Saturday, August 13

A Polish Sky

I was particularly happy with this photo, since it captures the looming, roasted Polish sky. Those who have lived in Poland for a while are familiar with it. It has its own emotional presence. Indeed, the Polish film director Krzysztof Kieslowski sought to capture the brooding, ominous, autumnal Polish sky so as to fit the mood of "A Short Film about Killing," but was forced to place a colored lens on the movie camera to achieve a consistent effect. Consistency was not a problem for me, but I can still boast that I managed the task without any alterations or special lenses.

The girl was unknown to me, and I never did speak to her, but the photo is one of many in which Polish citizens from all walks of life responded to the sight of my zoom lens and camera with what could only be called complicity or cooperation. A few of them also offered to buy my camera from me, too, and one of them actually made off with a tackle box full of virgin film that I had left unattended for a moment in a train compartment; but as long as they sensed that I was pointing my lens towards them, they tended to slow their movements and steady their gaze in my direction. In many places, it seems, the power of the camera begins when first the camera is simply seen.

Wroclaw, Poland, 1990. (14510)