This picture of a Polish family sitting around a dinner table was taken after the tragic death of the photographer’s younger brother.
Dobrucka began working on the I Like You, I Like You a Lot series in 2008. Initially, her work was documentary in nature, capturing moments of grief, and scenes at the morgue and the funeral. Back then, the camera was protecting her from her helplessness. As time passed, she admitted:
It was easier to face reality through the viewfinder than to be an ordinary observer.
As the work progressed, Dobrucka changed her approach – she began to seek signs of her brother’s presence, visit places he had been to, and meet his friends, with whom he used to shoot ASG replica guns.
The London-based photographer returned to her native Kowary with a medium-format camera borrowed from a friend. Since she had never used one before, she wondered whether the photographs would live up to her expectations. Her efforts resulted in a series of images that are strikingly raw.
In an interview for Culture.pl, Dobrucka admitted that she understands Poland better than India or England, where she has also photographed projects, and added:
In other places, I didn’t have access to the things and locations that I have here, which is why my Polish works are so powerful.
While working on this personal topic, Dobrucka managed to capture the complex emotions of the family, small-town realities, and the military fascinations of a boy growing up there. In the text accompanying the photographs, the artist highlighted the way American customs had been adopted uncritically by the first post-communist generation. For the London-based photographer, working on a post-mortem photographic series was also a chance to document changes in the Polish identity.
Originally written in Polish, translated by AG, edited by MB, Dec 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.