Warsaw Photographer is a documentary project which presents various aspects of activity of Warsaw photography studios. Antonina Gugała examines the traces of presence of high street photographers within the capital city’s space. The material she collected serves as a departure point for recognition of social functions held by these photographers and for analysis of the language used by them in communication with their environment.
The author documented the window displays of over eighty photography studios which are currently operating in Warsaw. Her primary motivation was the will to preserve the memory of places commonly associated with photography. The project spotlights the presence of photography studios in the urban space and it draws attention to the visual language used by the high street photographers in order to attract passers-by.
Another element of the exhibition is a collection of “diploma photographs” made by Warsaw’s photographers. The author had her picture taken in every studio documented in her work. A crucial factor of this experiment was to completely shift the responsibility for the final shape of photographs to the high street photographers. The collection of author’s portraits gathered in such a way allows to explore the social and cultural codes which rule the world of general photography.
The theoretical framework of the project was the division of ways of perceiving photography into three categories: looking through, at and beyond a photograph, introduced by Terence Wright.
The last approach seems to be particularly inspiring, since it encourages to treat photography as an indicator of certain defined cultural rules which determine what kind of behaviours we treat as normative. The entire collection allows the audience to independently analyse the role of general, or high street, photography in the development of everyday aesthetics, and also in shaping the image of the photographer’s profession.
Warsaw Photographer project is pursued as a part of the City of Warsaw Art Scholarship.
7 – 18 December 2016
Archaeology of Photography Foundation, ul. Generała Władysława Andersa 13
Opening: 7 December, 06:00 p.m.
About the author:
Antonina Gugała (1989) – photographer, author of photography books. She graduated in Psychology and Iberian studies at the University of Warsaw. She is a graduate of the Academy of Photography in Warsaw. She studies photography at the Institute of Creative Photography, Silesian University in Opava (Czech Republic). She received a grant from Young Creators’ Cooperative (orig. Spółdzielnia Młodych Twórców) (Association of Creative Initiatives “ę”, 2013) and the City of Warsaw Art Scholarship (2016).