Born in Poland in 1985 and based in London, Joanna Piotrowska has had a stellar career so far. Studying photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and then on the prestigious MA at London’s Royal College of Art, she won MACK’s First Book Award in 2014 with FROWST, and then the Photoworks & Jerwood Award in 2015. She’s already shown her work at the Winterthur Fotomuseum, Switzerland, MoMA in New York, Hayward Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts and Sadie Coles in London, and now her first solo show has opened at Tate Britain.
Titled All Our False Devices, the exhibition includes both still photographs and 16mm films to consider gestures, relationships, and power. The series Self Defense, 2015 shows young women re-enacting poses from self-defence manuals, for example, while Shelters, 2016-2018 shows makeshift structures Piotrowska invited people to build at home in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Warsaw, and London.
Born in Poland, educated in Switzerland, resident in Caracas, Venezuela from 1975-83, and now living in Paris, Gabriela Morawetz is a truly global citizen and artist, who has exhibited in galleries and museums across North and South America and Europe, including the Chicago Cultural Center, the Gallery of Modern Art in Lodz, Poland, The Recanaty Foundation Museum in Israel, and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Caracas.
Even so, she creates her own worlds in her photography, microcosms in which most of the elements are literally made by her. Her latest show, Unwägbarkeiten / Imponderables, features a series of images using painting, canvas, glass, metal, and reflections, drawing on her background in painting, sculpture, and engraving, which she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow before moving into photography.
Photography critic for The Guardian, Sean O’Hagan picks out the projects that intrigued him most this year – including the series No More No Less © Kensuke Koike & Thomas Sauvin
“Eastern and Central Europe has a lot of treasure in its photographic histories,” says Kate Bush, speaking about the exhibition she has curated for Calvert 22, Family Values: Polish Photography Now. It’s the first exhibition in the UK to focus exclusively on Polish photography and, says Bush, “hopefully, it will all be part of feeding a greater understanding and interest”. Family Values is part of Calvert 22’s mission to show the cultural and societal change in eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia through photography, and Bush – who is adjunct curator of photography at Tate Britain – was commissioned by the gallery for the project shortly after the EU referendum. She sees the exhibition as an opportunity to celebrate London’s Polish community, the largest outside of Poland, as well as commemorating the centenary of Poland’s independence.
“I could picture myself as this little girl. The photograph has a reminder of the escape into a childish world, full of power and imagination and carelessness. You would not lie down next to the buffet during the party as an adult unless you are not sober.” Natalia Poniatowska’s entry to the BJP Breakthrough Awards 2017 is an outtake from a wedding renewal ceremony, which was taken quite by accident whilst the photographer was looking at lighting in the room. The image shows loneliness but also the power of children’s imagination.
A young boy who became a French resistance fighter as just a teenager; a German fighter who lost an arm; a Kazakhstani field nurse; an Indian deployed to fight the Japanese in Burma; a Holocaust survivor who is today a Donald Trump supporter. Sasha Maslov’s photobook Veterans travels the world to meet with some of the last surviving servicemen and women of the Second World War, a conflict whose impact is still being felt some seven decades after the conflict finished.
In the Middle Ages, it was widely believed that pandemics, such as plague and cholera, were caused by breathing in impure air, poisoned by decaying matter. Now, Polish-born Gosia Cwiech has decided to resuscitate the obsolete hypothesis in a series which explores the contemporary, post-truth framework.
When Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art asked Anna Orłowska and Mateusz Choróbski to create a story themed ‘art market’ for its Forum magazine, the pair turned to a bustling street fair in the small town of Radomsko. “We had two weeks to think of an idea and realise it,” says Choróbski. “We visited the market a few times, bought objects we thought would work, and then photographed them in different configurations. We usually work on projects for a long time, so it was both refreshing and challenging to do this in such a short period.” The idea behind Tribute to Moda Polska (which translates as ‘Polish fashion’) was to transform ordinary items into art objects, says Orłowska, who featured in BJP’s June 2013 issue. “This ironic gesture was made to reflect on the value of contemporary art,” explains the 29-year-old, who studied at the national film school in Łodz. “Where is the line between market kitsch and objects of aesthetic value?” The series is also “a tribute to important places in Polish towns and cities”, comments Choróbski, an …
Most fashion photography students dream of shooting with top agencies, but few can say they’ve achieved this while still at art college. Digital photography student Angelika Wierzbicka can, though. She is graduating from Ravensbourne this summer and has been photographing models from agencies including Next, IMG, Select, Models1, Storm and Premier, building up an impressive collection of editorial tearsheets in just a few years. Originally from Poland, the 21-year-old has produced work for Coco Magazine, Hunger TV and Material Girl magazine. “Fashion is really important to me, not only in photography but also in my personal life,” she says. “I love shooting fashion because I get to create beautiful imagery that doesn’t exist in real life; it’s almost like a dream. Some images can look so simple and effortless that people don’t realise how much work has gone into making them.” The shoot for Material Girl came about after Wierzbicka got in touch with stylist Savannah Baker. Together they created a series of images that riff on different shades of pink and other complementary pastel colours. …