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77 lat temu rozpoczęła się zagłada Królewca

Dzisiejszej nocy (26-27 sierpnia) obchodziliśmy 77. rocznicę pierwszego z dwóch brytyjskich nalotów bombowych na #Królewiec. Drugi, trzy dni później, dopełnił dzieła zniszczenia centrum miasta, które na przestrzeni wieków tworzyli ludzie wielu etnosów, wyznań i światopoglądów.

Zagładę Knipawy, Lipnika i Startego Miasta obserwował Michael Wieck – Żyd, który cudem przeżył Szoah i późniejsze sowieckie rządy wojskowe. Zapraszam do lektury mojego najnowszego artykułu w portalu “Przegląd Bałtycki“: https://przegladbaltycki.pl/17641,sierpniowy-koszmar-krolewca-oczami-michaela-wiecka.html.

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Diane Arbus (1923-1971): celebrating diversity

She was born Diane Nemirov, the daughter of a Jewish couple that migrated to the United States of Russia. She started photographing already as a teenager at her parents’ request to help them advertise the shop she was running.

Source: flickr.com.

When she married Allan Arbus, her photographic career became more dynamic. They found a company and led the process of taking photos of models from scratch to finish. Diane played the role of an artistic director, coming up with concepts for sessions and helping models prepare. In mid-50s, she dropped this line of work to wander around the streets of New York, documenting marginalised people living on the outskirts of society.

Source: flickr.com.

She quickly became the ambassador of groups who ‘normal’ people would call freaks: LGBTQ+, strippers, nudists, people with physical impairments. By doing so, she sought to normalise their existence.

She was also a pioneer of using flashlight in daylight. Thanks to this trick, objects would be isolated from the background and their identity would be in the centre of the photograph.

She took her life 50 years ago at the age of 48. She suffered from depression.

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on ponarth at 35mmc.com

My article on Ponarth, a suburban area of pre-war Königsberg that retained its name and charm even after 1945 just got published at 35mmc.com. It’s one of the more prominent blogs about film photography established by Hamish Gill and run by analogue enthusiasts. The keep proving wrong those who say that film photography is dead. On the contrary – it’s alive and kicking!

Thanks to Hamish for making it possible!

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stillness of the early spring lakes

Spring in former West and East Prussia has been reluctant to come this year. Although the last days of March were promising, April brought only a handful of warm days. Not that’s unusual. It’s rather typical in this part of Europe. Polish geographer Stanisław Srokowski already in the interwar period noticed that on average merely 5 months can be considered warm on a vast territory stretching from the Drwęca river (Drewenz) to Paarnu in Estonia.

Thus, Prussian spring comes whenever it pleases. Some might think its unpredictability is unpleasant but I strongly oppose such thinking. There is much charm it brings along with its procrastinated arrival. Bright April sun casts lots of light onto the bare land. It opens up new possibilities to wander in forests, patiently waiting for high temperatures before they go green again. Lakes are still and, since it is usually windy these days, they offer a degree of freshness that can otherwise be experienced only on the seashore.

This is one of the first shots I took with a medium format camera. It was exactly two weeks ago on Easter Day. Others are still in the works, queuing uo for development, scanning and editing.

The picture shows an island on the Jeziorak Lake opposite the village of Siemiany (Schwalgendorf). The Jeziorak shores there are usually busy during the summer but now they are still peaceful and somewhat sleepy. The side that I photographed remains so throughout most of the season. There are fewer tourists there but you can still say it’s summer because the lake is crowded with yachts and boats.

That day, however, it was almost completely empty, providing comforting tranquility. Notice the schooling of clouds. That day they were travelling westwards, pushed by the wind which, although still cold, was fresh and springy, beaconing the upcoming change.

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Comemmorating Seweryn Pieniężny

Thanks to cooperation with newkaliningrad.ru and przegladbaltycki.pl web portals, I co-authored an article in Polish and Russian on Seweryn Pieniezny. He was a prominent figure of the Ermland (Warmia in Polish) province in the early 20th century and the interwar period. He fought for keeping the region’s identity and its strong ties with Polish language and culture. Pieniężny was arrested by German authorities on September 1st, 1939, and detained in the Hohenbruch labour/concentration camp. He was murdered there on February 24th, 1940.

The articles were published as a part of my work as Vice-Consul at Consulate General of Poland in Kaliningrad.
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[Polish-only] O Żeleznodorożnym w “Przeglądzie Bałtyckim”

W tym tygodniu zadebiutowałem na łamach portalu “Przegląd Bałtycki” tekstem poświęconym miejscowości Żeleznodorożnyj, przed którą od lat stoją poważne wyzwania rozwojowe: https://przegladbaltycki.pl/17084,kapitalne-gierdawy….

Czy tzw. remont kapitalny, stosunkowo nowy pomysł władz regionalnych, zwiększy atrakcyjność przedwojennych Gierdaw? Debiut ma również wymiar fotograficzny, ponieważ artykułowi towarzyszą zdjęcia mojego autorstwa. Dziękuję redakcji “PB” za współpracę!

Moje zdjęcia Żeleznodorożnego można również znaleźć na tej stronie internetowej.

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Videos about the Elbląg Canal available in Russian

The Elbląg Canal is perhaps the only artificial large inland waterway close to Kaliningrad Oblast. Created in 1840s-1860s, it allowed for transporting wood and other products from Upper Prussia to the Baltic Sea ports. Thanks to the Navicula Association we’ve prepared Russian translations of five promotional videos about the Canal so that an even greater number of Kaliningraders (and Russian speakers worldwide) can learn more about this wonderful piece of water engineering.

I hope to see you all onboard the ships once the pandemic is over!

In the meantime, take a look at the videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6uiq_NujDE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1CvJqSbpvQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFJojyRiK0o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1ntrnMHP_c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgsYtctG2XA

They’re also available in Polish, English and German!

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100 years of Polish consular presence in Königsberg/Kaliningrad

Last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Polish consular presence in Koenigsberg/Kaliningrad. On this occasion, together with my colleagues we worked on a small commemorating piece for Korolievskiye Vorota. The article got published in December 2020. Big thanks to everyone that helped this initiative come to life!

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in search of the sustainable darkroom

If you ever developed a roll of film, you probably did it in your apartment’s bathroom. You were carefully counting the time needed for every step of the ritual: development, stop bath, fixation and final wash. But do you remember what you did with all the chemicals you used? I bet you poured them (like most of us) into the sink, not giving it much thought.

Maybe, since you develop films only occasionally, such a small amount of lab fluids will do no one harm? But think broader: how many people do the same especially now when analogue photography popular again? I guess millions would be a considerable underestimation…

A northern England collective tries to address the impact chemicals used in photography have on the plant. If you want to know more about their endeavours, have a look at the article published at 35mmc.com : https://www.35mmc.com/17/01/2021/northern-sustainable-darkroom-helping-analogue-go-green-by-edd-carr/.