Polish Waters

KAUNAS PHOTO festival, in collaboration with the Polish Institute in Vilnius and Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, casts light onto Polish photography and presents many exhibitions from the neighbouring country.

The biggest exhibition, concluding the theme of water, will open at 5pm, September 19, Tuesday in “POST” gallery (Laisvės av. 51). The artists presented are: Tymon Markowski (Bydgoscz) “Flow”, Filip Ćwik (Warsaw) “Sinking Industry”, Krzysztof Racoń (Kraków) “Disappearing lakes”, Dorota Dawidowicz (Warsaw) “Relax”, Adam Wilkoszarski (Poznań) “Sobering Chamber”, Kuba Kamiński (Varšuva) “Sobering Chamber”, Kacper Kowalski (Gdynia) “Beach 1102”.

Tymon Markowski (Bydgoscz) "Flow"

© Tymon Markowski

Tymon Markowski has lived in Bydgoszcz, the city where Brda river meets the largest Polish river Wisla, since childhood. To get to know Brda river better, he set off on a photographic trip that lasted a year. Tymon Markowski visited places in the river’s vicinity, looking for unexpected or extraordinary pieces of reality. The whole trip turned uncanny when he discovered another place named Bydgoszcz - a small village near the source of the river. The distance between these two Bydgoszczs is 106 kilometers in a straight line. In this unusual space “Flow” series started to take shape.

Tymon Markowski was born in Kraków, lives and works in Bydgoszcz. He graduated from the Higher School of Economy with a degree in sociology. As a self-taught photographer he started taking pictures in 2006 and later worked for local newspapers Express Bydgoski, Gazeta Wyborcza for 8 years. He participated in the Sputnik Photos Mentorship Program in 2015. A year after he joined Un-Posed, a street photography collective. He received a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland. Winner of some of the most prestigious photo competitions in Poland and abroad, Markowski was a winner of the International Photography Awards 2016 and Photojournalist of the Year 2016 held by Polish Association of Photojournalists.

Filip Ćwik (Warsaw) "Sinking Industry"

© Filip Ćwik

20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Eastern European communism, Polish shipyard industry, the birthplace of "Solidarity", is in deep crisis. Gdansk and Szczecin shipyards are under the threat of liquidation. The battle between Polish government, creditors and European Union rages on. Shipyard workers live under immense pressure of loosing their jobs. They are completely unsure of their future; they leave, search for work in England, Ireland, and Norway.

During the last two months over 25% of workers left the Szczecin shipyard. ”Solidarnosc” trade union was born in the shipyards of Gdansk and fought for Poland's freedom 27 years ago. Today it fights for the survival of the shipyard. It organizes manifestations and pickets. In the 70’s and 80’s nearly 20 thousand people worked in the shipyard. Today only 3 thousand are left and a ghostly feeling of emptiness lingers in most of the shipyard’s sectors.

Filip Ćwik was born in 1973 in Szczecin. Graduated from cultural studies department at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. Co-founder of Napo Images and the Napo Foundation. Winner of numerous photo contests, including World Press Photo. His works were published by, among others, Le Monde, Das Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, L’Espresso, Days Japan, Guardian, and The Times. From 2001 to 2013 he is a regular contributor to "Newsweek Poland". In his work he tries to find the balance between commercial and newspaper commissions, and his own long-term projects that go beyond the definition of documentary work or photo reportage. In 2012 Filip Cwik received scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In 2010-2012 he taught photojournalism at the Institute of Journalism at the University of Warsaw. He runs a portrait studio in Warsaw. Filip Cwik is also a keen collector of non-professional family photographs. Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.

Krzysztof Racoń (Kraków) "Disappearing lakes"

© Krzysztof Racoń

The lakes of Roznowskie and Czchowskie, located along the river Dunajec in southern Poland were only ever meant to last 75 years. The issue of global warming is urgent for the local community, who survive on agriculture and tourism, combined with a job in the city. Polish photographer Krzysztof Racoń grew up in Nowy Sacz, a city 20km away from the lakes. After years of passing by the lakes on his journeys to Krakow where he studied, in 2013 he decided document the changes not only of the lakes itself but people’s relationship with them.

Krzysztof Racoń is a documentary photographer based in Krakow, currently studying at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (Czech Republic). He is a graduate of the Jagiellonian University and Academy of Photography in Krakow (Poland) and of Sputnik Photos mentorship program. Twice awarded in the international contest "Lens on development" organized by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2013, his project on the small village located in the shadow of a great industrial conveyor tube brought him first place in the Vienna International Photo Awards. In 2015 he published “Rura” in a photobook form. His second project “Disappearing Lakes” is dedicated to Rożnowskie and Czchowskie lakes located nearby his hometown.

Dorota Dawidowicz (Warsaw) "Just Relax"

© Dorota Dawidowicz

Earth has about 1338 million km3 of water, including all the oceans, ice caps, water vapor in the atmosphere water under the earth. We need water to live, just like oxygen. Water plays an important role not only in the lives of humans, animals and plants - the entire planet but also in the production process. Water is used as a raw material.

Water is also a source of endless socialization, pleasure and entertainment, if seen from a slightly different angle. Water provides relaxation and rest, no matter if it's an ocean, a sea, a lake or a river, no matter if one is young or old. One can be a passenger on an old steamer boat, wearing fins, in a swimming pool, in a kayak, on a beach, on a carousel. Take a deep breath – relax!

Dorota Dawidowicz was born in 1983 and graduated from the Warsaw School of Photography (2010). Dorota lives and works in Warsaw. Her area of work is portrait fine art and documentary photography. She works with large format camera. She took part in several individual and groups exhibitions, Galeria Pauza (Krakow), Skwer (Warsaw) Galeria Entropia (Wrocław), Bielsku-Białej „Galeria B&B” ,Jeleniej Górze „Galeria Korytarz”, Białej Podlaskiej, Sandomierzu BWA, Galeria Limited Editions, POSK (London). Her works has appeared in magazines such as Digital Camera, Polityka, Szeroki Kadr.

Adam Wilkoszarski (Poznań) "After season"

© Adam Wilkoszarski

The concept of leisure is made up of both: time and place, as well as ideas. Along with the late modernity space and time blurred, the structure of organised labour influenced the birth of an equally organized structure for free time and holidays. After Season focuses on the backstage of this structure, that produces places suspended in time. The structured free time industry stops when holidays end. People finished their holidays and for a while the resorts become deserted, frozen and then ready to receive thousands of tourists that will come again next year. This cycle repeats endlessly, and in each of these places you can feel the gentle but still palpable trace of memories of leisure – the idea lacking accurate coordinate and time frames.

Adam Wilkoszarski is a Polish documentary/landscape photographer based in Poznań, Poland, born in 1986. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography from University of Arts in Poznań. In his work he concentrates on places that are usually full of people, are changing the very moment they become abandoned and empty. He tries to find places in which the borders between public and private spheres are blurred and he looks for the signs of disappearing or crossing of those borders.

Kuba Kamiński (Warsaw) "Sobering Chamber"

© Kuba Kamiński

People in deep alcohol addiction, which releases blind aggression and bereaves them from their motor skills, are being sentenced every day to a payed stay at the Sobering Chamber. A relict of the Soviet Union, a place for all drunks from all over Warsaw city. A place, you get out from with a bill and a blurry reminiscence of a nightmare you've experienced.

While taking photos inside a Polish drunk tank, Kuba Kamiński expected to spend most of his time photographing society’s outcasts — people who lacked a family or job to steer them from the toxic depths of alcoholism. Instead, he encountered people from all walks of life in the Warsaw facility. Inside what Kamiński calls the "sobering chamber," bankers, diplomats and journalists shared rooms with panhandlers and the homeless, chatting in the nonsensical language of the inebriated. "It reminded me of a bad dream," the 32-year-old Polish photojournalist said. "It was very interesting to me that people from different social classes could be in (the) same situation."

Kamiński photographed scenes in the sobering chamber over two months in 2010, pulling all-nighters after he'd finished his day job as a newspaper photographer. A staff of four to five people, including a doctor, handled anywhere from 40 to 60 people each night, stripping them of their clothes and assessing them to decide whether to send them on to a hospital or keep them in the facility to dry out, he said. Staff members told him that most patients were repeat visitors. Kaminski saw one person return in the same night.

In Eastern Europe, these police-run sobering-up stations originated in early 20th-century Russian republics and spread to neighboring countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. They began to appear in Poland thanks to a 1982 "anti-alcohol law" intended to rid the streets of visibly intoxicated loiterers and encourage sobriety.

Funding issues and concerns over treatment of visitors led to the gradual decline of the centers outside of Poland, where they remain one of the last remaining vestiges of the communist era. A 2013 report by Poland's Office of the Human Rights Defender cited violations of patients' rights to privacy and proper medical care. The report also recommended that control of the centers be upgraded to serve as "family assistance" centers that provide ongoing preventative treatment for alcoholism. Because Kamiński was unable to show faces of the dozens of people passing through each night, his images are dark, blurry and contorted — an effect meant to convey the haze of alcoholism, he said. He considered whether the abstract compositions could have the effect of dehumanizing or stigmatizing his subjects, but he decided it was important "to show the ugly face of the addiction."

"I wanted to do it like that because the more and more I visited the chamber, I realized that I wanted to show the point of view of a person who's in there," he said. "Part of me wanted to stigmatize them; I wanted to show (them) maybe as a reminder of what alcohol can do."

Kuba Kamiński born in 1985 in Warsaw, Poland. Holds a degree in photography from Lodz Film School. In 2004, he started work as a professional photographer for "Zycie" daily and since 2005 has been a staff photographer for "Rzeczpospolita" daily newspaper till 2012. He was a part of reportage. by Getty Images Emerging Talent till 2013. Now he is a staff photographer at the Polish Press Agency and European Photopress Agency. He is open for assignments in Poland and abroad. Kuba has been working on assignments in Europe, Asia, Africa, US and South America. He is also involved in his own documentary projects, such as "The Sobering Chamber": about post-communist facilities for alcoholics, "Salaryman": concerning overworked Japanese corporate workers and a still ongoing project "The Whisperers", started at the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2011.

Kuba Kamiński born in 1985 in Warsaw, Kaminski graduated from The Polish National Film School In Lodz. From 2004 till 2012 he worked as a photojournalist for main Polish newspapers. World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass 2011 participant in Amsterdam, Emerging Talent in the Getty Reportage in 2012, International Photography Awards finalist in New York 2007, China International Press Photography Competition in Hangzhou 2012, NPPA Best of Photojournalism USA in 2012 & 2015, National Gegraphic contest Grand Prix (polish edition) winner 2010, Covered the Arab Spring in Libya, annexation of Crimea, war in eastern Ukraine and water crisis in Gaza among the rest. Now a staff photographer for the Polish Press Agency / EPA and Polish contributor with Le Monde.

Kacper Kowalski (Gdynia) "Beach 1102"

© Kacper Kowalski

The series Beach 1102 was made flying the paramotor or gyrocopter (small helicopter) in  an approximate hight of 150 metres. The content of the photographs isn't of the prime importance to the artist. He is concentrated on reactions, reflections and ideas, that these pictures evoke. When working on this series, as well as other ones, Kacper Kowalski doesn't use a drone or a remote control. He wants to up there, high above and fly with the camera in his hands. The artist loves the feeling of freedom and not relying on anyone else's vision.

Kacper Kowalski was born in 1977. He is a graduate of the Technical University of Gdańsk, where he studied architecture. After having worked in architecture for four years, he devoted himself entirely to flying and photography. Both as a pilot and a photographer, he takes aerial pictures of natural and urban environments of his native Poland.

He has received numerous awards, including the World Press Photo award (2009, 2014, 2015), the Picture of the Year International POYi award (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), and many others.

He is represented by the Panos Pictures agency. His first photography book, Side Effects, was published in early 2014. Photographs from this project have been shown all over the world. He lives and works in Gdynia, Poland.


Exhibition on display till 8 of October.

Leave a Reply