Michał Łuczak is a documentarian who concentrates on intimate stories and their immediate surroundings. He comes from Katowice and often refers to his roots. He graduated from the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava and Spanish studies at the University of Silesia.
Photographer, graduate of the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava.
Michał Łuczak debuted in 2003 with a series of pictures entitled Novitiate. This warm, humorous, subjective documentation of the life of a novitiate in the Discalced Carmelites convent in Czerna was awarded in the Newsreportaż contest organized by Newsweek. His first exhibition was organized in Górnośląskie Centrum Kultury (Cultural Centre of Upper Silesia) in Katowice.
My great grandparents lived in Nikiszowiec, my grandparents grew up there and, in the 1950s, my mother was born in an apartment on Odrowążów Street. Their memories were so interesting to me that I decided to dedicate two years of work to observing the everyday life of Nikiszowiec.
[An excerpt of the text accompanying the exhibition in Magiel Gallery in Katowice]
This series of photographs was created during his studies in Opava in the Czech Republic in 2006. This black and white reportage is a portrayal of a local community which moves between home, work, and church. Visual similarities to photographs by Christer Stromholm and Anders Petersen are easy to notice. The first display of these works took place in Magiel Gallery in Katowice.
Another series of photos connected to the place he came from was Młodzi górnicy / Young Miners, for which he was honoured in the Magnum Expression Award contest in 2009.
Twenty-dollar bill palace
In 2009 Łuczak worked in Chernomin, Ukraine, where he photographed the "White House": a rural residence inspired by the American president’s abode. A Polish aristocrat, Mikołaj Czarnomski, hired the Italian architect Francesco Buffo to create the palace. Construction was finished in 1820. For almost a century the palace was full of life, and in 1918 the Bolsheviks turned it into a Workers’ House. During World War II it became a German prison, and then an orphanage. Today it is a school, which became, along with the people working there, the protagonist of Łuczak’s story. The material was noticed in the Mio Photo Award contest organized by the Mio Museum in Osaka.
In 2010 Łuczak joined the documentary photographers collective Sputnik Photos. Their first project was IS(NOT). Together with the Icelandic writer Hermann Stefanson he told the story of the melancholy and isolation of the island. A book and a few exhibitions were the fruit of the collaboration between Polish photographers and Icelandic writers. The first display of their work took place in Klima Bocheńska Gallery in Warsaw. Andrzej Kramarz was responsible for editing the photographs, both in the book and for the exhibition.
In 2012 the collective worked in Warsaw. Their main subject was the Vistula river. Łuczak searched for a hidden world near the river.
In 2012, thanks to financing from the Młoda Polska programme organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the photographer published a book about the last months of the brutalist train station in Katowice. Black and white photos are a mixture of stories of people he met there and of the station, which was replaced by a new shopping mall.
The book had a circulation of 350 copies and was considered one of the best books published in 2012 by Photo-Eye magazine. The pictures, enriched by architectural projections of the station, were then displayed in a few galleries in Poland, such as Kordegarda in Warsaw and Ratusz Gallery in Zamość.
In 2008 and 2009 Michał Łuczak collaborated with Andrzej Kramarz on projects of the IMAGO MUNDI foundation: Stefania Gurdowa – Klisze przechowują się / Stefania Gurdowa - Negatives are to be Stored and Stefania Gurdowa – Czas niewinności / Stefania Gurdowa - The Time of Innocence. Apart from photography, Łuczak is also an educator. In 2010, together with Anna Sielska and Krzysztof Szewczyk, he founded the Image Culture Foundation (Fundacja Kultura Obrazu), which promotes documentary photography in Silesia. In 2011 he was a mentor in the Fotoprezentacje programme organized by the 'ę' Association of Creative Initiatives.
- 2014 -Brutal-retrospective – Czytelnia Sztuki, Gliwice
- 2013 - Brutal-retrospective – Nowa Gallery, Łódź
- 2013 - Brutal-retrospective – Kordegarda, Warsaw
- 2011 - Wiosna / Spring (with Michał Dąbrowski) – Nizio Gallery, Warszawa
- 2009 - Nikisz – RA Gallery Kiev, Ukraine
- 2009 - The White House – Pauza (Photography Month, ShowOFF), Kraków
- 2007 - Nikisz – Stara Fabryka Drutu, Gliwice
- 2007 - Nikisz – Łódź Art Center (Fotofestival), Łódź
- 2006 - Nikisz – Katowice History Museum, Nikiszowiec, Katowice
- 2003 - Nowicjat – Upper Silesia Cultural Centre, Katowice