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Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala

Michal Cala

Country: Poland
Birth: 1948

Michal Cala was born in Toruń, Poland in 1948 and studied aircraft construction in Warsaw at the University of Technology in the early 1970's. From 1974 to 1983 he worked as an engineer in various companies in Silesia, and began photographing in the area. In 1977, he moved to Tychy in Upper Silesia, where he co-founded the photographers' association KRON and become a member of the ZPAF – the Union of Polish Art Photographers.

Relatively unknown outside of his native country, his work is in several museum collections in Poland; in the Silesian Museum of Katowice, the Silesian Library in Katowice, the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, the Coal Mining Museum in Zabrze as well as local government building in Duisburg in the Ruhr (Germany) and various private collections. His work has received much acclaim and won numerus awards; among which are the Grand Prix at the Polish Landscape Biennale in Kielce twice, 1979 and 1983 and won the first prise at the Pilsner International Photo Awards in the Industrial category in 2007. His work from Galicia series and the Paysages de Pologne exhibition was shown in France in 1980's. The Silesia exhibition was shown widely in Katowice (1984, 2002, 2008), Krakow (1986, 2006), Warsaw (1986, 2009), in Enschede, the Netherlands, (2012), at the Photo Biennale Mannheim – Ludwigshafen – Heidelberg (2007) and part of group project at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands (2008). In 2007 he was classified as one of most important Polish photographers in last century and participated in the group exhibition Polish Photography in XX Century (Warsaw, Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania). In the same year, Cala's photography was featured in British Journal of Photography and Foto8 magazine.

Publications on his work include The Anthology of Polish Photography 1839 – 1989, The Masters of Polish Landscape and The Polish Photography in the 20th Century.

His past exhibition Metropolis on Silesian urban landscapes was held at the Silesian Museum in Katowice in 2013 and a solo show Silesia and Galicia in the Museum of History of Photography in 2016 in Krakow (Poland). His photo book based on the same series was recently selected in the Open Submission at Belfast and Athens Photo Festivals respectively (2017).

The latest solo exhibition at MMX Gallery; SILESIA 1975-1985, was the first time his work has been shown in UK.

MMX Gallery about the exhibition Silesia 1975-1985

Michal Cala is regarded as one of the most important Polish photographers of the last century. Cala started taking pictures in his youth and has been working professionally as a photographer for nearly 40 years. Silesia is an industrial district in Poland which at the time of 1970's and early 1980's was experiencing its peak of development and activity. Although providing massive employment for the area, the environmental issues were ignored.

Stepping off the train, Cala encountered the other-worldly landscape for the first time and decided this is what he wanted to make of photographic record of. Fascinated by the subject matter, he devoted himself to photographing the Silesian landscape between 1975 – 1992, which resulted in the series entitled Silesia (Śląsk in Polish). Cala's photography took on various influences ranging from surrealism, which inspired a movement in Poland called "fotografia kreacyjna" (creative photography), and the realism of British New Wave cinema of the late 1950's and early 1960's.

Poland's isolation during the Cold War made it very difficult for photographers to obtain artistic publications. However, some Czech and Polish magazines were publishing Western photographers work such as Edward Weston, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank and Diane Arbus who acted as a window for inspiration. Cala was influenced by landscape, reportage and social documentary photography, which he always portrayed in his personally stylised images. In Poland, political and material conditions were harsh under Soviet influence. Using a basic 35mm Exa 500 camera, he managed to produce images of such a lyrical beauty only to be emphasised again with a dark graphic printing style, to further enhance his vision of the sometimes-apocalyptic looking landscape before him. A single house surrounded by huge cooling towers, majestic slagheaps, lonely figures microscopic when compared to the massive scale of industrial surroundings are subtle metaphors of living in a communist reality. The majority of photographs in the exhibition are vintage silver gelatin prints, made by Cala at the time they were taken.

Source: MMX Gallery

 

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The images captured the moment and the subjects very precisely – although this was over twenty years ago, they still have an immediacy that thrills me.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?A little while ago I was shooting some portraits on a very sunny day, and forgot to flag the lens. The negatives l ended up with were completely fogged and unusable.AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be?Either Robert Adams What We Bought, or Collier Schorr’s Jens F. Both books have a real hold on me – I’m completely consumed every time I open one up. And after years of looking at them, they still surprise and fascinate me.
Edouard Elias
I chose photography naturally. It is surely the result of a double education: separated between Egypt and France, I learned to consider images both as memories and objects that allowed me to transpose myself into places where I could only remain for a moment, but also as historical documents, more in accordance with my classical instruction. In addition, many cartoons have certainly trained me in a straight, frontal and clear frame, so I was very early aware of geopolitical events as well as of the problems of population movement linked to war or suffering. At the age of 18, after a A level, ignoring which way to choose, and to comply with family expectations, I went to a business school. It was not for me, no compatibility possible. I then attempted a reconversion in the school of photography in Nancy. It was a revelation, I was fitting in the right place. Different encounters, for example with the reporter Luca Catalano Gonzaga in Rome, with the books of the agency Magnum, with some documentaries on photography report, made me eager to watch History in progress, to live it through my camera and especially not to forget it. So, instead of completing my internship at the end of the year in an identity photo shop, I went to Turkey in the Syrian refugee camps and then to Syria, producing my first photoreport. My childhood allowed me to acquire the faculty of movement, not limiting myself to the borders of my village or the cities of my region. So I naturally started on the road of reporting. The conditions and the encounters engendered satisfy the need I have to answer personal questions. All the means necessary to photograph a human being in a difficult situation (pain, loss, war, poverty, suffering) result from a deep desire and a work on personal adaptability. Nevertheless, the essence of our work must be focused first and foremost on the subject. The results today of the image on the international scene leave me skeptical, but I think that these photographs, although they unfortunately are taking the risk of not changing the situation, will allow us to remember. I keep on practicing photo reportage. The Foreign Legion committed to the Central African Republic and then to its surroundings in France, punctuated my work for a year. Lebanon, Jordan on the Syrian refugee crisis with the organization Première Urgence Internationale, the Congo DRC on rape as a weapon of war and its doctor Denis Mukwege or the closed educational centers of the Judicial Police of Youth are, as well as the rescues of migrants in the Mediterranean, part of my subjects. Visa for the image allowed me to sell my first photographs of Aleppo in Syria, to meet professionals who will become dear friends. I have, besides my personal projects orders and projects to realize in France and I dedicate all of my activity to photography. My pictures have been published in: Paris Match, Der Spiegel, Sunday Times magazine, Time Lightbox, VSD, Le Monde, Figaro Magazine, Le Parisien Magazine, Polka, Le Point, Libération, LFI Leica international, Gala..."Source: edouardelias.net
Ian van Coller
South Africa
1970
Ian van Coller was born in 1970, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in the country during a time of great political turmoil. These formative years became integral to the subject matter van Coller has pursued throughout his artistic career. His work has addressed complex cultural issues of both the apartheid and post-apartheid eras, especially with regards to cultural identity in the face of globalization, and the economic realities of every day life. Van Coller received a National Diploma in Photography from Technikon Natal in Durban, and in 1992 he moved to the United States to pursue his studies where he received a BFA from Arizona State University, and an MFA from The University of New Mexico. He currently lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife, children, and three dogs, and is a Professor of Photography at Montana State University. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in many significant museum collections, including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Library of Congress, and The South African National Gallery. Van Coller's first monograph, Interior Relations, was published by Charles Lane Press (New York) in 2011. He is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Piece of Cake collective. Van Coller's most recent work focuses on environmental issues related to climate change and deep time. These projects have centered on the production of large scale artist books, as well as direct collaborations with paleo-climatologists. About Naturalists of the Long Now Climate change has compressed and conflated human and geologic time scales, making it essential to find ways to conceptualize “deep time.” My project, Naturalists of the Long Now, seeks to make notions of deep time comprehensible through visual exploration of glacier ice, as well as other earthly archives. Initially inspired by the 10,000 Year Clock Project of the Long Now Foundation, I have begun collaborating with scientists to make art that challenges viewers to think about the vast scales of geologic time-both past and future-that are recorded not only in the earth’s ice bodies, but in trees, sediments, corals and fossils. Photography is a unique and powerful visual language. However, what that language sometimes lacks is the information needed to bring about understanding of what is represented in the photograph itself. In 2015, I was able to accompany a team of geoscientists who specialize in climate science related to Quelccaya Glacier in Peru. I was astonished at the endurance of these men and women. Every day they would climb to the summit of the glacier at 18,600ft, and then work over 10 hours straight, drilling ice cores, digging snow pits, and collecting data. It would be exhausting work at sea level, let alone at altitude. I realized I really had a lack of understanding of what the scientists were trying to do. Where the symbolic conversations in my ice portraits ended, the deep knowledge of ice possessed by the scientists would sustain and expand it. When I was a young person, I was fascinated by the annotated drawings and paintings of Victorian era naturalists, botanists and ornithologists. These brought together the two things I loved most in the world-art and nature. Since that expedition to Peru, I have started intimate collaborations with scientists by having them annotate directly onto my photographic prints-a contemporary taxonomy of ice and climate-thus re-inventing a genre of naturalist imagery. Naturalists of the Long Now breaks down barriers between art and science, and creates a dialogue between text and image, landscape and viewer, expert and novice, past, present and future. My intention is that Naturalists of the Long Now is to encourage people to think in terms of longer spans of time, and consider what humanity will look like in 100 or even 10,000 years-instead of just considering our personal and immediate desires.
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AAP Magazine #39: Shadows
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AAP Magazine #39: Shadows

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