First Person Narratives
Kuba Dąbrowski describes his method of work as like creating a ‘first person document’. His website and blog, which he has maintained since 2005, can be regarded as a sort of ‘voice of his generation’. Like many of his peers, he grew up in a block of flats in a medium-sized city. After graduating from high school, he took up sociological studies in Cracow and then moved to the famous Institute of Creative Photography in Opawa.
His life was was made up of components typical for students: parties, travels, popular nightspots, meetings with friends and the like. He had moved to Warsaw by the end of his higher education and began standing on his own feet and starting a family. Photos from night-time hangouts dominate his blog’s entries from 2005-2008. Newer works feature his friends with their children in their own flats. In these spontaneously taken shots, the process of growing up with the resulting change in perspective is clearly visible.
For Kuba, photography is an activity as innate and obvious as eating or sleeping. His photos are therefore extremely natural. He documents his private life with great honesty, using only the simplest analogue pocket camera. His photos show scenes from the streets of various cities, views from windows, odds and ends laying on a table, corridors and interiors of unknown buildings, garbage on the pavement – nothing is irrelevant, everything merits a photograph.
Dąbrowski’s style is unpretentious, thanks to which the viewer does not feel like he is an intruder in the intimate world of the author. Nevertheless, everybody following the blog will be able to find out that Kuba likes basketball, skateboarding, that he is a keen music and cinema lover, that he used to live in Mokotów district of Warsaw and has spent two years in Milan, and finally that he has recently became a father.
What I think is that the quality of my blog and my everyday photos is strongly related to their being kept in a very ordinary aesthetic. They really tell something about the everyday, they somehow domesticate it – said Kuba Dąbrowski in the interview for Artlover magazine.
Fashion and Street Photographer
He makes his living doing commercial photography: portrait sessions, street fashion projects for colour magazines - four times a year he leaves to shoot global fashion weeks. Thus, on his blog ordinary photos are mixed with pictures of celebrities from all around the world.
Working on the Intersections
photo: Kuba Dąbrowski, courtesy of artist
Kuba Dąbrowski seems not to have lost any of his youthful style and approach to photography. Joanna Kinowska, curator of his first retrospective exhibition (open form February 1st to March 16 2014 at Zachęta National Gallery of Art) says:
He is one of the most recognizable photographers in Poland, and he is still considered as a representative of the young generation.
His ‘youthfulness’ does not come from his age but from his way of seeing the world and his attitude towards his own career. For example, for his exhibitions in Zachęta he came up with a handful of surprises and unexpected events which broke the aura of seriousness.
Yet, he does not consider himself an artist but he says that his photos, while hung on the galleries’ walls, look and impact the viewer in a totally new way. Similarly, he seems not to distinguish between his commercial and artistic works, ipso facto practicing ‘total photography’, where every photo is a product of photographer’s will to take it. This alone is enough for the work to be interesting, whether this will comes from an emotional high or a commercial order.
'Non Koneksja' a hip-hop squad from Białystok , photo: Kuba Dąbrowski / courtesy of author
Dąbrowski finds that documenting the surrounding world is the essence of being a photographer:
It appears to me that whether I take a photo of my girlfriend, of celebrities or when I shoot a fashion show I do exactly the same thing – he says for Posi+tive Magazine. Everytime I snap a photo I believe I make a gift for those who will live in 50 or 60 years.
For a few years, Kuba was a Przekrój columnist writing every weekl iconic or outstanding pictures and photographers.
http://accidentswillhappen.blogspot.com (his early blog from 2005-2009)
Author: Anna Cymer, January 2014
Translated by: WO, January 2014