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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 25, 2013
Exhibitions
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Life in the Shadow of Sugar Factories
April 25, 2013   
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Photographs by Tomasz Tomaszewski, an acclaimed Polish press photographer, are on display in the Sugar Town, Java, Indonesia exhibition at the Leica Gallery in Warsaw.

The exhibition is a follow-up to an international documentary project conducted by the renowned Noordenlicht foundation in the Netherlands. Noordenlicht asked Tomaszewski and five other photographers from different countries to compile a photographic report on sugar production in former Dutch colonies and countries with which the Netherlands used to have strong economic ties. Tomaszewski was tasked with documenting sugar factories on the Indonesian island of Java along with the everyday life of a “sugar town.”

Tomaszewski remembers how the assignment was like a journey into the past. “There I was standing among the steam machines and archaic tools which the Dutch had brought to Java a hundred years ago,” Tomaszewski says. “Many were broken. Workers at the factory walked barefoot and had no protective clothing on. But despite the chaos, scorching heat reaching 100 degrees and extreme humidity, production went on.”

Rather than just report how sugar is made in Indonesia, the 40 black-and-white photographs at the Leica Gallery tell the story of local people and their lives in the shadow of sugar factories. Tomaszewski composes his photographs as multi-layered scenes, each of which is a story in its own right.

Tomaszewski, 60, is a graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. He is a member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers (ZPAF), the Visum Archiv photo agency in Hamburg, the Image Collection agency in Washington, D.C., and the American Society of Magazine Photographers. He has published his work in major Polish magazines and some of the world’s most famous titles, including Stern, Paris Match, The New York Times, Time, Fortune and Vogue.

Leica Gallery of Contemporary Photography
Blue City shopping mall, level +1
179 Jerozolimskie Ave.
tel. 22 311-71-97
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