DEBUTS 2018: Jurors’ Picks

Taken from the Behind the Scenes series

Taken from the Behind the Scenes series

Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Jordan Gale (USA), Anna T. Pfeiffer, and Ewa Doroszenko (both from Poland) have been selected by the DEBUTS jurors as their personal picks from the group of 20 winners of this year’s edition of the project awarding the most talented emerging photographers in the world.

One of the novelties of this year’s edition of DEBUTS is a personal pick by each juror. The members of the jury were asked to chose one submission they considered the best. Sergey Melnichenko from Ukraine, whose application was indicated by two jurors: Elviera Velghe, director of the Museum of Photography in Antwerp (Belgium), and Peter Bauza, a photographer-documentalist from Germany, can be considered the greatest DEBUTS laureate. Here is what they wrote in their justifications:

“The submission by Sergey Melnichenko is my personal favourite because the quality of each photo project is very high. The three projects are three times different. But it proofs to me that the photographer may vary, but still keeps his skills on top. The projects overwhelmed me by their atmosphere that grabs me by the throat. Every project shows a high original potential with beautiful, rich photography. In ‘Behind the Scenes’ the photographer gets us an insight of an emotional aspect of burlesque theatre. It is very intimate; gorgeous photos with extremal colours and contrasts. Even though the theme of ‘Passengers’ is not complicated, the photos keep stuck in my memory. In the last project ‘Polaroids from China Part II Monochromes’ every photo is a piece of art. I love the way the photographer approaches a topic with an adjusted photographic style. Sergey has a sharp photographic eye, sensitive enough to get the composition right, the contrasts good and excellent narrative photos.” (Elviera Velghe)

Taken from the Polaroids from China: Part II - Monochromes series

Taken from the Polaroids from China: Part II – Monochromes series

“It was not easy to review, score, and then narrow down all the many brilliant entries, with a high standard. But among the many impressive submissions for the DEBUTS contest this year, the artist of ‘Behind the Scenes,’ ‘Passengers’ and ‘Polaroids’ was able to maintain a style, a story, and a narrative. Sergey Melnichenko has a bright and above-average language and is able to express his emotions and feelings.” (Peter Bauza)

Sarker Protick, photographer and World Press Photo winner from Bangladesh, has recognised submission by Anna Pfeiffer, a Polish citizen living in Italy, as his favourite one. He wrote about it:

“An approach of Anna Pfeiffer to photography is smart, intelligent and playful at the same time. I am impressed by the quality of her portfolio which consists of three different projects, all having an effort to reinvent from one another while still having a strong personal attachment to the subject matters. These body of works also has interesting possibilities to present in many different forms of book and exhibitions.”

Taken from the Braids, Red Curtains and That Walk in the Park series

Taken from the Braids, Red Curtains and That Walk in the Park series

The favourite of Isabella van Marle of the Unseen Amsterdam festival is another Pole – Ewa Doroszenko. In her justification one can read:

“I have chosen Ewa Doroszenko’s proposal as my favourite because it was the most outstanding and surprising one. I find it very clever how the photographer translates criticism on society in an artistic manner. The projects are reflecting on the meaning of images in the digital age. New technologies such as virtual reality and beauty apps are shifting our perception of what nature and beauty are. The proposal has a clear message and is creatively constructed. ‘The Promise of Sublime Words’ is my aesthetical favourite.”

Taken from The Promise of Sublime Words series

Taken from The Promise of Sublime Words series

The DEBUTS originator and editor-in-chief of doc! photo magazine quarterly, Grzegorz Kosmala, pointed to the application of Jordan Gale from the USA, about which he wrote:

“I am very impressed by the applications for this year’s edition of DEBUTS. Choosing the one was really difficult. My favourite is Jordan Gale, who although submitted only one project, delighted me with the sincerity of speech and the way of conducting his narrative. It takes a lot of courage to talk about yourself and your loved ones in this way, especially when their past is marked by dark episodes. The more I appreciate the fact that Jordan has allowed us into his world. His project is not only a story about the family, but also a picture of the contemporary American province.”

Taken from the It Is What It Is series

Taken from the It Is What It Is series

The laureates of the fifth edition of DEBUTS are: Kirsten Leah Bitzer (USA), Michele Crameri (Switzerland), Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy), Ewa Doroszenko (Poland), Jean-Félix Fayolle (France), Jordan Gale (USA), Ilias Georgiadis (Greece), Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland), Paweł Łączny (Poland), Raj Lalwani (India), Camille Lévêque (France), Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Filippo M. Nicoletti (Italy), Valentyn Odnoviun (Lithuania), Anna T. Pfeiffer (Poland/Italy), Natalia Poniatowska (Poland/United Kingdom), Sergey Stroitelev (Russia), Gihan Tubbeh (Peru), Federico Vespignani (Italy), and Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland).

The first presentation of works of all DEBUTS winners and the premiere of the book will take place traditionally during the International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL in Łódź (Poland), which starts on June 21 and will last until July 1, 2018.

Tomasz Wysocki @ Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw

The Taste of Cherry #4 Courtesy of Leica 6x7 Gallery Warsaw

The Taste of Cherry #4
Courtesy of Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw

The newest photography project by Tomasz Wysocki, young and very promising artist, asks some serious existential questions. He creates a subjective vision of consecutive phases of our lives. Birth, growing up, maturity, and old age are captured through the allegorical, full of hidden senses, and meticulously composed photographs. Imagined situations are taking place beyond the time and space. In a result, the maximum effect is built upon the form and hidden anecdote. The precision of the details is astonishing. The overall impression is amplified by the images large-scale format. Last but not least: the anxiety, characteristic for the previous works is still present in The Taste of Cherry series (doc! #43).

On the one hand, The Taste of Cherry could be a continuation of artist’s previous searches. On the other, it opens up new investigations such as conscious and sensitive usage of the light and shadow. The light becomes next character of Wysocki’s images, almost like in expressive Caravaggio’s paintings. The atmosphere of the photographs is serious, almost dark. About the work with models the artist says: “I used to treat people in front of the lens as the form that I set up with a perfect precision in front of the camera. This time, I wanted to work more like a film director. Through attempts, tips, and conversations, I tried to enter the actors into the space of the set design and observe how they find themselves in it, not just imposing the final composition in 100%, as it happened in my previous cycles.”

The Taste of Cherry #6 Courtesy of Leica 6x7 Gallery Warsaw

The Taste of Cherry #6
Courtesy of Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw

The process behind The Taste of Cherry was indeed like a movie production. The first scenario and detailed sketches of the scenes were created when Wysocki started his studies at the Łódź Film School’s Photography Faculty few years ago. Each element was meticulously planned. In the meantime, funds for the project were being raised. Wysocki engaged a group of 60 people: actors, set designers, plan managers, make-up artists, costume designers, stuntmen, and video operators. Photo sessions were carried out in Łódź, in a huge 2000 m2 studio.

It is uneasy to track down the aesthetical inspirations inside The Taste of Cherry, but from the practical point of view Wysocki’s methods are similar to those used by masters of photography like Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Thomas Demand, or Paweł Bownik. Although Wysocki himself  admits to the fascination rather with painting and sculpture: “Egon Schiele, Vermeer, Lucian Freud, Caravaggio – these are the names that are particularly fascinating to me now. It is not so obvious, but I see in their work many staging-related elements that inspire me and which I try creatively use in my work.”

The Taste of Cherry #9 Courtesy of Leica 6x7 Gallery Warsaw

The Taste of Cherry #9
Courtesy of Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw

Tomasz Wysocki planned his project with care for details; however, the photographs were designed to leave room for interpretation of the recipient. This is the kind of a statement that can be found in the famous painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? by Paul Gaugin. The Taste of Cherry created by Tomasz Wysocki is an original development of thoughts expressed by Gaugin, written on 12 large-format photographs.

Tomasz Wysocki (b. 1990) | based in Łódź (Poland) | student of Photography at the Łódź Film School | deals mainly with staged photography, in which every element of the photographic set is precisely arranged, and photographs are taken without manipulation of the image or photomontage | loves contact with nature, hitchhiking, painting, and talking to people | has shown his works at group and individual exhibitions in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland | laureate of the Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2014) and double scholarship holder of the Minister of Science (2014, 2016) | represented by Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw.

­­­Tomasz Wysocki – THE TASTE OF CHERRY
@ Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: April 20 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between April 21 and June 3, 2018

Accompanying events:

  • Artist’s talk: May 10 at 6.00 PM
  • Curatorial guided tour: May 24 at 6.00 PM

The Tomasz Wysocki exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage. See a selection of The Taste of Cherry @ doc! #43 and making-of video @

Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw @ AIPAD’s Photography Show

Taken from The Taste of Cherry (2018) series

Taken from The Taste of Cherry (2018) series

We are thrilled to invite you to visit Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw booth at the longest running and one of the world’s most prestigious exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium: The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, taking place in New York City.

Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw strives to promote Polish artists, presenting their works at international art fairs and exhibitions throughout the world. Following numerous successful presentations in Europe and Asia, the time has come to conquest America. The gallery will present two artists representing different approach to medium, thus showing diversity within the Polish photography: Tomasz Wysocki (doc! #43) and Paweł Żak (cd! #1 & #6).

A master of powerful imagery, mature beyond his age


Taken from The Taste of Cherry (2018) series

Taken from The Taste of Cherry (2018) series

One of the most talented photographers of the young generation in Europe, Tomasz Wysocki (b. 1990) studied Photography at the Łódź Film School. In New York, he will present a selection of works from his most recent project The Taste of Cherry.

Tomasz creates a surreal, multi-layered visual story in a series of 12 unique images that investigate diverse, yet universal events of human life. He constructs his world and its protagonists within the settings created through a specific frame in mind. Every element is meticulously arranged without any manipulation, while digital editing technology is only used for basic retouching. The unexpected and visionary, The Taste of Cherry proves how dreamed-up landscapes and symbolic visions are being unveiled to the contemporary viewer through the medium of photography.

Tomasz Wysocki is one of the most interesting discoveries of recent years. The first public presentation of his works took place at a group exhibition 45 Frames from PhotoVogue hosted by Italian Vogue at the Leica Gallery in Milan (Italy) in 2015. Since then, he has exhibited in Copenhagen (Denmark), Berlin (Germany), Milan (Italy), Warsaw (Poland) as well as in Paris (France) and recently made his way to China. In New York, Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw will also show a selection of works from his Exodus 2064 series.

A master of contemporary still life

Nicely. Taken from the And Other Still Lifes (2008) series

Taken from the And Other Still Lifes (2008) series

And Other Still Lifes by Paweł Żak (b. 1965) constructs an unusual collection of stationary still objects that are bonded together for their composition or symbolic features. Small, lifeless objects are very important topics for painters, but there are a few photographers, who are focused on still life too and Paweł Żak is a real master among them. For over 25 years, Paweł has surprised numerous audiences with his sensitivity and perception. He exhibited his works countless times all over Europe. A week after the show in New York, he will open his solo exhibition in Kyoto (Japan). His works are extremely popular amongst European collectors and institutions, including the National Museum and Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, the Museum of Art in Łódź, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, among others.

“Still life in photography is a double death of things. First, the nature dies and is transformed into art by composition and abstraction. As photography is dead in its essence, it may immobilise both processes of growth and decay. This paradox lays the ground for Paweł Żak’s artworks,” – says a contemporary art critic Adam Mazur on Paweł Żak’s project.

Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw @ AIPAD’s Photography Show
Pier 94 (booth #809), New York City (NY, USA)
April 5-8, 2018

Winners of DEBUTS 2018 Announced!


It is a pleasure to announce names of 20 photographers who have been recognised by the DEBUTS 2018 jury as the most talented emerging photographers of the year and invited to the book and travelling exhibition, shown exclusively during the photographic events.

The DEBUTS 2018 winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Kirsten Bitzer (USA)
  • Michele Crameri (Switzerland)
  • Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy)
  • Ewa Doroszenko (Poland)
  • Jean-Felix Fayolle (France)
  • Jordan Gale (USA)
  • Ilias Georgiadis (Greece)
  • Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland)
  • Paweł Łączny (Poland)
  • Raj Lalwani (India)
  • Camille Leveque (France)
  • Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine)
  • Filippo Nicoletti (Italy)
  • Valentyn Ondoviun (Lithuania)
  • Anna Pfeiffer (Italy)
  • Natalia Poniatowska (United Kingdom)
  • Sergey Stroitelev (Russia)
  • Gihan Tubbeh (Peru)
  • Federico Vespignani (Italy)
  • Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland)


The first public presentation of the winners and their projects will take place this June (more information to come).

Four of the listed above photographers have also been picked out by the jurors, who this year’s were Peter Bauza (Germany), Grzegorz Kosmala (Poland), Isabella van Marle (the Netherlands), Sarker Protick (Bangladesh), and Elviera Velghe (Belgium), as their personal choice. Their names and the jurors’ justifications will be presented next week.

Stay tuned!