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Monthly Archives: February 2012

7 Rooms by Rafal Milach awarded the best Photogrpahy Book in 69th Pictures of the Year Intrnational

Here is a book review

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My new publication on GodOrBad website

For those of you, who don’t speak Romanian… here is a text on the original interview I did in English:

– You’ve done quite a bit of traveling, started from Poland then Turkey and Italy, why choose Romania for your current freelance work?

I was born in Poland, I was studying in Poland and I started to work as a staff photographer in Poland …. later a bit by accident I got to Turkey. I started to cooperate there with a Gaste newspaper and with a few foreign agencies. It allowed me to work on my project about woman in Muslim society in Istanbul.
Later I came back to Poland and was trying to do freelance job. During that time I was quite lucky because I got a few scholarships and I was able to travel to Italy and USA to study photography with the best photographer of our times: Stanley Greene, Christopher Morris, Alex Majoli, David Allan Harvey and Gerd Ludwig.
Unfortunately, when I got back to Poland I was hit by reality. Money from freelance work were not enough to support myself not even mentioning expensive equipment. I didn’t want to become a wedding photographer.
I found a few opportunities in Romania and I started to travel between Poland and Romania,
I worked here for NGO’s (IREX and Ovidiu Rom) and Bloomberg Agency which helped me to build stronger portfolio and make my first multimedia. Unfortunately, still it was not enough to support myself. I luckily found here a regular job in the international company and even I do not work everyday as a photographer, I can effort to continue my projects and travel.
I am happy that I can work independently on my projects. I consider photography as too important to make some compromises in this field.

– How was “Drum bun” born, did you have a clear picture of what you wanted to do from the beginning, or is it more like a collection of visual oddities that slowly took form into this project?

Last two years I was traveling around Romania because of two main reasons – assignments and my travels back to Poland. I realized that I do not want to loose my time, I want to shoot for myself while I have opportunity to travel so much.
I just started to take photos through the window of my car. I realized that taking photographs like this can give a bigger picture of Romania than photographing only the capital city. Bucuresti is much different than other parts of Romania. Photographing in the city doesn’t give whole idea about Romania.
I would prefer to call this project and essay. It’s my personal view.

– Is there any implied critique in your pictures of the Romanian landscape along the roads?

Of course. I do not meet so many Romanian people who find those photos interesting.
I hear a lot of critique. Romanians do not like how i see Romania. They find my photographs not pretty… They say that I photograph only bad side of Romania and they think I do not like this country.
I see it differently. I love Romania and I find those landscapes very beautiful and romantic.
Do you know Mark Power’s project about Poland called“Sound of two songs”? You can’t call his photographs pretty. Power didn’t photograph pretty things and landscapes … but I just love those photos. I am not offended by them.

– At first sight you pictures look somehow trivial as we are tired of the visual madness we see everyday around us. After looking at a couple of them, you begin to understand and start asking for more. It seams that some things can only be seen though the eyes of a foreigner. Does that help you?

Yes, it does.. It did. I am quite a bit of time in Romania and I think I am getting used to things around me… I am waiting forward when it will get warmer and I will be able to hit the road again.
My next trip is planned for middle of April. I can not wait. I hope I didn’t loose “foreigner” perspective.

– Some might say that taking pictures form the car window is just a form of cowardliness for a photographer, that there is too much distance from the subject. In some pictures you even include parts of the car, was that to underline the traveler’s perspective?

I was always very close to my subject and this time I wanted to do something else. I do not stop my car to take photos, so those photographs are not very well composed. It’s just impression of a person driving car around Romania… as you said.. it’s traveler’s perspective.

– Do you think there is a “culture of the road”, are they a mirror of our society?

In each place around word there is a culture of the road. People build infrastructure along the roads… so yes, I think it is.

– When I first saw this project, I had this flashback with Robert Frank and his famous project “The Americans” and I pictured him driving across the U.S. and sometimes snapping pictures from his car window. Did you have any inspiration for this body of work?

After I started my project, I started to search for photographers who did similar projects before me. I found Robert Frank’s project and I have to say that I like his book a lot.
It was not inspiration to start but for sure gave me some confidence that it’s a way to go.