Patryk Karbowski– The New Poles

Karbowski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1989 and graduated from the Leon Schiller National Higher School in Łódź, mastering in photography. His main interest is within documentary photography, which he uses to present the real world that is surrounding him, in a social way. He feels more connected with his work emotionally when doing documentary as he’s following the subjects around for a long period of time, creating a bond or growing the one that was already there. He has been given many awards for his outstanding documentary work for example Photolucida Critical Mass, Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship and New York Photo Festival. He has also been exhibited at various festivals in Poland and abroad, which has allowed him to grow as a photographer reaching out to new people. He currently works as a lecturer at the Academy of Photography in Warsaw but still likes to document the parts of his life he wants the world to see.

The series ‘The New Poles’ is a body of work documenting middle class teenagers in Poland who were born and brought up following the demise of them Communist Regime. He followed around some of the youths (aged around 10-15) in Poland and took a series of environmental portraits showing the impact the Communist Regime had on them. The social aspect of his work shows when he tries to represent a certain class of the age group in a specific location.

The majority of his portrait images with models look as if they are candid, so the person seems oblivious to the camera. In my opinion, this makes a good image as it’s relaxed and there is no pressure on the subject, but it does put some pressure on the photographer as he needs to make sure the framing and settings within the camera is right before there is any movement that might ruin the shot. He makes sure not all of his images have people in, as he is documenting what he sees he takes images of the parts of his day that may be overlooked, like the shot of the computer with the objects on the desk tells the viewer a lot about that one person even without seeing their face. So including close ups with environmental detial like this can really bring the character of the model/subject to life as you see a bit more of who they are. His images are all in colour as that’s what he sees, if he were to edit them to black and white it would take away some of the personality of the image it would make them less real in a way. The colours he seems to capture have a low saturation so in most of the images there is nothing too bold that stands out in the image, distracting the viewer’s eye. You can tell he’s thought a lot about the framing, thinking about rule of thirds and/replace by or the symmetry of the image, which makes it more aesthetically pleasing. Some of his images are inside but he has used the windows of the location to his advantage allowing them to light the shot without creating harsh shadows on the models. Having the windows means he won’t get an orange tint to the images that would come from artificial light, the outside light will keep everything bright a white. When he shoots inside but with no/ little natural light he makes sure the most important parts of the images are illuminated so there is no need to completely light the room. The viewpoint for his images are taking at eyelevel so we see what he sees , there’s not really any difference with the levels/ angles but this works for the projects are he’s showing the social life through his eyes. He does change the depth of field between his images, focusing on what he feels is most important in the shot or focusing on what he in his mind is what stands out the most. His style is very unique and personal which makes it stand out as his work, which I feel, is important to do as photography.

I like that you can’t see the subjects full face in some of the images but can see other parts of the body, leaving the viewer wondering what type of person they may be. He takes such a personal approach as he uses the depth of field to focus on what he himself sees clearer than the rest of the shot, allowing us to see exactly what he sees. I really like how he has a mixture of candid images of his friends and the some images of what else he sees that tells us more about the location and person, as it allows us to get to know the people better and feel as if we are Karbowski. I want to take inspiration from his images to help develop my images for my social documentary, I’m going to think a lot about the lighting and framing of my images as well as taking some of my images from my point of view. I want to show everyone how I live my life and what I see but where he only takes the images from his viewpoint I want to include different levels, angles and interesting cropping onto small details that say a lot about the model. Having Karbowski’s work to reference to while shooting for this project will remind me what the basic ideas are within social documentary and that will help me to not go off track.



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