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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 29, 2012
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Pictures That Kick You in the Face
November 29, 2012   
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The work of Polish photographer Władysław Sławny is on display at the History Meeting House in Warsaw. Sławny’s World: 1950s’ Warsaw, Poland and Europe in Photographs by Władysław Sławny is the first exhibition of his work to date.

Władysław Sławny (1907-1991), who headed the photographic department of the now-defunct ¦wiat magazine, made a major contribution to the emergence of photojournalism in postwar Poland. But his work has since largely been forgotten and his photographs have never been shown in an exhibition. Most pictures on display at the History Meeting House were taken in Warsaw, showing the life of officials and ordinary citizens in the 1950s.

Sławny took some of his most remarkable photographs while working at ¦wiat, especially between 1955 and 1957. The magazine was shut down in 1969 after its editor-in-chief Stefan Arski refused to publish anti-Semitic articles. The magazine’s archives were then lost without trace, apparently taken away in trucks and dumped.

“What was Sławny like? inconspicuous-looking—he mostly kept to himself,” said Katarzyna Madoń-Mitzner, the curator of the exhibition. “When he worked, he was adventurous and liked challenges. As a photographer, he was fascinated by monumental communist structures such as the MDM residential quarter in Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and the Nowa Huta district of Cracow... He climbed up scaffoldings and onto roofs to get panoramic shots and bird’s eye view photographs. He was a perfectionist in what he did. He was heard to say that a good picture had to draw your attention and ‘kick you in the face’ with its dynamics and unusual angle.”

Until March 31
History Meeting House; 20 Karowa St., Warsaw; Free admission
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