18 IX - 9 X 1998
Foto © Vaclav Jirásek
Foto © Ewa Andrzejewska
Contact photography. Apparently the same as any other kind, but still different in some special way, as if obvious, direct. An attempt to grasp its real nature - in all its dissimilarities - will not, however, allow us formulation of any definition, since what makes the perception unique is the type of sensitivity and subjective emotions of the photographer while the technique and technology are of only secondary importance. Obviously it is visible in the pictures themselves, especially for those who are much involved in photography, even if they do not practise the art themselves. Peace and calm, and primarily the confidence, even conviction, that the chosen frame is definite, unchangeable, precisely seen an accepted by the photographer, are the particular characteristics of this kind of photography. And there is the magic of preparation for picture taking. Positioning the camera on the tripod, choice of the frame showing the world "upside down", the black cloth separating the photographer from everything except the picture on the focusing screen as well as all other necessary preparations make up a mystery ritual, attractive due to its very peculiarity, charming with mystery, promising the unusual. The contact photographers nearly always come from the conventional photography stream, the one whose standards are more widely familiar to the public. They usually are those who treat photography as an object, perceiving and exposing the visual structure of a picture as an independent value. Such photography is not a vehicle for description, anecdote, or narration - at least at its basic level. Some sort of objectivity in theme (object) choice proves that the world itself is photogenic, despite the classic stereotypes stating that the beautiful (in the classical meaning of the word) panorama of the Karkonosze Mountains is to a large extent a plastic structure, equivalent to the presentation of, for instance, architectural fragments of Prague underground or completely abstract play of light, created artificially for the sake of a photo. The core of this photography is the tensions and relationships between various fragments of reality, also the one seen on the focusing screen or, first of all, photographic reality as such. Speaking precisely, the idea is to identify the visual, without any social context or narrative. In practice it is obviously impossible to detach completely from associations, images or conditioning resulting from seeing a photo. The photographer, however, is able to bias the emphasis towards his intentions. And the intention of this type of photography is photography itself. Everyone who reaches such a notion of it - with due respect to social, political or functional role of photography - gets armed with a sense of autonomy of the practised discipline. The most inquisitive ones try to reach its roots, the basic reason why the character of photography is as it is. They start using big, uncomfortable cameras and go through the same experiences their predecessors used to go through, the difference lying to their consciousness of historical advances accomplished. On taking up contact photography they choose some orthodoxy in techniques and technology, which is basically meant to intensify the pleasure in picture taking. Another choice is seriousness with which they treat this activity, so important in their life. With minimising the number of stages in the course of their reality - negative - positive way, they may be closer to the nature of photography, closer than the others. The photos used in this exhibition are representative for leading contemporary Polish and Czech photographers dealing with contact photography. They are inquisitive. They are restless. Keeping their own preferences, they show us their wide variety of likes. However, they also share a common idea, confirming the phenomenon of such, just such and only such photography.
Foto © Jakub Byrczek
Foto © Adam Lesisz
The commissioner of the exhibition "KONTAKTY": Jakub Byrczek
from PUSTA GALLERY in Górnośląskie Centrum Kultury.
Autors of exhibition:
Ewa Andrzejewska (Jelenia Góra), Jarosław Benes (Praha), Jakub Byrczek (Katowice), Sławoj Dubiel (Opole), Marek Gardulski (Kraków), Maciej Hnatiuk (Wałbrzych), Janina Hobgarska (Jelenia Góra), Vaclav Jirásek (Praha), Eugeniusz Józefowski (Wrocław), Piotr Komorowski (Jelenia Góra), Bogdan Konopka (Paris), Andrzej J. Lech (New York), Adam Lesisz (Wrocław), Marek Liksztet (Jelenia Góra), Marek Poźniak (Berlin), Jan Reich (Praha), Marek Szyryk (Opole), Wojciech Zawadzki (Jelenia Góra).
Foto © Maciej Hnatiuk
Foto © Jaroslav Benes
Bogdan Konopka - "Koniec i Początek"
Copyright ©1998 Górnośląskie Centrum Kultury, Galeria FF ŁDK