The reading of philosophical essays entitled „Walden” by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau became a direct stimulus for creating The Surrounding Countryside project. A book that can be seen as a half-novel and half-autobiography presenting writer’s thoughts arising from a lonely and long-term contact with nature.
Aside from the widely interpreted author’s goal that was undoubtedly the criticism of the then Western society, there are also several references to the sounds of nature considered to be an inexhaustible source of experience.
Reading this book coincided with my travels and explorations of the natural world aimed at recording in the field. Hours and days spent in places distant from urban areas yielded frames that are oriented towards the sound recording of the world around us, leaving out any evaluation criteria. The aim of photography here is an attempt of creating ambient sounds with the ears of imagination. I mean sounds which accompany nature rather than interpret it.
Unhurried space in the quiet of gardens(2019-2022)
A garden as a synonym of asylum – a space being a destination for the escape from noise, a shelter from strangers’ stares. The photo project that was being carried out in 2019-2022, covers tens of frames captured within the neglected home gardens, abandoned plots or city squares in Poland, Croatia and Italy.
A few, sometimes several dozen meters beyond the frame we can hear a dog barking or obscure conversations, however here we have nothing but a total aphonia. An attempt of expressing past, stopped moments of relaxation, rest or lazy activities that were interrupted for unknown reasons at a time no one is able to precisely define.
Silent Portraits (2014-2020)
Portrait photography is situated in the orbit of photographic topics that have been attracting my attention since the first days when I intentionally reached for the camera. The portrayed person always keeps their subjectivity, even if the face of the posing person is not always visible and recognizable. The purpose of portraying is the ability of capturing some unique features that distinguish a given person or their image which are not necessarily supposed to correspond with commonly known atributes, thanks to which the portrait photography gained its publicity. I like to look at the portrayed people partly from the perspective of a peeper, so that the images have features of the unposed photos taken from hiding. I often use inapparent props, take the advantage of potential of the moment, not looking for simplifications.
Abandoned Places (2013 – 2018)
I have never felt any fear, distaste of even dislike towards abandoned locations, on the contrary, they are a source of knowledge and inspirations to me. They form a body of evidence over the past time and a base for reflection on the present and passing away. I mostly come across such abandoned places accidentally turning into a side road or spending a few minutes to carefully look around in the new area. I get there out of my curiosity or tempted by their interesting history.
Abandoned locations always carry some threads of the past, feature the trace of memory related to human activity. They are a cardiographic record of offences committed against nature, so also against our species. They form the essence of our activity that cannot be hidden from the camera lens. We can call photography a litmus test revealing the truth of a difficult and toxic relationship between humans and nature.
Since 2013 I have been documenting forgotten images I find intriguing not because they point to inaccessible places but because these locations were consciously removed from the foreground of life and this happened as a result of human’s consent. Many strong emotions are very often triggered in me by photo sessions taking place within tiny city alleys, houses or industrial premises embedded deeply and permanently in the active urban tissue. These small, hidden in the maze of buildings and seemingly almost commonly associated objects often carry much greater cognitive potential than large power plants, hospitals or railway facilities localized far from city centers. Visiting forgotten places is a kind of habit, odd hobby the origin of which goes back to the history of explorers and treasure hunters. One can go through their life not seeing any of them and remain happy but once we visit such place, we soon come across others that we simply cannot pass by indifferently.