Our awakenings, shreds of dreams, not yet completely erased sense of another dimension of existence, and already in the reach of the eye – like a photograph – the dawn of the visible. The hardest thing is to photograph what is absent. But what does it mean absent? Is it that something is not here in a physical sense, or is it that it is inexpressible.
(Bogdan Konopka, 2012)
2022 marked the 10th anniversary of the first photographic workshop, organized by Bogdan Konopka in Beskid Niski mountains. It was one of his favorite places in Poland, to which he returned many times. Located not far from the place where he was born, it is a kind of symbol of Poland history from last centuries. Here Russian, Austrian, German and Polish armies clashed during the First and Second World Wars. Here Poles, Ukrainians, Lemkos and Jews lived together in the neighborhood. Roman and Greek catholic churches, Jewish synagogues were standing close to each other. Here, in 1947, the communists carried out ethnic cleansing, called the “Vistula” action, after which no one has lived in these areas till today.
The group of photographers who took part in this workshop was also exceptional – composed of non-accidental people for whom Bogdan Konopka was important. Not only as one of the most famous Polish photographers in the world, but also as a person – teacher, mentor, inspirer and friend.
Bogdan had a unique feature of attracting other people. At first, his students, with time many of them became his friends. 2012 workshop was the beginning of a series of workshops of this group, but also, and perhaps above all, the beginning of many important personal and creative adventures.
In 2021, 2 years after Bogdan’s death, we decided to meet again. In the same unique place. To remember this artist, so important for many of us, to honor his memory, but also to look at Beskid Niski again. To use our 10 years older, different sensitivity and 10 years better (hopefully!) skills, to recall the absent inhabitants and those places that so significantly, but also disappearingly, speak about the history of our country.