Arek Rataj reached out to me with an insightful interview project called “You can shoot. Can you talk?” This series of interviews and book will be released APF Magazine in the future. I stumbled upon the beautiful work of Arek and wanted to feature him here and his own responses to some of the interview questions. This poetic feature was organized by Cindy Nguyen aka HAPTIC.

Artist’s Statement

I was born in a small industrial district in communist Poland under the Soviet Union dictatorship. In midst of this human misery, political hypocrisy, environmental industrial dirt and ugliness, I became particularly sensitive for all signs of beauty and transcendence.

1. What is your first childhood memory?

The beloved ones.

2. Are you still learning who you are?

I am still learning who I used to be.

3. Who are you when no one is looking at you?

The inner observer.

Interview Series: “You can shoot. Can you talk?”

I have been conducting an unusual series of interviews. I am inviting photographers with a keen interest in documentary, situational, candid, travel or so called ‘street’ genre. The series is called You can shoot. Can you talk? and is composed of 20 unconventional yet simple questions. Some of them purely apply to the art of photography, some strive to get to a deeper emotional level of interviewed photographers.

The questionnaire has an accurately thought out and closed composition; the opening question applies to the first childhood memory, whilst the final one to one’s legacy after death. It’s like a brief inner journey that I invite photographers to embark on.

The main idea was to create a questionnaire which will speak on many levels, not only in regards with the art of photography (it was the most challenging psychological part of the process). The key roles play Ethos – ethics, credibility; Pathos – emotional connection to interviewed photographers; Logos – logical arguments.


Arek Rataj is a Qatar-based Polish journalist, contemporary situational photographer, educator. He studied sociology and journalism. Attended The Poznan School of Social Sciences in Poland and earned his Master’s Degree in Journalism and Social Communication. From 2011 to 2016, he taught languages in Europe (England), Central America (Honduras) and Asia (China).