Szymon Rogiński studied acting in the School on Wheels of the Derevo Theatre (Germany, Holland, 1997–1998) and photography in the College of Artistic Photography in Gdańsk (1997–1999). He has worked in the photography section of the National Museum in Gdańsk (1999–2000) and in the photography studio of popular daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza (2000–2004). He collaborates with the Photo-Shop agency, and his photographs have been published in Common & Senses, Vogue l'Hommes, Young Tree Press, Futu, Shots Directory, A4, Fluid, and Modern Painters.
Photographer. Born in Gdańsk. Lives and works in Warsaw.
Apart from press photography and fashion shoots, Rogiński also creates individual projects. In between 2003 and 2006 he realised a documentary series entitled Poland Synthesis, where he seems to be following in the footsteps of Polish landscape photographers. As Adam Mazur wrote:
In Rogiński’s photographs, the Poland of the transformation period is a dark, unsettling, sometimes grotesque country. Some shots are reminiscent of stills from horror movies and thrillers, but also tie into the hallucinatory aesthetic of computer games. Visionary night views show Poland from an amazing new angle.
However, these night photographs turned out not to be the end but the beginning of the photographer’s continuing search, in which he explored the territory between the Baltic Sea and the Tatry Mountains and the time between night and day. As Rogiński himself said, he sought inspiration from American photographers such as Ansel Adams and their photographs of the American landscape. During his travels around the United States he felt that:
Nowadays, it is really difficult to photograph something new and original. When I returned to Poland I felt really tempted to continue this series. I realized that all around me there is uncharted territory that has never been photographed. I started working on the project in extremely harsh conditions – autumn was turning into winter, so Poland was monochromatic, depressing, dirty and cold. My expeditions would each last up to a week. My assistant drove so that I could observe the scenery through the window during our journey. We always travelled at night. We would go to sleep at 8 a.m., still dawn in winter, and get up around 2 p.m., already dusk.
Nocturnes are an image of Poland, outside of big cities, viewed from the perspective of the road. The night gives these landscapes an uncanny, even metaphysical aura. Light from nearby street lights and neons plays a crucial part. Rogiński was simultaneously working on a series entitled Brightness (2004-2007), in which all photos are taken at dawn. His urban photographs of Warsaw or other distant mega-cities like Tokyo or Shanghai are done in the same spirit.
The best-known and most frequently exhibited series by Rogiński is his UFO Project (2007), presenting night landscapes obscurely lit by characteristic points of light. The artist photographs places that are surrounded by the legends of supposed UFO landings. A mysterious aura is introduced by well-chosen frames but also predominantly by the use of artificial light. We don’t know what its source is: a car headlight, a strong flashlight, or maybe it really is an unidentified flying object? It is unclear where the light is coming from in the middle of a field during a foggy dawn. Some photographs become even more mysterious due to their long exposure time – the stars in the sky transform into streaks of light. According to Mazur, Project UFO:
...is a declaration on the theme of faith in a reality different from that which can be perceived by the intellect. These landscapes are mystical and the spirituality (rather than the sensitivity) to which they answer is a modern one. The emptiness of the field visited by the Strangers (the Other) testifies to the event which we do not have the chance to follow through to the moment at which – paradoxically – we do not believe in the event. In other words, if one does not want to, one will not see anything.
In fashion photography Rogiński introduced an innovation in the form of 'photographic sculptures'. Szymon Roginski and photographer Kasia Korzeniecka collaborated on this assortment of photograph sculptures for the launch of Ania Kuczynska’s 2009 spring/summer collection. First there was a photo shoot with models in a natural landscape, then the artists printed the photographs, folded them into three-dimensional shapes, and re-assembled these shapes back together to create an image. The final arrangement was then photographed once again.
Author: Karol Sienkiewicz, December 2010, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska, September 2015.
The artist’s website: www.szymonroginski.com.
Selected solo exhibitions:
- Landscapes - TR, Warsaw
- UFO Project - Galeria Biała, Lublin
- UFO Project - Artist House, Jerusalem (Israel)
- UFO Project - 20th Photo Biennale, Saloniki (Greece)
- UFO Project - galeria appendix 2, Warsaw
Selected group exhibitions:
- Zasiedzenie - Galeria Arsenał, Poznań
- Young Polish Art – Polish Embassy, Tokyo (Japan)
- Revenge on Realism. The Fictitious Moment in Current Polish Art - Krinziger - Projekte Gallery, Vienna (Austria)
- Nowi dokumentaliści - Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, Warszawa i Galeria Narodowa, Bratislava (Slovakia)
- The End My Friend - Spielhaus Morrisson Gallery, Berlin
- Antyfotografie - Galeria Miejska Arsenał, Poznań (podczas Biennale Fotografii)
- Efekt czerwonych oczu - Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw
- Urbanity. Twenty Years Later - Prague, Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Vienna
- Temps d'Images - Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw
- Take a Look at Me Now - Sainsbury Art Center, Norwich, UK