The Equivalents Association, operating since 2013, brings together people of different occupations, believes and experiences, who share the same passion: photography. Although they are searching for inspirations in different places, the most important for them is to make their feelings – accompanying them when taking pictures – appearing in their photographs. As the photographs, like a mirror, should reflect the subtle sensations of the photographer and to become the equivalent of his impressions and emotions captured in them.
Both, the name of the association and the title of its first exhibition, come from the photographic trend founded in the USA in the 1920s and 1930s. The concept of equivalence in photography appeared first in Alfred Stieglitz’s works, although it is Minor White who is considered the founder of the complete rule. What inspires the members of the association is the achievements of the American Group f/64, founded in 1932 by Ansel Adams, Willard Van Dyke and Edward Weston as well as the later artists like Paul Caponigro, Frederick Sommer and John Daido Loori.
“The basic of the photographer-equivalentist’s work is to focus on their own experiences,” -says Karol Bagiński, a curator of the exhibition and a member of the society. – “Photographs become a record of the feelings and emotions that appear while shooting. These pictures are not to be read intellectually, because according to the intentions of their authors, they go beyond the physicality of the objects, beyond measurable forms, beyond symbolism, language and cultural barriers. It is hard to classify them clearly as landscape, abstract or creative photography. The photographed objects become a transmitter of emotional, non-intellectual stimuli. A context, location, time and people are not important to read them. Intuition and empathy are enough.”
The exhibition will present 84 works by 14 members of the Equivalents Association: Karol Bagiński (doc! #11), Marcin Bogdanowicz, Adrian Czechowski, Aleksandra Drutkowska, Katarzyna Dyszyńska, Michał Jeliński, Zbigniew Kołodziejek, Tomasz Kubaczyk, Stanisław Kudroń, Bartłomiej Matłosz, Krzysztof Porzeżyński, Jakub Sagan, Konrad Smolak and Radosław Zawadzki.
PSF Ekwiwalenty – EQUIVALENTS
@ District 19 (47a Kolejowa St., Warsaw, Poland)
Grand opening: April 1 at 6:00 PM.
The exhibition will be open to the public until May 12, 2016.
The PSF Ekwiwalenty exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Apaches with faces always black from dust and dirt, digging deeply underground zaboykas – an underground tangle of corridors with walls full of shining coal. Magdalena Borowiec (doc! #31; DEBUTS 2014) goes down with Apaches. She shoots the toil of their work, saying that the hell may look like their shifts – wet, hot and claustrophobic, and on the surface tiny people working on the frost air just like in the paintings by Bruegel. After the collapse of the Soviet Union most of operating coal mines were closed down in Kyrgyzstan. People massively left the country for work in Russia; those who stayed in Kyrgyzstan had to start extract coal on their own. Magdalena’s photographs show not only their hard and dangerous work. Her pictures also show strange landscapes, sometimes apocalyptic, sometimes gentle and quiet.
Beata Lejman, an art historian from the National Museum in Wrocław (Poland) aptly described Magdalena’s works: “It is into a void of silence that I am drawn when contemplating the photographs of Magdalena Borowiec (in particular, her work in black and white). I emerge into space, boundless landscapes, maps of dust and shale inhabited by the nearly traceless individuals whose physical exteriors and mental interiors we pass through within these compositions. Borowiec’s human subjects – captured in either intimate close-up or at something of a symbolic distance – appear to transcend time and place, although they are firmly rooted to both within her frame. (Unlike the rest of us: unstoppable, unframeable, worn down to shadows.) Here we find ourselves in the presence of presence itself: a young woman in the moments before a meal, embodying quietude, enveloped in grace, head tilted downward in prayerful repose. Attuned to the unheard, Borowiec records the eloquence of the unsaid in a simple room devoid of clutter and excess. A room in which there is little to begin with and still less that could possibly be discarded, for as in a still life painting’s overlapping of the noticed and the unnoticed, each present object attests to its own relevance and therefore essentiality. In Magdalena Borowiec’s photographic still-lives, rumpled secondhand blankets, mattresses, jackets, and prayer rugs attain a preciousness established not by the appraiser but through legitimate and repeated use; and each single crumb of bread upon a tablecloth, or puddle of grease slicked across the surface of a bowl of soup, is deemed worthy of the camera’s (literal) focus and the photographer’s curiosity. As we approach the end we sense a beginning. Clamour ceases and gives way to a supreme silence. Landscapes are pared down to the primeval and human interiors emptied of their material superfluity. A pure spareness is all that remains, elemental in its simplicity. We long for it like we long for wealth, but in so doing risk its eluding us, for it is only from the hands of poverty that it may be shared.”
The exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Those Boikos are the most mysterious tribe the length and breadth of the Carpathians. No-one else is quite so troublesome. The Boikos are a little mute. They are incapable of talking about themselves. They, like the Germans, don’t call themselves Boikos. They consider Boiko an insult. They call themselves: Verkhovynians, Rusyns, Galicians, but not Boikos. They might agree to the name Boikivshchyna for where they live, but not a single one of them knows the limits of its territory.
Where the Boikos came from, what the name means, who they are when they almost don’t exist – these are the essential problems facing intellectuals of all types, including those who’ve left the Boikos and made a name for themselves; but they’re not important for the Boikos. They are so vivid, when you are among them, yet become slippery, like their waters, when you try to somehow define them.
“You can’t get by without Boikos if you’re making a film about old times, whether it’s the middle ages or the middle of the twentieth century. In any case, their faces are not from around here. And neither is their way of life. In each detail one detects more of past centuries than present fashions. They have so many objects and gestures that have disappeared everywhere else, and they have so little of everything that is already everywhere.” (by Taras Prokhasko; English translation by Uilleam Blacker)
“A Boiko village in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains fits my idea of the rural life in its primal form perfectly. I found myself in a world where the events have magical causes, where white magic confronts black magic and good struggles with evil – in the world I knew only from the fairy tales I was told as a child” – says Jan Brykczyński.
Jan Brykczyński (b. 1979) | based in Warsaw (Poland) | studied Photography at the Łódź Film School (Poland) and at the FAMU Film School in Prague and currently – at the ICP in Opava (both in the Czech Republic) | focused on the European outskirts, undertaking the question of complex relationships between the man and nature | scholarship holder of the International Visegrad Fund and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage | laureate of several photo contests | author of two books: Boiko (self-published, 2014) and The Gardener (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2015) | co-founder of the International Photography Collective Sputnik Photos | represented by the Vienna’s AnzenbergerAgency | his photographs have been exhibited internationally and published by several photo magazines, including doc! photo magazine (doc! #22).
Jan Brykczyński – BOIKO
@ Robert Morat Gallery (Kleine Reichenstraße 1, Hamburg, Germany)
Grand opening: March 18 at 6:00 PM.
The exhibition will be open to the public between March 19 and May 21, 2016.
The international photography competition POPCAP announced the winners of its 5th anniversary edition. The award aims to foster interest in and support for contemporary African photography. This year’s winners were chosen by an international panel of 20 renowned judges from 900 applications from 94 countries. The winning artists and their projects will be presented at a series of international exhibitions. They are also invited to take part in an artists’ residency program.
The winners and their projects:
Nicolas Henry (b. 1978) | based in Les Mesnuls (France) – African Tales from Today (2012–2014)
African Tales from Today is a set of photographs taken with communities in Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Madagascar and Namibia) and in the African communities living in the suburb of Paris (France). The project is close to a traveling theatre. The tales talk about Africa. The scenes are made with objects found on site. The scenography is set up with the local community in order to evoke the narrative seen in the image. Each story is decided and shared as a commitment of models. The photographic moment is similar to a theatre because many people come to attend this “performance” , the eye of the audience creates a new dialogue. The unified group expresses not only its vision to the world, but tries to share it with its own community too.
Jason Larkin (b. 1979) | based in London (United Kingdom) – Waiting (2013–2015)
“While living in Johannesburg, I was struck by the ever-present reality of people waiting. Inactive yet expectant, this condition becomes a visual echo of the predicament that many South Africans can find themselves in. Though many wait alone, the amount of people waiting becomes a collective, city-wide experience,” – says Jason Larkin. – “Visually I was drawn to those seeking shelter from the harsh summer sun by positioning themselves in the shade. Figures here occupy ephemeral spaces of respite created by the surrounding urban environment. These shadows remove the individuals’ identities, leaving only the subtlety of posture and the details of place. With only the waiting period accompanying each image, the purpose or possible outcomes of these situations is unclear. We are left to meditate on the temporality of these individual situations and the indirect connections that waiting creates across society.”
Sabelo Mlangeni (b. 1980) | based in Johannesburg (South Africa) – Isivumelwano: An Agreement (2003–2014)
“The first time I used a camera was for a wedding in 1997,” – says Sabelo Mlangeni (doc! #34). – “I did not get a chance to see the photographs because the bride picked them up straight from the lab. ‘Isivumelwano: An Agreement’ is an attempt to reconstruct these images looking at how an event about the love between two people becomes a community event.”
The project started in South African townships and continued with an exploration of wedding ceremonies in the capital cities of Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. The resulting body of work focuses on the beauty and ornate nature of these ceremonies as well as the traditions and attire that embrace the adaptability of cultures in today’s African cities. Wedding ceremonies in black Southern African cultures are significant gatherings, often with more than one day of celebrations. The work looks at the way Southern African cultures have been adapted over the years looking particularly at the amalgamation of African cultural practices and Western white wedding rituals seen predominantly in metropolises.
Thom Pierce (b. 1978) | based in Cape Town (South Africa) – The Price of Gold (2015)
Over a period of 20 days in September and October 2015, Thom Pierce traveled around South Africa’s Eastern Cape, into Lesotho and up to Johannesburg to find and photograph 56 sick miners and widows named in a class action lawsuit against 32 gold mining companies in South Africa, lodged on behalf of all miners suffering from Silicosis or Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) as a result of working in the gold mines. The photographs were displayed in the building next door to the courtroom in Johannesburg at the time of the case in October 2015. This was done as a piece of advocacy, to put a human face to the often stark and detached courtroom proceedings.
Silicosis is a preventable but incurable lung disease that is contracted in the gold mines through inadequate protection from silica dust. Miners who contract silicosis get tired and out of breath quickly and are prone to lung infections, respiratory failure and TB. Most miners who became sick were sent home with little or no compensation and no hope of finding further employment.
Julia Runge (b. 1990) | based in Berlin (Germany) – Basterland (2015)
100 years after the Rehoboth Basters rose up against their German colonisers, the Basterland series takes up the task of providing a multifaceted insight into the contemporary life of the ethnic group living in Namibia today. It is a portrait of a society that seems to find itself in an “in-between“ amid tradition and change. The series reminds us a forgotten episode of German colonial history. The name Baster (Afrikaans for German bastards) may seem a little pejorative. But the Baster community gave it themselves because it reminds them of their heritage and emergence. The Basters are the offspring of the union between European settlers and their indigenous Khoisan slaves during the colonial period in the 18th century. During the South African colonisation, the Basters became a more and more unwanted and stigmatised group. Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, the Basters are the only traditional grouping in Namibia with no special legal status and to this day they fight for their acceptance and recognition in society.
Visit POPCAP website @ www.popcap.cc for more information.
The POPCAP’16 was organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.