The landscape of the eastern borderlands of Poland provided inspiration for Zofia Chometowska’s earliest photographs, it was there that the artist made her iconic and often-reproduced works such as “The Laundress”. This “exotic Poland”, as the author termed it, was a popular subject among the photographers of the interwar period, Chometowska however was perhaps the only one able to capture the diversity of themes and multiplicity of histories found in the region. Though the works do not make up a consistent series, a common theme binds them strongly, making it possible to present them jointly. All photographs were taken in the 1940s, in locations personally close to Chometowska – such as in the vicinity of Prochonsk (the family estate of the Drucki-Lubecki) or Dobroslawki (the estate of the Chometowski family).

People of Polesia

“I take a few pictures – luckily they didn’t notice that and didn’t manage to pull the triumphant gladiator’s faces” – these are the words in which Zofia Chomętowska described in 1936 her “camera hunts for people.” It was probably her exceptional skill of blending in with the community of the Polesians and eventually becoming an invisible observer that allowed her to create a series of extraordinary portraits and documentary shots of the Polesian countryside. Chomętowska was one of the very few photographers who watched the Polesians’ at work and at markets, and accompanied them during hunting and fishing, thus following their everyday footsteps.
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