Pass By Me – interview

Series „Pass by me“:

1. What was the main idea for developing the series „Pass by me“?

That was the very first text describing the series White Elephants:

It is very simple, actually. Me and my bag of pictures are nothing more than the love I have felt,
things I have been looking for, people I have met, the feeling of guilt.
All those decisions that turn an individual into two separate beings, where imagination will
always remain false, whereas reality is always untouchable. Actually, it is the mind, the world on
three elephants. We all resort to it because we want to have memories.

Create the playground from anything you have at the moment. Step, step, stop. And again.

Pictures are alive (in the same way as we are) mainly because we have to die. Save your songs,
there is not much time to analyze.

Pass by me is the undertitle that I added in the moment that I’ve got the feeling that it is only last
word to say in this series. I had the impression that some chapter in my life is finishing, but just
the impression in the previous present time. From the perspective of time I can see that White
Elephants – Pass by me was about becoming, about the route that I took five years ago.

2. Which story do you want to tell with the series?

White Elephants is about the balance between inconsistent states and feelings. The
original idea of the series was to explore the state dissonance between feelings by looking with
a sense of disappearing and longing; that is the thing which, in my opinion, makes the images
important to our culture, and life. Photography exists in the way that we know it mainly because
we have to die.
Also, images are the rope that ties the fragmented past back together. I believe that
memories are somewhat impossible to be imagine, but a picture can create a genuine physicality
and real consciousness. On the other side, there are emotions and the unknown, and together,
they change everything. It is not a simple tribute to the past, but rather a story about feelings out
of time; the interior projected to the exterior.
For me, photography exists much longer before and after taking the picture. The image is
just my method of communication.
Important thing is that my photography is exchanging the need of object for need of
author. The pictures are not related on the reality level (time, place, society group), but on the
imaginary level (states, “author”). In the same time they are not losing story, not becoming
abstract, not erasing the reality, In this sense they are creating something that can be named
the labyrinth with few location axis – real time, and real memory of work, and the “wind” of
emotions and “wind” of imaginary that shaping them. Photography itself has all this signs of the
reality, I don’t want to double them in my work – it is one of the reason why “me” as the author
ties the images I mean my “meetings” without the timeline ties the Elephants.

4. On your photos the motives are often blurred, one time covered with a scarf, at the same time
the black and white reduces on the essential. Which intention is behind this technique?

Taking pictures is always the big experience for me, usually I’m very emotional taking
them, forgetting about other things, it is not that my photography is about act of taking pictures,
or about the moment. I was also not looking for any concrete esthetics – it is not the construction
that I have planned – the esthetics was on the backstage, the main intention was that somebody
not only see but also feel my work on the identify level. It works very sometimes and not because
of the style, information, conventions, but because of the message.

5. Where did you shoot the project?

Everyplace that i was during last years: Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia. I would love to
go to see the dead ships on the coast of Africa

6. In the series are also some diptychs – why?

Because some of the pictures are the links to the others. Sometimes you see the same idea in the
radically different matter, like atoms and eternity, ironically one is the plagiat of the other, the
separated tree could be the separated couple. I wonder now if it is not too obvious, one of this
diptych is very bad, the other I still like. It is like making the narration in the book, you cannot
really make it only from the strong ones, that’s why probably Mario Giacomelli had to work
harder then the others on the books, because all of his pictures were genius.

7. Your photos are very different in style. What is the intention behind this, do you want to
surprise the observer?

Photography is really not about being original, but about being authentic. There are many great
photographers working in that so-called “style”. And most of them are different from each others,
because it is not about stilistic, but about the reason for taking pictures.

8. What is more important for your series – form or contents?

One cannot exist without the other. It starts from meeting and lead to form of communication.

9. With which camera and which lens did you shoot the project?

Various cameras, usually Holga and Nikon

11. Do you use a Leica as well?

No, I use the camera for 40 euro, but once I make the portrait of the friend with it, and it looked
like the passport with the flag, he said he likes the picture.

12. „Pass by me by“ is just the last part of the series „White Elephants“. How would you
characterize the whole project? And which meaning has „Pass by me“ in the whole context?

It is about the last part of the project but specially about the feeling that important chapter of
my life is passing. I have the feeling that I have changed in last years, and my photography
changed the same. Pass by me means that I’m ready to start the new chapter, but it also means
that photography is not anymore about the pictures for me. I come to the point that only art
that exist for me is life, and forms of art like film, photography, painting is just the platform
of communication of the upper art (life). Taking pictures daily for last years help me a lot to
understand how to give pictures, and how to find your really self. One of the most important
person on my way once said to me: He is the good photographer because he is able to get lost.
And I was very lost, taking pictures and solving puzzles for White Elephants. It leads me to the
song from family film Wonder Years „With a little help from my friends” performed by Joe
Cocker.

General Work:

1.How did you become a photographer?

Photography brings me the closest to people, and that is why I have chosen it. It is the
most direct medium that allows me to establish the existence of imagination based in reality.
It started quite accidentally. In the beginning, I got a camera as a gift and started to hide in
the old, abandoned factories in Lodz, taking pictures of things I found there. Then everything
changed when I started to take pictures of people and traveled various places especially to do so.
I found that being a photographer can be a continuous state and can become very close to life.

2. Why did you choose photography to express yourself? And what meaning does it bring to your
life?

It is hard to separate being a person and being a photographer; for me, those two things
come together. Having gained perspective in time, I see that I have become more open and
sensitive to people and the situations around me, but it can also be because of the other things
that were happening parallel to photography. For certain, photography is my passion and
sometimes an obsession. Sometimes it makes me very depressed, sometimes very happy.

3. What is the biggest challenge for you in taking photos?

One problem is that we are constructed in such a way that we want to define the things
that are happening around us, and to understand them. My photography is not a means to
understanding or an attempt to give answers, – it always leaves doors open and some of the
answers are outside of the frame. Naturally I want to know the answers and always I forget about
this natural tendency, I’m able to take the pictures. Photography for me is about searching for
rather than a means to say, “Congratulations, you have found the key.” And when some answers
are solved it is time to start the new chapter

4. Do you have a motto in photography/life?

Photography is always a document, but I’m trying to utilize it as a record of feelings and
states transformed by emotions. I prefer to reorder information than to reveal it. I’d like to use the
cameras that distort the image, and during taking picture making what I can to do not destroy the
view at all. I need to have this balance. I make the photographs that based on author and
emotions but not in the autobiographical way. In a certain sense, I’m talking about my own
doubts through images of others I photograph, but that is happening on the level of the
imaginary, able to touch reality, but not describing it in an autobiographical way.
Somebody ones said: it is not a big deal to say “night”, the thing is to create the felling of
night without using that word. That what I try somehow: My photographs are based on reality,
but they are not reality.

8. Which meaning has got your home country Poland for your photos?

Now I’m finally feel there like in home. During last seven years of taking pictures i was
rather avoiding to photograph there. Preferable go somewhere else to feel more abstract, more
like without the words, more like music around. Usually I was sick of Lodz. But now it has
changed, I begin to see this city as oniric Lodz: my hometown and my friends on the corner.

Development of Photography:

1. On your website we can see White Elephants also as a slideshow. Do you prefer your work to
be understand as a whole or as singular images?

I believe in harmony, and the important thing about it is that you can either see the whole
idea in small pieces or the small pieces collectively making the whole. The slideshow gives me
the opportunity to separate the chapters and concentrate more on the story. The photographs in
the slideshow sequence are somehow like pages in a book, with order and relationships between
images, and it allows me to define more of the narrative.
For me very personally some of the pictures, as for any spectator of them, (pattern: author
-emotion-communication-existing) are the links that remains me about situations (not mean the
moments of my past-picture, but any other with similar atmosphere), or having the metaphoric
way of touching me. The timeline of my life is not important for existence of my work. How
many different biographies one person can write having good intention (just because of different
moment of starting to write)? Neither I’m not believe that memories are equivalents nor I don’t
believe in them as a timeline at all. That is what I mean by two separated human beings – I mean
the conflict between the fantasy (not fiction) and reality.
What about guilt – I mean it in deeply existential way of passing away. It is mistake to
equal my work and me – we have many similar bones but we are not each other. She is the hybrid
of emotions and states, I’m the human and I need a break sometimes. My connection is
expression.

2. Is photography in danger of extinction because of the growing importance of films?

For years they were co-existing. Photographers can learn from filmmakers and filmmarkers can
find photographers important. Those two mediums are just very different. I don’t really see the
growing importance of film, rather growing prices of Tri-x, and growing number of billboards.
And amazing song of Pj Harvey called Grow, grow, grow.