Michal Cala

Polish Photographer | Born: 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

Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
Michal Cala
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Martin Bogren
Nationality: Swedish
Born: 1967

Martin Bogren was born 1967 in Sweden and is now based in Malmo. His photographic practice has developed by a personal documentary tradition in the early 90’s – photographing bands and artists. His first book The Cardigans_- Been It was published in 96 after several years touring with the band.

Swedish born Martin Bogren first came to attention in 1996 with his book on the Swedish band, The Cardigans, who he photographed over several years while touring (…)
 
Eduardo Soler
Nationality: American
Eduardo started his career working for renown photographers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Later he worked full time as a staff photographer for The Sharper Image catalog company in San Francisco. His most recent clients include Bayer HealthCare, Novartis, Intuit, Boehringer Ingelheim, among others. He's also an award-winning street photographer.
Eduardo lives in Oakland, California with his wife Judit, and two fun cats, Sprinkler and Tiger.
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
Eduardo Soler
 
Guilhem Alandry
Nationality: French
Guilhem is a London based photographer and multimedia producer who has exhibited his work as an international artist around the world. He founded Documentography in 2000 and has worked in socially engaged issues for a number of charities, agencies, magazines and galleries. He is a pioneer of interactive photographic narratives and is highly accomplished in new media forms. He is a true multimedia artist, versatile and comfortable using photography, video, VR technology and (…)
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
Guilhem Alandry
 
Sally Mann
Nationality: American
Born: 1951
Sally Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951. She has always remained close to her roots. She has photographed in the American South since the 1970s, producing series on portraiture, architecture, landscape and still life. She is perhaps best known for her intimate portraits of her family, her young children and her husband, and for her evocative and resonant landscape work in the American South. Her work has attracted controversy at times, but it has always been (…)
 
Mary Ellen Mark
Nationality: American
Born: 1940 - Died: 2015
Mary Ellen Mark is an American photographer known for her photojournalism, portraiture, and advertising photography. She has had 16 collections of her work published and has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. She has received numerous accolades, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mary Ellen Mark was born in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and began photographing with (…)
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark
 
Peter Allert
Nationality: German

Peter Allert co-founded Munich-based Allert&Hoess Photography in 1989, specializing in still life , technical and scientific photography. This brought him while his study of biology before, to start as self-taught photographer. After setting up its own studio in 1991 and establishing its own light, lab and print facilities, the company made its breakthrough in 1992 with a photo series for the portfolio „Joop! – women’s shoes“. Its subsequent client list is long and (…)
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
Peter Allert
 
Abelardo Morell
Nationality: Cuban
Born: 1948

Abelardo (Abe) Morell (born 1948 in Havana, Cuba) is a Boston-based photographer. Morell and his family fled Cuba in 1962, moving to New York City. Morell earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College in 1977, and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University School of Art in 1981. He received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Bowdoin in 1997. Morell is well known in the photographic community for creating camera obscura images in various places around the world (…)

 
Pieter Hugo
Nationality: South African
Born: 1976
Pieter Hugo was born 1976 and grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a South African photographer who primarily works in portraiture and whose work engages with both documentary and art traditions with a focus on African communities. Hugo is self-taught, having picked up a camera aged 10. He remembers the first image he printed, which was a homeless person in Johannes. After working in the film industry in Cape Town, Pieter Hugo spent a two-year Residency at Fabrica, (…)
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo
 
Zhang Xiao
Nationality: Chinese
Born: 1981

Zhang Xiao, 1981, China, studied Architecture at Yantai University. Between 2005 and 2009 he worked for the Chongqing Morning Post and has since been active as a freelance photographer. His project Coastline focuses, as the title describes, on the Chinese coastline which is 18000 kilometres long. For Xiao the sea is a place of strong emotions and rich imagery. He states that "the sea is the beginning of lives and dreams." The project also clearly shows how China (…)
 
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Nationality: American
Character-based portraits and narrative-driven scenes are our thing. Large & complex productions are where we thrive, and we specialize in capturing authentic moments in even the most manufactured of settings.

True collaborators at heart, we formed Kremer/Johnson to explore our combined creative vision. We share in all duties from ideation & pre-production through shooting & post. Together we create still & moving images for editorial, corporate, and advertising (…)
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices