COUNTRY ON THE RISE. 1960-89

Authors: Krzysztof Barański, Maciej Musiał, Marian Musiał, Anna Musiałówna, Maciej Osiecki, Krzysztof Pawela, Marek Szymański, Krzysztof Wojciewski

Curator of the exhibition: Anna Musiałówna

The youth of today usually associates everyday life in socialist Poland with insufficiency, grayness and stagnation. But that time also had its colors and brighter sides – first of all it fostered a sense of community. People shared poverty and one common enemy – the ideology imposed by the authorities. News photographers were on the same side of the barricade as most of the society. For the authors of the presented photographs, the external conditions did not matter, as was the money for which one could have bought so little. They enjoyed the charms of being twenty-year-olds and were pursuing their passion by looking at the world through the lens. For photographic reportage it was a good and photo-conducive time. Press photographers not only experienced interesting adventures in the field, but also treated their profession as a mission. The main purpose was to outwit censorship and publish important material depicting the realities of the system. Authorities unwittingly supported these actions by funding photographic business trips which produced images not compatible with the party line. Thanks to this symbiosis, contradictory in its intentions, today we can look at the then Poland through the eyes of the photographers – documentalists of the time.

Opening of the exhibition 17.11.2017, 6 p.m.
Stara Galeria / Galeria Obok
Plac Zamkowy 8
Warsaw

The galleries are open from Tuesday to Sunday. 14-18
The exhibition will last until December 15th

Free entrance

Maciej Musiał (1946 – 2000) Author of numerous photo reportages and photos on magazines’ covers. In 1969, a press photographer for the itd. weekly magazine. In the years 1971-1989, he worked with the Polish Agency Interpress and the Polska monthly magazine, where he presented the profiles of such artists as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jerzy Duda Gracz, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Alina Szapocznikow and Czesław Miłosz. Since 1976, he was a member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers. The recurring theme of his photography was Silesia and children. His reportage Moi kumple z Zabrza (My buddies from Zabrze) was awarded at the National Press Photography Competition. He participated in many group and individual exhibitions. When doing a field work he felt like at home. He was always carrying emergency equipment in his car – axe, fishing rods, saws and a portable cook stove for pine cones of Soviet production designed for a wanderer in the taiga

Krzysztof Pawela (1954) Since 1975 he has been working as a press photographer for the itd. and Perspektywy weekly magazines. In 1977,  named a press photographer of the year. Often was undertaking drastic topics, such as dissection room or horse slaughterhouse. He was looking at the reality with a dose of  irony, capturing absurd situations, improbable scenes involving citizens caught up in a socialist everyday life. In free Poland he quit  reportage and turned to advertising photography. His works are in the collections of the National Museum in Wroclaw, in the Museum of History of Photography in Krakow and  in the archives of the Association of Documentalists Droga.

Maciej Osiecki (1952) In the 70s and 80s he photographed for the itd., Na Przełaj, Kurier Polski and Razem youth magazines. Gifted with an unusual sense of humor, he notices what others do not see. His individual photographs taken while doing a field work on commission of editorial office – are like a short good joke. Osiecki’s works are in the collection of the Museum of History of Photography and in the archives of the Association of Documentalists Droga. In the years 2008 – 2010, worked as a personal photographer of the Presidential couple. On April 10, 2010, he did not board a presidential plane – he traveled to Smolensk by car.

Anna Musiałówna (1948) Press photographer since 1972. Worked for the itd., Przyjaciółka, Na Przełaj, Razem magazines. Since 1996, has collaborated with the Polityka weekly, where she published more than 150 photoreports in “Na własne oczy” (With your own eyes) section. Published  in 1976 in the itd. magazine, her reportage “Minus jeden” (“Minus one”) showing an abortion, which triggered a storm at the highest level, is still present in albums and exhibitions. Her works were presented at Warsaw’s Zachęta Contemporary Art Gallery in 2008 within the exhibition: Documentalists – Polish female photographers of the 20th century. The curator of exhibitions, e.g.: Poland of the 70s and the Road through Poland. Co-founder and President of the Association of Documentalists Droga. She feels best in an unknown area among strangers. Her photographs are in the collection of the Museum of History of Photography in Krakow and in many albums about the Polish reality. Member of the ZPAF, SDP, ZAiKS.

Krzysztof Wojciewski (1947) Multiple winner of the National Press Photography Contests. His works were exhibited both in Poland and abroad. In the 70s and 80s, a press photographer for the itd. weekly, where he published photo reports on social, daily life and cultural issues, as well as portraits of well-known people of science, culture and politics. For nearly 50 years, he has been working professionally – recognized as one of the most efficient press photographers of indestructible fitness. He does not part with his camera. You can always find him where something important happens. Member of the ZPAF, ZAiKS, Association of Documentalists Droga 

Marek Szymański (1953) In the years 1974-1993 his specialty were teenagers;  a press photographer for Świat Młodych (Youth’s World) youth magazine. Like other press photography enthusiasts, the scenes worth capturing on photos were taken during his travels on duty. A participant of the National Press Photography Contests, author of many works presented at individual and collective exhibitions. Secretary of the Association of Documentalists Droga. Still professionally active. By his colleagues, seen as a man who you can count on in difficult moments. Member of the ZPAF, SDP and ZAiKS

Krzysztof Barański (1945 – 2005) In the years 1969- 1981, press photographer for the itd., Razem, Film and Ekran magazines. One of the most important personalities in the itd photographic circle. As the Head of Photo section, he was creating a unique atmosphere and helping young talented photographers take on the profession. The lover of life and photography was inspiring the beginners, forcing them to think and take an artistic initiative. Soon, this informal school of the itd. magazine gave birth to many great photographers, later members of the ZPAF (Association of Polish Art Photographers). At the turn of 1989 and 1990, Barański created the 6×9 photo magazine and the Piękna (Beautiful) Photo Agency. Being disappointed with the effects of the transformation and the lack of funds to support the 6×9, he destroyed his own photographic archive. For this reason, his work is missing on the exhibitions of press photography. Recently, 12 years after his death, his son found a locked suitcase in a garage. There were envelopes with rejected photos. From the so-called rejects, selected were photographs, which we present for the first time at the exhibition Country on the Rise (Kraj na dorobku).

Marian Musiał (1916) Father of Maciej Musiał and Anna Musiałówna. He constructed his first camera before the war; to do so, used a box and a lens purchased from an optician. The first photo taken with this camera survived in the original. Befriended with Paweł Pierściński and enjoying the aesthetics of the Kielce Landscape School, after his work, he was resting while taking pictures of the surrounding landscapes. Having always his camera with him, he was portraying his own children from their birth, neighbors and friends in various situations. He documented important events, customs and celebrations. In the family archive survived the negatives which are a documentary record of inhabitants of Suchedniow, people who wanted to be captured on photos in their Sunday clothes – after the war and in the 1950s. Musiał was sending his photos to magazines, competitions (some were on the covers); was illustrating albums of nature, taking part in exhibitions. His landscape picture was shown at the exhibition of Polish Artistic Photography accompanying the Poznan Fair in 1947.