This is a photograph from an unusual guidebook to Wrocław, in which the authors have attempted to reveal places of importance for the blind.
The guide is the fruit of a two-year collaboration between artists and teachers from Wrocław’s Creative Arts Centre and the city’s blind residents. It catalogues 31 locations suggested by blind or partially sighted people. Each particular site was chosen for its memorable sounds, special ambience, or the recollections it evoked. One of the project’s participants was Paweł Bogdała, who mentioned a place he recalled from childhood:
The tram would stop before the points – at the lights perhaps – and wait. (…) I would be asleep with my head on my father’s shoulder and it often woke me up. From there, it was at least another six or seven stops to school, but I wouldn’t count them; I’d just keep on sleeping. I was eight or nine at the time.
Karol Krukowski’s task was to illustrate this story. He improvised while taking photographs, no longer verifying his shots through the viewfinder, in order to concentrate on the emotions the situation triggered in him. He stuck his camera out of the window and released the shutter. The result was a series of photographs, from which the artist selected the one above. Krukowski later recalled trying to convey that drowsy morning atmosphere and feeling of ‘I have to, even though I don’t want to’.
This book recounting the world of the blind contains photographs, text (also in Braille), and audio recordings. Its very form expresses its underlying idea of being open to dialogue. The authors have shown that a city can be described using a range of senses.
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.