The Rebecca Vassie Trust announces James Arthur Allen as the winner of the first Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award for emerging photographers for his project documenting the lives and traditions of the ethnic Circassian population in Israel.
The award is a bursary of GBP 1,200, plus printing, exhibition and mentoring, for an emerging photographer to complete a narrative photography project with a strong social or political context. It has been created in memory of the British photojournalist Rebecca Vassie, who died suddenly last year, aged 30, while on assignment in a refugee camp in Uganda.
Judges for the award included Karen McQuaid, senior curator at the Photographers’ Gallery, Matthew Tucker, UK Picture Editor at BuzzFeed, photographer Ben Bird and Janet Vassie, Rebecca’s mother. The judges were impressed by Allen’s detailed knowledge of the complex history of the Circassians, who were expelled from their country in the nineteenth century after the Russian-Circassian War, and the contacts he’d developed in the region.
Allen will be mentored by Bette Lynch, Director of Photography, News, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Getty Images, who was also part of the judging process. He also receives access to premier printing services at Metro Imaging, print partner to the award.
Two further applications were highly commended: David Shaw for his proposal exploring racial divides in Oldham, and Tracey Paddison for her project following a non-binary person through gender reassignment.
“It is a huge privilege to be selected for the inaugural Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award,” – says James Arthur Allen. – “I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to make new work and collaborate with the Trust over the coming months. One of the first stateless people in modern history, the Circassians of Israel are unique in retaining their traditions and identity while being among the only Muslims serving in the Israel Defence Force. This proposal aims to explore and document an ancient nation and its place in the modern world.”
Allen studied Press and Editorial Photography at University College Falmouth, graduating in 2012. His work was selected for the Best Emerging Graduate Talent feature in the British Journal of Photography, and has appeared in numerous publications including the Financial Times Magazine, Huck Magazine and The Guardian. He has completed commissions for the Rory Peck Trust, is a contributing photographer to Institute Artist Management and lectures on the BA Photography course at Bath Spa University. He has a long-term interest in the peoples of the Caucuses and has previously documented ethnic groups in Georgia and Abkhazia.
“We are delighted to grant our first award to James,” – say Janet and Kelly Vassie. – “Like Rebecca, he has found both a region and people he is passionate about photographing. James’s passion is infectious, and we feel he is at the right point to make the most of this opportunity.”
The Rebecca Vassie Trust is an unincorporated charitable foundation, set up in 2016 in memory of Rebecca Vassie, to create career development opportunities for emerging photographers and to promote the art of narrative photography.
Once again, Collector’s Photography is set to provide a feast of Polish photography with unique photographs and a diversity of techniques, styles and epochs as well as great names, including Witkacy, Lewczyński, Rydet, Niedenthal, Althamer, to name a few.
The artworks exhibited as part of the Collector’s Photography project are both, preeminent in artistic terms and highly desirable as collectible items. This was proven during the previous auctions. This year’s autumn’s event will feature such valuable items too.
The images to be shown at the exhibition span nearly 140 years, thus becoming a record of how photography has changed over the decades. This time, the oldest piece is a portrait of Konrad Brandel’s son, made by the distinguished photographer in 1879. It was awarded with a medal at the Royal Photographic Society exhibition in London, making Brandel the first Polish photographer to win the distinction.
Pre-war artists, such as Jan Bułhak, Zofia Chomętowska and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy), will be featured too. Of Witkacy’s work, which is highly regarded by collectors, viewers will see The Monster of Düsseldorf, which is one of his most famous pictures. Made in collaboration with Władysław Jan Grabski in 1932, it depicts the artist in an improvised scene with Janina Turowska.
The upcoming edition of the Collector’s Photography will also present works by Witold Romer, including one made in 1933 by means of izohelia, a technique invented by the artist himself. Some of the other photographic techniques to be presented, include gum bichromate, as used by Witold Dederko and Marek Gardulski, photosynthesis, a creative technique characteristic of Krzysztof Pruszkowski, and the photographic collage, which was so masterfully used by Jan Dziaczkowski. Rare examples of a printing technique will be the heliogravures by Awit Szubert, Stanisław and Władysław Bizański, which date back to the early years of the 20th century.
Among the most outstanding examples of portraiture will be the pictures of Jan Bułhak by Benedykt Jerzy Dorys and of Andrzej Wajda by Edward Hartwig and Bogdan Łopieński. A portrait of Edward Hartwig made by his wife Helena in Lublin in the 1940s will be complemented by his self-portrait – a photomontage with a scene depicting female models – dating back to the turn of the 1950s.
The developments and transformations taking place in the present-day world will be mirrored in the photographs by documentary photographers representing various generations. Chris Niedenthal will present Poland in the communist time, while Wojciech Wilczyk, with his Life after Life series, and Michał Szlaga, with his Gdańsk Shipyard photograph, will show the Polish reality after 1989. A somewhat different type of document will be the photographic record of Paweł Althamer’s artistic action UFO, during which Althamer constructed a spaceship in Toporów in 2004.
Conceptual art will be represented by the works of Natalia LL, with her Artificial Photography series (1976), and by Zygmunt Rytka, Jolanta Marcolla and Jan Berdyszak.
Such photography classics as Zofia Rydet, Zbigniew Dłubak, Jerzy Lewczyński and Bronisław Schlabs will also make their appearance. The youngest generation of award-winning artists will be represented by Weronika Gęsicka, Marta Zgierska and Patrycja Orzechowska, among others.
The list of photographers featured this year includes: Paweł Althamer, Krystyna Andryszkiewicz, Ewa Andrzejewska, Jan Berdyszak, Stanisław Bizański, Władysław Bizański, Konrad Brandel, Jan Bułhak, Michał Cała, Zofia Chomętowska, Maria Chrząszczowa, Kuba Dąbrowski, Witold Dederko, Zbigniew Dłubak, Benedykt Jerzy Dorys, Jan Dziaczkowski, Marek Gardulski, Weronika Gęsicka, Maurycy Gomulicki, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Edward Hartwig, Helena Hartwig, Henryk Hermanowicz, Krzysztof Kamiński, Jan Kosidowski, Kacper Kowalski, Andrzej Kramarz (cd! #4), Ewa Kuryluk, Zbigniew Libera, Jerzy Lewczyński, Natalia LL, Bogdan Łopieński, Łódź Kaliska, Jolanta Marcolla, Andrzej Mroczek, Zofia Nasierowska, Chris Niedenthal (doc! #6), Patrycja Orzechowska, Krzysztof Pająk, Marek Piasecki, Paweł Pierściński, Henryk Poddębski, Krzysztof Pruszkowski (cd! #1), Konrad Pustoła, Witold Romer, Eva Rubinstein, Sławomir Rumiak, Tadeusz Rydet, Zofia Rydet, Zygmunt Rytka, Bronisław Schlabs, Leonard Sempoliński, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Michał Szlaga, Awit Szubert, Zbigniew Tomaszczuk, Jerzy Wierzbicki, Wojciech Wilczyk, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy), Stanisław J. Woś, Wojciech Zawadzki, Piotr Zbierski (doc! #8 & cd! #5), Marta Zgierska, Wiesław Mariusz Zieliński, Zorka Project and Paweł Żak (cd! #1 & #6).
Collector’s Photography is the only regular auctioning event dedicated exclusively to photography. Since its first edition in 2007, the project has offered collectors a diversity of works by leading Polish artists. The event is accompanied by a Polish-English catalogue with the artists’ bios, photo descriptions and reproductions of all the works.
17th Collector’s Photography
@ Mysia 3 (3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: November 5 at 7.00 PM
Auction: November 15 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between November 6 and 15, 2016
- Expositions Vol. 1 – The first edition of a series of meetings devoted to the history of Polish photography. The series is intended to accompany each future edition of the Collector’s Photography -> November 8 at 7.00 PM
- Which way to the market? - An innovative guide for those who want to function professionally on the art market ->November 13 at 5.00 PM (to 9.00 PM)
- Collector’s Tour to Paris Photo fairs -> November 10-12, 2016
Read more about the 17th edition of Collector’s Photography and all accompanying events @ www.fotografiakolekcjonerska.pl (website in Polish language version only).
The 17th Collector’s Photography is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
The Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography presents the first complete retrospective of the Soviet photography classic – Yakov Khalip. His name is famous far beyond the Russian museum world and photographic collections. The exhibition of Yakov Khalip’s work, as well as the serious scope of publishing efforts, should have been available in Russia years ago. However, the body of work of one of the Soviet photography classics had remained unstudied for over last 35 years. The Lumière Centre for Photography strives to fill the gap and unveils the archive of the master.
Retrospective exhibition of Yakov Khalip (1908-1980) gives an insight into the evolution of Soviet photography – from the avant-garde 1920s to the stagnant 1970s – through the body of work of one great photographer. The exposition is built around five key milestones:
- Yakov Khalip’s work at Soviet film studios in the company of legendary directors and actors, such as Boris Barnet, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Sergei Eisenstein etc (1927-1930s);
- bold avant-garde experiments together with Alexander Rodchenko and magazine USSR in Construction (1930s);
- heroic series of the Arctic rescue expedition of Ivan Papanin’s team (1938);
- war reports with poet Konstantin Simonov (1941-1945);
- photo stories for major Soviet magazines (1950-1970s).
Apart from Khalip’s well-known classical images, the exhibition features for the first time photographs, shot at the film set of early Soviet films, that have just been attributed. These are: Moscow in October (1927), Forced Labor Camp (1928), Ingenuous Hearts (1928), The Iron Brigade (1930) and Enthusiasts’ Way (1930). The exhibition also includes advertising shoot for the major Soviet tourist agency Intourist, new images of the 1930-1960s. Over 100 vintage and modern prints will present “a master of genre photo-essay with his own style, which combined avant-garde photography and cinematographic trickery.”
The archive of the Khalip family reveals unique artefacts introducing the epoch: documents of the Arctic expedition; original expedition maps; trip permits and assignments; postcards sets of the 1930s; rare books and booklets featuring Khalip’s work; handmade thematic photo albums, created by the photographer and many more.
Presentation of the first photo book of Yakov Khalip and extensive lecture programme are planned within the framework of the exhibition.
CONQUEST. YAKOV KHALIP, HEIR TO THE RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE
@ The Lumière Brothers Centre for Photography (Bolotnaya emb. 3, b.1, Moscow, Russia)
Opening reception: November 2 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between November 3 and December 11, 2016
The Yakov Khalip’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
In her latest project – I am a Woman and I Feast on Memory – Ilona Szwarc is both, the subject and the object of directed by herself narrative. She reaches the tools of performance and simultaneously makes photographic documentation of the show.
In all parts of the triptych, Ilona Szwarc step by step manipulates her own image, using her stand-in, an actress from Boston selected in casting. These carefully constructed photographs complicate the notion of portrait and self-portrait. At first, by film close-ups on drawings and paintings on the face of the model, she presents her as an old woman, and then – by a few colourful and abstract strokes – transforms her into a swollen lady. The series of photos ends with an androgynous and grotesque view of the model face, resulting in something like a contemporary veraicon of the artist double.
The exhibition is accompanied by a set of three books by Ilona Szwarc.
Ilona Szwarc (b.1984) | based in Los Angeles (CA, USA) | graduate of Photography at the Yale University in New Haven (CT, USA) and School of Visual Arts in New York City (NY, USA) | her work focuses on problems of female identity in the contemporary cultural context | laureate of the 2013 World Press Photo contest and participant of the Joop Swart Masterclass (2014) | her pictures have been presented at individual and group exhibitions (in France, Germany, Holland, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and in the USA) and published all over the world by The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Telegraph Magazine and doc! photo magazine (doc! #7), among others.
Ilona Szwarc – I AM A WOMAN AND I FEAST ON MEMORY
@ Leica Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia st., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: October 28 at 7.00 PM
Artist talk: November 3 at 6.30 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between October 29 and December 11, 2016
The Ilona Szwarc’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
This autumn, FOMU is presenting a retrospective of the work of Saul Leiter (1923 – 2013), a pioneer of colour photography. Leiter was already using colour film in 1946 at the time when only black and white photography was accepted as an artistic medium. This fact negates the commonly-held assumption that colour images were only used from the 1970s onwards, with the advent of the New Color Photography movement led by Stephen Shore and William Eggleston. Saul Leiter only gained recognition for his pioneering role late in his life; since then, his permanent place in the history of photography has been secure.
Saul Leiter considered himself to be a painter as well as a photographer. His work in both disciplines is linked by a common visual style: abstraction and flatness. He mainly photographed the streets of New York, where he lived for over sixty years. The compositions depict mirrors, windows, road signs, buildings and passers-by. The urban elements blur into amorphous colours that form an important feature of each image.
This exhibition is displaying both, Leiter’s colour and his black-and-white photographs, as well as a selection of his paintings and work that has never been shown before.
The exhibition is accompanying by the book Saul Leiter – Retrospektive (Kehrer Verlag, 2016).
Herman Selleslags (b. 1938) is one of Belgium’s most famous photographers. In 2015, he donated his archive, and that of his father Rik, to FOMU. Over the course of half a century, Selleslags built up an incredible photo archive. Hundreds of thousands of photographs, glass plates, slides, negatives, press prints, pocket diaries, contact sheets and cameras were relocated to the FOMU depots. The multitudinous archive boxes are literally and figuratively the heart of the exhibition Selleslags Unpacks.
The exhibition shows the diversity of Rik and Herman Selleslags’ work: from assignments for HUMO, family albums and product photography for Grand Bazar to street photography, Jewish weddings, the 1943 winter and the 1953 floods. Less iconic and less known images by Herman Selleslags were also unearthed from the archive boxes: pictures of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and of his friend the actor Julien Schoenaerts. The FOMU is offering its public the first and behind-the-scenes glimpse of the richness of this acquisition.
Saul Leiter – RETROSPECTIVE
Grand opening: October 28, 2016
The exhibition will be open to the public until January 29, 2017
Future exhibitions @ FOMU:
The Endless City is a record of Andrzej Bogacz’s three-year stay in New York – the city about which he says: “One can say about New York anything and everything will always be true. Here, nothing seems to have a beginning and the end – neither time nor space; it is an endless gigantic flood of people in urban melting-pot. Carefully observing the daily life of residents and tourists, their reactions for ‘meeting the city’, I have created my own photographic diary.”
New York through the eyes of Andrzej Bogacz offers extreme sensations – from joy, relaxation and freedom up to the loneliness and emptiness. There is Batman walking along Madison Avenue, a couple of tourists are taking a picture of themselves against the giant figure of Eddie Murphy. Somewhere else a flood of people is flowing across a pedestrian crossing. Colourful adds are calling from the walls of the buildings. There is Angelina Jolie leaning out from behind the US flag, hung upside-down in the window. In another window, there is a dog probably waiting for its master’s return. New York simple sinks in the flood of colours given to him by its residents.
Andrzej Bogacz (b. 1975) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań | winner of the Ryszard Kapuściński PAP Award for the best photo material of 2015 in Polish media | his photographs have been published in several magazines, including Harvard Review, Neewsweek Polska, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Polityka, Playboy, Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Polska The Times, among others.
Andrzej Bogacz – THE ENDLESS CITY
@ Czysta St. Gallery (4 Czysta St., Wrocław, Poland)
Grand opening: October 28 at 7:00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until November 25, 2016
The Andrzej Bogacz’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Lost Territories. SEDIMENT is a story about the slow metamorphosis of the territory of the former Soviet Union. It follows a long-term photographic project, summarising the experience, which photographers of the International Association Sputnik Photos have gathered to date. It is also the most important exhibition in the decade-long history of the collective.
With their latest show, Sputnik Photos will take viewers on a journey to the areas of the former Soviet Union – territories of painful experience and unfinished transformations. For several years, the photographers have documented the life and space of all the 15 countries born after the collapse of the Soviet empire, exploring such topics as propaganda in Georgia, veterans of the Georgian-Russian war, environment contaminated with uranium and nuclear waste, women veterans of the Great Patriotic War, borders between states, metaphysics of the dreams of the former USSR’s citizens, long-lasting consequences of natural disasters, decline of the shipbuilding industry on the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea, and earthquake in Spitak (Armenia).
The resultant Lost Territories archive, which consists of several thousand photographs, has become a starting point for exhibitions, books and installations. Each of the narratives to emerge in the future will address a different aspect of the post-Soviet lands.
The presentation in the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle is the first in a series of Lost Territories exhibitions. Its central idea is to present different faces of the transformations in the republics of the former Soviet Union, which have now become independent states (some in theory only). The exhibition is conceived as a collective one, without distinguishing the individual artists. The personal series of works will be broken up and integrated with the other artists’ pictures to form image sequences focusing on aspects common to the project as a whole.
In four rooms of the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, degraded scenery of nuclear test sites and uranium mines will be displayed next to depictions of people’s self-organised efforts to build everyday life on the ruins of the empire. Pictures of female war veterans will neighbour with photographs of refugees from present-day conflict zones. The disappearing borders between the Baltic States are confronted with the monumental architecture of a despotic tyranny, which slowly restores the kind of cult of personality we know from the past, as is the case in Azerbaijan. The photographs show a complex and often brutal picture of the transformations.
The exhibition is accompanied by two books: Lost Territories Wordbook, which is an ‘anti-glossary’ pre- and post-transformation terms related to the Soviet Union, compiled by twenty authors from different countries – writers, historians, journalists, researchers, curators, artists and political scientists. The book will be available for sale starting from the exhibition opening night. The second publication – Lost Territories. Fruit Garden - is a photo book looking at such phenomena as political oppression, the Soviet science and the impact of man on nature.
Sputnik Photos is an international collective founded in 2006 by documentary photographers from Central and Eastern Europe. Experiencing the transformation of their region of origin has become a pretext for mutual commentary on the social, political and cultural processes occurring in it. Using photography, film and photo books, the collective has been building a record of the transformation of the area of the former Eastern bloc. Photographers: Andrei Balco, Jan Brykczyński (doc! #22), Andrei Liankevich, Michał Łuczak, Rafał Milach (doc! #19), Adam Pańczuk (doc! #15) and Agnieszka Rayss (doc! #5 & cd! #3)
Sputnik Photos – LOST TERRITORIES. SEDIMENT
@ Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (2 Jazdów St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: October 21 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public until February 5, 2017
Erich Lessing is one of the most important Austrian photographers of the 20th century, chronicler of postwar history of Austria as well as Europe. Although he doesn’t consider himself a portrait photographer, he has created a unique catalogue of the most prominent politicians of the century. One of his legendary photograph shows the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Austria and the Big Four (Soviet Union, United Kingdom, USA and France) standing on the terrace of Belvedere on the day of signing of the Austrian State Treaty on May 15, 1955. The photo became an icon of new, contemporary Austria, rebuilding its democratic statehood, in which Lessing was involved himself.
Hannah Lessing and Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna, made a very subjective choice of images, giving the project Lessing Presents Lessing an intimate character. This resulted in an intriguing exhibition covering Lessing works, ranging from the well-known political photo reportages to the works that had never been shown before like Girls of the Sixties on the election of Miss Poland in the 1960s, photos of belle femme on the beach of Casenatico (Italy), or sensual shots of strippers.
Erich Lessing (b. 1923) | based Vienna (Austria) | in result of increasing persecution of Jewish community in Austria, emigrated to Palestine (1939) where worked in kibbutz and as a taxi driver | studied radio engineering at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa | started his photographic career as a kindergarten and beach photographer, then joined the British 6th Airborne Division as a photographer and pilot | after returning to Austria in 1947, hired as a photojournalist for the Associated Press | invited to join Magnum Photos in 1951, became its full member in 1955 (currently a contributor) | covered many significant political and social events | his photographs have been published in renowned magazines, including LIFE, Paris Match, Epoca, Picture Post and Quick, and exhibited throughout the world | author of over 40 photo books | receiver of many awards, including the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class in recognition of his lifetime achievements (2013) | member of UNESCO’s International Commission of Museums (ICOM).
The Erich Lessing’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
In October, NEY Gallery&Prints will presents another exhibition of one of the most recognisable Polish photojournalists – Chris Niedenthal (doc! #6). The exhibition will be focused on sports this time.
“I have never been keen on sports and hardly participated in any competitions,“ - says Chris Niedenthal. – “Sport was obligatory at school. So I pretended that I played football. During a match I even managed to break my mate’s leg. It was really amazing as at that moment he was running behind me! While playing rugby I never hurt anyone only because, knowing the consequences, I kept myself as far from catching the ball as possible. What even I liked was rowing, and though I wanted to paddle alone, I was put into eights. Fortunately at competitions I was always in reserve so I didn’t have to present my skills or reveal lack of them. So the idea of presenting my photos connected with sports seemed really strange. However, while looking over my archive, I found there pictures showing something that could be associated with the sport in a wider sense of the word.“
At the exhibition, that will be a photographic walk from the 1970s to the first years of the 2000s, one will see pictures of the most famous Polish sportsmen and celebrities in everyday situations as well as while training and competing. There will also be photos showing the world around the sports, emanating the atmosphere and the political climate of those years.
Chris Niedenthal (b.1950) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | studied at the London College of Printing | came to Poland for some months from his home town London in 1973 and remained until today | Polish correspondent for Newsweek (until 1984) | Time contracted photographer for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (from 1985) | winner of the World Press Photo in the Portraits category (1986) | for years connected with the German weekly Der Spiegel | his photographs have repeatedly been presented at collective and individual exhibitions | author of photo books Chris Niedenthal. Selected Photographs 1973-1989 (BOSZ, 2014), Polish People’s Republic. Props (BOSZ, 2004), 13/12. Poland of the Martial Law (Edipresse, 2006), In Your Face (Edition Fototapeta, 2011), and autobiography Chris Niedenthal. Profession: Photographer (Marginesy, 2011).
The Chris Niedenthal’s exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Diffusion and disappearance are both gentle movements, often hardly noticeable. Nothing concrete is happening, it is going on slowly, not quite to the end and it continues. They are processes which often complement each other. Diffusion/Disappearance is the motto of the 6th Opole Festival of Photography.
The programme of this year’s festival includes exhibitions which focus on man’s issues, his associates with other man, with the space and memory. They are stories of relations and their dynamism, actually of these leading diffusion and disappearance. Sometimes blurred and difficult to define. What is more, in terms of the form, they can be found on the borders of genres, making them disappear.
Certainly, the most important presentation of this year’s edition of the OFFoto is the exhibition of Zofia Rydet’s monumental Sociological Record project, including some thousands of photographic negatives. Realised by Zofia Rydet from 1978 up to almost the end of her life, it permanently astonishes and impresses. It is so monumental, that can’t be shown as a whole during one exhibition, though any selection is extremely difficult. Zofia Rydet used to visit the inhabitants in their homes and portrait them sitting in their most representative place in their house. As the result, we have a picture of everyday life and thousands of faces. On one hand, they are common, repeatable and similar, on the other one – wonderfully different in outfits, poses, surroundings and decoration. The title suggests research material. So does Rydet’s approach – methodological and typological. However, the result of Sociological Record seems scientifically elusive. There are no clear classifications and divisions, no definitions and standards. There is man and his relationships.
Karolina Jonderko (doc! #1 & #18) used a very similar approach. Her Lost project consists of specific portraits of rooms belonging to the people, who haven’t come back to their places. They went to their jobs, schools, walks or shopping, leaving their rooms just for a while. Their beloved keep their spaces for them, hoping that one day their missing will come back to them. Jonderko took pictures of 15 rooms throughout Poland. She illustrated the history of the missing persons, determination of the loved ones, and the slow process of disappearance under the pressure of everyday life.
Maksymilian Rigamonti (doc! #1) in his Places that Do Not Exist project also focuses on memory and inevitability of its disappearing. He tries to find out how much one can learn about the old events just by looking at the space. His photographic travels to the Volhynia also use to listen to human stories. They are about everyday life that penetrated history and pushed it aside. We can see it taking over the space. Just a reflection on the frailty of human memory.
In turn, Spring, which Didn’t Bloom by Maciej Moskwa (doc! #12 & #32) is a story about quite recent events. Moskwa tells about Syria’s everyday life – from the beginning of the Arab Spring up to the present refugee exodus. He shows the literal disappearing of the world and how ordinary people deal with it.
A method, repeatedly proven in history of photography, is a record for remembering. Although it can’t replace our memory and is subjective, it still protects from disappearing, forgetting. Both, Paweł Frenczak (Noir) and Małgorzata Sajur (DEBUTS 2015; My Anxieties), record their own personal stories of their own everyday life. Another method is an attempt to reconstruct events from memory. Their repetition leaves ever-lasting record of photographic image. This is the method used by the winner of the Show up contest – Piotr Pardiak (Heritage).
The passage of time is the primary motive of the First Haircut exhibition. Michał Stolarski and Tomasz Liboska are reconstructing their memories from their youth. They invited Dominik and Marek to play their stories that took place 20 years before. “We are trying to recall everything that is possible: real places, details, gestures. We have to improvise. Lots of the places we remember either don’t exist any more or changed their character. Our memories are not the same as they used to be either,” – they say. Intertwining worlds of actors and authors, fading of memories, giving way to changes and yet it is all going on at the document happening today.
In many single photographs as well as in full stories and exhibitions of this years’s edition of the OFFoto we will find this intertwining of worlds, memories, reflexions on disappearing. Actually that is the purpose of photography. A photo is a trace of a certain event, authentic one or created. If authentic one – it is still subjective and as such it can be remembered in a different way by somebody standing just some centimetres away. The leading motto doesn’t explain the sense of every presentation literally and accurately, but, as usual, encourages to find one’s own interpretations and add their own stories and associations.
More info and detailed programme @ www.offoto.pl (website in Polish language version only).
6th Opole Festival of Photography
September 29 – November 13, 2016
The 6th Opole Festival of Photography is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.