This melancholy photograph by Patryk Karbowski is taken from his book about people seeking a better life in Warsaw.
In the picture, the warm afternoon sun is going down over railway lines and a section of platform. In the foreground, we see a couple embracing affectionately, in spite of all the people standing nearby. They are saying goodbye before the departure.
In Destination, Karbowski continues the social observations begun in his previous book, Halfway, which depicted an average-sized Polish town with its outdoor events, aqua park, and streets renovated thanks to European Union funding. His new book portrays people who decided to move to Warsaw from similar smaller towns.
The book contains numerous scenes from the lives that newcomers adopt after moving to the big city. He has photographed his subjects studying, at work, out walking with their children, and at home in their fitted kitchens. Karbowski ruptures the continuity with images of impermanence, e.g. dried-up flowers, a messy bathroom, a mugful of cigarette ends.
In her text to accompany the photographs, Marta Szarejko points out these blemishes – the nagging doubt that this new life is only temporary. She writes:
This photograph of a platform illustrates the transition between those two realities. It lasts exactly as long as the journey to Warsaw.
Originally written in Polish, translated by MB, Nov 2018
This text is part of the project Metaphors of Independence: Poland In 100 Photos.
To coincide with the centenary of Poland regaining its independence, we have created a selection of photographs that allow us to understand both yesterday and today. A hundred photographs but so much more. Find out more.