, every picture should tell a story.”
Konieczko, 40, is a Racine native who has always had a love of photography, primarily sports photography. Classic snaps of Michael Jordan taking off from the free throw line during the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest and the iconic portrait of Muhammed Ali standing over Sonny Liston captured his attention as a kid and continue to inspire him today.
He picked up a camera in earnest just six years ago and started shooting old barns and various scenes out in the county.
“I actually don’t really know what spurred me to get into (photography),” Konieczko recalled. “I posted my pictures on Facebook, and people started asking if I sold any of my work. From then on it just started getting around that I take really nice pictures.”
Since then, he’s been building a portfolio and a following primarily through word-of-mouth for both paid and unpaid photo shoots. Saturday he visited his old stomping grounds at Horlick High School to photograph the Chris Maragos Skills Camp arranged by a mutual contact and done for free, Konieczko said, to do something for his alma mater and the Maragos family.
“I wanted to give a little something to a family who has been nothing but a great example to this city,” he said. “Plus it was at Horlick – that’s where I happened to graduate from – so giving something to the school was important to me.”
His love of sports photography also comes to life through his involvement with the Racine Threat semi-professional football team. Not only does Konieczko snap the team during practice and from the sidelines during games, he also redesigned the team’s uniforms and logo for the 2014 season.
Kat Gat-zke was impressed with a recent post featuring a Threat helmet and the American flag Konieczko said he was asked to design for the 4th of July.
“I have watched your talent grow immeasurably throughout a short period of time. You deserve all the success I am positive will come to you soon,” she said.
Konieczko continues to utilize the reach of Facebook to share his work and connect with potential customers.
“Exposure is huge and Facebook allows me to get my work out to a big audience,” he confirmed.
Friends certainly appreciate Konieczko’s work.
“This is a step in the right direction for a man who deserves everything he accomplishes,” Jaynovel Booker posted about his friend’s shoot of the Maragos Skills Camp.
Martin Kapinski was short and to the point about a recent Konieczko landscape.
“Dave, you always take the most amazing pictures,” he wrote.
Konieczko is branching out into covering concerts, too. As a fan of independent hip hop, it’s important to him to support artists trying to live their dream. He recently traveled to Madison to shoot a concert featuring Madchild, a Canadian rapper who credited Konieczko on his Facebook page.
“I’m a huge fan of independent hip hop and that’s what got me into the concert gigs,” he added. “The acts I shoot are all independent groups.”
Konieczko books photo shoots in addition to holding down a full time job at Duracolor (the former Color Arts) and being a father to his eight-year-old son who, he says, is his biggest fan.
“Logan is my biggest fan,” he said. “He always tells me, ‘One day, Dad, you will make it big.”
Konieczko said he has to give Logan some credit for his success thanks to a good luck charm the boy slipped into his dad’s camera bag a few years ago.
“About three years ago he had this little blue lizard that he put in my camera bag and told me it will bring me luck,” he continued. “So far it has brought me tons of luck and it hasn’t come out of my bag.”