This analytical comment on Wąbrzeźno, a small town in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, shows Poland before it joined the European Union.
Zieliński’s work is built around a clear concept: documenting the transformation of a small town, to which he is attached emotionally. Like a scientist focused on one topic, he has examined his home town from all angles, in a series of 64 colour photographs.
The photographer described his work as follows:
To me, this project implied confronting the present with the past, as well as the real world with our inner projections.
Zderzak Gallery, 2001
Zieliński rediscovers a world he knows so well, the town where he was born and raised. He captures its landscapes by trying to achieve an accurate reflection of reality and avoiding over-expressive forms. His approach favours what is depicted, rather than the way it is presented. This documentary style preserves traces of human activity on the margins of visibility, as well as details doomed to oblivion, enabling a thorough analysis of the image.
Zieliński’s unspectacular pictures encourage viewers to step outside of their perceptual routines based on identifying a subject. The photographer points the camera at his immediate surroundings, trying to see familiar objects in a new light and stripping them of automatic associations that often cloud our perception.
Taken between 2000 and 2003, these photographs provide additional context, since Hometown chronicles a small-town landscape before Poland joined the European Union.
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.