Series of photographs capturing loneliness and melancholy.
Series of photographs about my loneliness as a human being and as a photographer.
Series of photographs about loneliness of others – an approach to understanding it.
I’m interested in people who moved to Bieszczady Mountain range in the 50'-80', and who stayed there to live alone amid mountains and valleys. Each one of them came to Bieszczady for different reasons and no one came back to where he or she came from. I aim to understand their ways of getting there and their reasons, for I am utterly mesmerized and allured by the non-conformism of the lives they live.
What do You know about fear?
In the town there’s only booze. Booze and whores.
Whores lie and booze gets you a headache. I know no fear.
You have to be alone, if you want to get somewhere, achieve something.
Completely alone – only then appears the strength, the desire and the fear vanish
- Marek Hłasko, Baza ludzi umarłych
Bieszczady is the southeast corner of Poland. The Second World War for this area did not finish in 1945. As a result of mass migrations due to setting new borders, many people were forced to leave their homes. The estimated number of Ukrainian citizens living in that region of Poland before the end of War was 5 million, whereas after the War the number dropped to 700 000. Abandoned villages, houses and synagogues were burned down, devastated and desecrated. Five centuries of Polish-Ukrainian-Jewish history were destroyed in less than six years.
This underlies the legend of Bieszczady as the land of freedom – no-man’s-land, a perfect destination for those who seek asylum. They gave a promise of a life in the wilderness, isolation from civilisation, state, and police. Bieszczady became a new home for refugees, runaways, outsiders and outcasts who among the mountains decided to meet their new selves.
The people are characterized by great authenticity and in their reality there’s no place for misconceptions or lies. They decided to give up their previous lives and escaped into solitude of the mountains. What they share is the motif of resignation, being given up on or letting someone go. They’ve chosen to live alone and so they found their freedom. Their freedom has hands that are weathered and worn out, tired and red form hard work. The rhythm of their days is different form the one of the cities. These mountains call for strength and determination. The people I’ve chosen to photograph live secluded lives; surrounded by hill, often without running water or electricity. In these mountains the faith in God gives way to the faith in Nature. In these mountains there is no place for the fear of God, only the respect for the Nature.
What is loneliness? What consequences does it have for the ones who leave their lives behind? Why people consciously choose loneliness?
Julia Kristeva said that writing about melancholy bears sense only to those who know how writing can be - derived from pure seclusion. Who is ravaged by melancholy seeks the state of loneliness that costs no more than everything. As a photographer, I strive to capture the nothingness of the solitude found in melancholy.