Photographs by Maciej Musiał from 1969-1971
What did the reality in 1970s Poland look like from the perspective of a 23-year-old
photographer? What themes were discussed and published in the student press? What did the photojournalist focus on and what distinguished his works?
The exhibition presents photographs by Maciej Musiał taken in 1969–1971 for the purposes of the student weekly itd. The substantial majority of them have not yet been published.
Itd., first released in 1961, became very popular with the youth. In the early 1970s the magazine flourished: its editors increased the number of pages and put more emphasis on the development of the illustrated sections. At the time, the periodical brought together several talented photographers of the young generation, such as Krzysztof Barański, Wiesław Hudon, Anna Musiałówna, and Andrzej Polec. Their photographs – showing daily life and dealing with social issues – became a form of expression independent from text. Of course, the published photoreportages had to revolve around student life, but despite the interference of censorship, the authors enjoyed greater freedom in selecting their topics. They perceived their profession as a certain distinction. In one of the articles, Anna Musiałówna mentioned: ‘[…] We felt that we were the chosen ones who had a tool to observe reality up-close.’
This period was also important in Maciej Musiał’s biography: it coincided with the years of his youth, when he started a family and at the same time found himself at the very center of events with a camera in hand. Undoubtedly a difficult, but also highly creative period. He had just given up his studies at the Warsaw University of Technology and devoted himself entirely to photojournalism. His chosen profession enabled him to travel and meet people from cultural circles; with some, such as Wiesław Wałkuski and Jerzy Duda-Gracz, he established long-lasting friendships.
Itd. was the first periodical to publish Maciej Musiał’s works. The selection presented in the exhibition is just a symbolic sample of the photographer’s body of work, however, it serves as a perfect starting point for getting more familiar with his oeuvre. The photographs from the beginning of Musiał’s career prove him that he was a careful observer who ventured into the city and captured its unique scenes from everyday life; he searched for the ‘decisive moment.” He photographed students, their internships and spare time, as well as views of construction sites and industrialization. Simultaneously, he paid great attention to composition, light, and technical parameters. In his photographs, we can notice the influence of such photographers as Zofia Rydet and Marek Holzman, as well as inspirations from Magnum Photos and magazines such as Life and Świat [The World].
We invite you to join us for a curator-guided tour on July 14, 2022, at 6 p.m.
Maciej Musiał (1946-2000)
Photojournalist, author of technically difficult commercial photographs, studio photographs and several cover photo sessions, and specialist in the field of painting reproduction.
He spent his childhood in Suchedniów. His fascination with photography and technology started in the photo studio of his father, Marian Musiał. When he was 13 years old, he moved to Warsaw to pursue further education, and soon he graduated from the Marcin Kasprzak Radio Technical School. He then began studying at the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology at the Warsaw University of Technology, which he later abandoned for the sake of photojournalism.
In 1969, he started working for the weekly magazine itd. published by Młodzieżowa Agancja Wydawnicza [Youth Publishing House]. The magazine featured his reportages related to the students’ social life on a regular basis. In 1971–1987, he collaborated with the Polish Agency Interpress, working as a photojournalist for the western edition of the illustrated magazine Poland. In the monthly magazine, he presented topics from the areas of science, sports, and art. He portrayed such personalities as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jerzy Duda-Gracz, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alina Szapocznikow, and Andrzej Wajda. His assignments involved many trips, also abroad: to Bulgaria, France, Hungary, or to the former USSR. In the following years, when he got engaged in studio and commercial photography, he collaborated with editorial offices of magazines such as Wiedza i Życie [Knowledge and Life] and Ładny Dom [Beautiful Home], as well as with the company Polskie Zakłady Optyczne [Polish Optics Factory].
From 1976, he was an active member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers. In the early 1990s, he was appointed its director. He also conducted several photography workshops in collaboration with Irena Jarosińska.
Maciej Musiał’s work as a photojournalist in the 1970s resulted in his long friendships with people from cultural circles, but also in his participation in numerous contests and exhibitions. In the 1970s, he was awarded for the reportage ‘Moi kumple z Zabrza’ [‘My Buddies from Zabrze’] in the National Contest for Press Photography. He also took part in the following exhibitions: Press Photography in Kielce (1971), Press Photography for the 30 th Anniversary of the Polish People’s Republic (1974), A Woman (1975), We and Our Time (1975), Poland – the Country and Its People (1975), A Family (1978).
Archeology of Photography Foundation has been studying, developing, and working on the photographer’s archive since 2021.
Photographs by Maciej Musiał from 1969-1971
Curators: Kamila Kobus, Kate Smuraga
Collaboration: Anna Hornik, Ewa Jadacka, Marta Przybyło
Magazines research queries: Adrianna Grabowska, Maciej Łukian, Natalia Popławska, Zuzanna
Text editing and proofreading: Julia Odnous-Pawlińska
English translation: Aleksandra Szymczyk
Ukrainian translation: Dmytro Dmytruk
PR: Maja Sztenke (Steinke Communications)
Exhibition installation: Mateusz Wierzbicki (Willow Service)
Pre-press: Karol Bagiński / FOTO-GRAFIKA
Special thanks to: Jan Anderman, Anna Musiałówna, Maja Traskowska
The project co-financed by the City of Warsaw.
The exhibition co-financed by the Culture Promotion Fund of The Ministry of Culture, National Heritage.