Non-existent photographs
2011 – 2013

Krzysztof Pijarski 7:46

In the archives of the Red Cross in Geneva, there are photos from the Palestinian-Israeli war, or rather the Arab-Jewish one. This is the war which the State of Israel emerged from and which is called the “war for independence” in the Israeli historiography. From the Palestinian perspective, it is referred to as “al-Nakba”, a catastrophe. Ariella Azoulay tries to mediate between these two versions, trying to create an alternative story of these events. “That’s not the case”, she says, “that there was an Israeli and Palestinian side, but the deep division that’s been created.” And because she’s trying to rewrite this story anew, the Red Cross archive did not allow her to use those photographs. So, she’s built the whole narrative based on a photographic archive she can not publish.

Igor Omulecki 3:53

We were driving inland and got lost. We found ourselves in such a strange place. We drove into some totally green olive groves. And in these groves, under a cloudy hazy sky, there was steam hovering and the light was warm. Suddenly, in this green…

Karolina Sulej 5:51

As part of my scientific research, I look for everyday stories of people who have been generally labelled as “survivors of the Holocaust” and are written into a huge narrative about harm, guilt and punishment, while their personal voices disappear. I wanted to bring to light this everyday life in one of the most difficult times in modern history as it appears to be. In private archives, there are photographs that refer not only to the area of death and martyrology, but also moments of life that could happen to all of us, because they are related to puberty, falling in love, starting a family, spending time together. They talk about the joy of life, and in my opinion you can’t tell the whole story of World War II and the Holocaust without it. And because I already know the stories of those people and know their images in ghettos or concentration camps, I’m very curious (though I haven’t found it anywhere yet and I’m afraid that there are no such photos) what did they put on first after the war was over? What would their style be like? How would those first photos look like? That photo of happiness that could be seen as a return to normal times…

Wojciech Prażmowski 6:49

This happened in 2001 in Kolomyia, Ukraine. It was winter, the weather was foul and the snow poor. Everything looked rather gloomy in this grey trodden snow. We entered the bazaar, because we thought it to be an interesting place. Suddenly, I saw a picture like that: there was a small, ungutted, maybe 10- or 15-centimeter-long fish lying on the ground in this dirty grey snow. On the right and on the left, there were huge winter wellingtons, similar to Valenki, and two tall broad-shouldered men standing. They stood and said nothing…

Kuba Dąbrowski 1:53

I was once with my friend in a milk bar at Nowy Świat street. These visits there have always been epic: prices in the mortar, menu written with a bar-like calligraphy. And so, imagine, we are sitting there and eating our food, and at the next table, there sits an elderly lady with red borscht and egg. The plate lies on a blue checkered cloth, so it makes a very colourful composition, the lady takes the cutlery, rolls up her sleeves and all of a sudden you can see a camp number tattooed on her arm. It lasts only a moment, because she realizes that she rolled up the sleeve too far and put her hand away. It’s obvious it’s troublesome for her. I have an old analog Olympus Miju in my pocket, but do not take a picture; it’s not worth it.