Michal Solarski

Hungarian Sea

The Hungarian Lake Balaton is the largest in Central Europe.

As Hungary is landlocked, the lake is often called the Hungarian Sea. From the 1960’s onwards, Balaton became a major destination for ordinary working Hungarians as well as for those from the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain, who were rewarded for their work in building socialism with a permit to travel across the border.

As we could not dream of traveling to Spain, Italy or Greece, Balaton was the closest and most achievable destination for ordinary Poles to see what’s out there. My family and I were among the lucky ones who could go and spend holidays in what appeared to us as a paradise. Equipped with government-issued food vouchers and some little amount of pocket money in local currency, we were heading South to a warm, colourful and pleasant place. For us, coming from sad, cold and almost monochromatically grey Poland it was like a window to the world.

Twenty-odd years later, going through the pages of my family album, I found only one photograph of Balaton. It was a blurry picture of me, my sister and my parents, that was taken somewhere on one of the lake’s piers. This snapshot was the only reminiscence of six subsequent summers spent by the lake.

The photographs below are my attempt to create what my parents failed to do. I try to see the world through the eyes of a little boy who used to holiday there with his parents and sister over twenty years ago. Strolling among ruins of the glamorous (back in the day) concrete villas of Castro, Brezhnev and Honecker, the memories start to flood back.

Balaton has hardly changed, it is almost exactly the same as when I left it. Perhaps a bit more rusty, but the atmosphere remained the same. Only now for me it is no longer a paradise. I have grown and changed.

‘Hungarian Sea’ is a part of the bigger body of work about the summer holiday resorts in post-communist countries. It will be continued in the region of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea.




Michal was born in Poland. After graduating from University, where he got a distinction for his studies, he decided to go to London to pursue his career as a photographer. After a few years doing odd jobs, he finally established himself as one.

He divides his professional career between advertising and documentary photography, traveling extensively between the UK and Eastern Europe, where he produces his documentary work. Most of it is strongly based on his own background and experiences.

He is the winner of 2012 Flash Forward UK, and his work has been published in GQ Magazine, The Mail on Sunday, and Finch’s Quarterly Review.


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Michal Solarski


57 thoughts on “Michal Solarski – Hungarian Sea”

  1. Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    Many (many) precedents for this kind of work – leisure and recreation as a viewing glass (or mirror) onto a society; in this case a former Soviet state. It’s nice work. Nice use of medium format. Gentle light on faded colors. It’s polite. I feel the nudge of the commercial into the documentary that describes the photographer’s bio. It feels a little easy – topically and visually. Sorbet between courses. Sweet but I’m still hungry.

  2. MICHAL – congrats for being published here on BURN!
    Although I’ve been to Hungary before, I’ve never made it to the Balaton… Thanks so much for taking me there, I love what I see, and I sure want to see more! All the best, D.

  3. Mark Power has a very interesting essay on the reconstructed photograph here: http://markpowerblog.com/

    Michal is in the company of Jeff Wall, Sally Man and Gregory Crewdson in the recreation of memory-moments, although his take has a longer timeline to either Wall or Crewdson, and is less staged than all three. He twists the approach uniquely and artfully; many of these moments are discovered rather than recreated. At first glance, that these are found moments as opposed to set-up, goes contrary to the reconstructed image. What the attempt here is, I think, is to repeat a memory, or to fill in for an untaken childhood photograph. It is not so much the form and composition that is re-realized, but the memory that is reconstructed.

  4. Wow, I love this work….and never tire of photographers (or writers or filmmakers or singers or, for that matter, barbers) who have a love of observation and more importantly, the silent moments and spaces that actually yield the more interesting observations, the pauses between the skip between musical change.

    I’m (no surprise) always confused by the observation ‘nothing new’, ‘seen it before’, ‘been there, done that’, ‘others have gone before along this well-tread path’, for in truth I find that reaction much more about the ennui of the reader/observer than the work itself. There is nothing new under the sun (and that cliche, like all cliches still holds weight) seems not only hilariously obvious but, more perniciously, patronizing. There is nothing thought of, reflected upon, spoke out, digested, observed, written over, photographed, detailed, sung out that has not been done already and yet, at least to me, strong work and strong storytelling and radiant insight still gets me, still seduces me, still makes me feverish for all the attendant details and moments that make this life, even through ache and hardship, so fucking magical and manic. Yes, many of these photographers refer to Dijkstra and to Mikhailov and to Soth and Massimo Vitali and a whole body of great NYC (done in b/w) that rang the stories out of Coney Island and Far Rockaway in the 1960’s and yet, within these pictures, what strikes me is the extraordinary, piercing moments of expression that stop by cold:

    the boy and his dog bubble-drop small against the largess of the abandoned theatre of the world, a brother and sister and play and the differene stitched so wide by the simple fact that he is an a bathing suit and she her evening gown, the two young kids (brother/sister again) as future parents who are not yet adults with their ‘child’ and carriage, she her face already a mother until one notices her beautifully small and stubby hands and the awkwardness with which she holds herself through the green terrycloth protection, he like all ‘father’ still a kid, that extraordinary bald young girl in the restaurant, her gaze the same as her mothers and yet much more intense and seemingly knowing, and the SF weirdness of all those maritans at play moments….

    and of course the gorgeous, empty spaces….

    it is strong and beautiful and rich work that, again for me, brings me to a place I’ve never been to (though of course I have been to a lake and a sea and place that often both connects and separates and in that double helix of things, in the end, blankets me with the beautiful uncommoness (in how it always gets reborn) of the power of the quotidian….

    i name this love

    beautiful and strong work.

    who knows, maybe i’m still a kid, and though I look at much much too much photography, i’m still never jaded and still always struck by the power of what others do….even if i’ve seen ‘it done before’ ….

    why continue to read book? why continue to look, why continue to continue at all if its already been done?…a pretty solipsistic approach it seems to me…

    congratulations Michal one strong and wonderful work


    p..s I too love the work of Power…he’s a med-format magician…and a pretty great guy in the flesh to share a beer with as well :))

  5. I enjoy these photographs a similar, I think, way to how the photographer experienced the sights in his childhood. Getting out of an oppressive place and going to somewhere that seemed like paradise, but in retrospect was far from being one of the tourist wonders of the world. I have no encyclopedic knowledge of photo history like many here, but this does not feel clichéd to me. Familiar, yes.

    As for seeing it as through the eyes of a little boy, it looks more like a sophisticated photographer’s eye to me. Most of the children in the photographs are looking at adults, usually one with a camera. Maybe it was different in a place like that back then, but in my experience at those little beach resorts, the kids spend as much time as they can looking at pretty much anything and everything except the adults. Like following the eyes of the kids in #6, I think if you put a camera on those kids’ heads, you’d end up with quite a different set of images.

  6. Powerful images. I think people need to slow down a bit and digest or perhaps just enjoy each image without racing through it all. I bet these look amazing as large prints. There’s a lot more going on in these images than meets the eye and probably a bit like daily life which some just go through in automatic mode or auto pilot. So just pull up the handbrake and begin by celebrating what a quiet and understated miracle life really is.

  7. why continue to read book? why continue to look, why continue to continue at all if its already been done?

    Why continue to pan for gold when most of what you sift through turns out to be ordinary rocks?

  8. Why continue to pan for gold when most of what you sift through turns out to be ordinary rocks?

    Just to be clear, that’s not a comment on this essay but on Bob’s lamentation regarding why we look at photographs. I like this work. There are a few gems.

  9. to make it clear, i was NOT lamenting looking at photographs (far from that) but I was lamenting that people complain about thinkings not being original new…my lamentation was rhetorical, etc…i never bore of reading, looking, ummm, living

    see my facebook post today, from DFW’s ‘infinite jest’ (Q.E.D.)

  10. I hardly ever comment on essays; but…. I love the lyrical quality of this essay. It allows plenty of room for me to “digest” and allows my imagination to picture the location in a quiet sort of way. I hope that all makes sense…

  11. because the sifting is the gold itself

    Well, that’s true if you are an enlightened being, but most people sifting for gold are looking for, you know, gold. As you know, I read the DFW quote, I even put a hold on the book at my local library as I’ve been meaning to read him for some time now, and I think photographers or anyone else would do well to heed his advice on concentration, but it doesn’t say anything about the topic at hand. Sure, I can see the argument that all things are equal, that a grain of sand is every bit as interesting as any photograph by Cartier-Bresson. But then we carry that forward and find that any photograph, any snapshot on Flikr, any instacrapped whatever on FaceBook, any washed up photo from a hurricane, is equal to any curated photo in a museum, a gallery, or a publication such as burn. So why bother to look at high end photography when any old thing will do? No, the DFW quote is about creating art, not viewing it.

    And again in the interests of being clear, I don’t mean to be contentious. I offer this conversation in the context of like minded individuals having a few beers and shooting the shit. Now if we move on to tequila shots and you start going on about Cormac McCarthy, I might have to kick your ass, but hopefully it won’t come to that.

  12. No profound statements from me.

    I like it.

    I almost always like it.

    Not quite, but almost.

    It evoked in me a past I do not have, but experienced, anyway.

  13. Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    There is much of the work of Simon Roberts here too, from We English in particular.

    Comments must certainly say as much about the commentator as the images say about the maker.

  14. I thought the DFW quote was great. I must find somewhere, although I’m not sure where another brilliant piece of writing by DFW about waiting in traffic jams and standing in queues at the local supermarket. The guy should of also tried photography…

  15. MW:

    Mike, no. One does not have to be an enlightened one to see the worth and value in sifting. for the record (to contextualize) that quote was from a chapter of observations one character (dfw) made while in a boarding house for addicts, so its not about creating art, but about the long lessons learned from being stuck in a govt run home for addicts (in which he spent several months after a breakdown in Amherst)….the lesson of that entire chapter is actually about undercovering through the hard work of both examining and reflecting…

    looking looking at anything, including pictures, even if hard work (looking for gold) is itself the reward….

    btw, looking at high-end photography and low-end (?) is the same for me….if you dont believe me, i cant convince you …

    but who cares about convincing….

    its the doing that matters :)

  16. ps. mw: an ass kicking is probably what i need, so i’ll through down the gauntlet ;))…i’ll bring up McCarthy over shots when i’m down in the city after Xmas :)))….promise to leave the gun, holster and spurs at the door…the hat remains on the lid though…

  17. MW and Bob B…

    Keep on with the conversation, stimulating stuff!
    BTW I’d love to hear Akaky chime in on DWF and McCarthy…

  18. MW

    ahhh, but us seeing a photo on Instagram that “might” be “as good as an HCB” for example is still missing something…it is not THERE…a piece of a puzzle that looks like it might be part of a WHOLE is still not the whole…you gotta get it there!!

    otherwise it does not exist…no more than a really brilliant thought at the end of the bar that might be “as brilliant” as David Foster Wallace….he got his thoughts on the page…DONE DEAL

    the putting together of a body of work consists of way more than a singular image “looking as good as” something you may have seen…any art class in any university has sketches by students that look remarkably “like” some of the masters…yes? conceptualizing first and realizing eventually the WHOLE is the nut of it….

    art is like friggin combat amigo….it is battle….

    within yourself and the scramble to get it DONE..no small task….

    all anyone ever knows is what is hanging on the walls or in the best books…a place in history is not about little pieces but about a work completely realized…and this realization takes a super human effort….those who wallow in the coulda shoulda woulda well just wallow….

    standing in the doorway of a museum or gallery or bookstore with an Instagram on your iPhone and screaming at the top of your lungs “look THIS is BETTER” gets you, well, nada….

    cheers, david

  19. MW

    do not despair ….please remember that some of the stuff even from this blog EXISTS…check out what is happening with Burn 01…stuff from HERE….same 02….03 will be the best of all…and for sure some of the writings from HERE are also on the printed page…and more to come…so shoot your ass off and write your ass off….

    i think this audience oftentimes forgets that Burn is read worldwide by some of the key people and minds in our craft….you might think you are writing to Paul or Bob or Jim etc…nope…Burn is even studied in some university classes at this point….as the entire publishing biz has crashed and what was is just “was” i think you might do well to consider yourself with a venue to be reckoned with….use it.

    anyone here on Burn who doesn’t realize this in the long run is indeed rarified air is blind….

    cheers, david

  20. David, I think you missed my point. I was just going all rhetorical on Bob’s ass with the grain of sand = Cartier Bresson stuff. Although I too can sometimes enjoy beautiful images that came about accidentally with no artistic intent behind them, for the most part I much prefer curated work. When I want to sift through a bunch of crappy images, I go out and shoot some myself. But honestly, it’s the finding gold part I enjoy far more than the sifting. Of course reasonable people may disagree.

    It’s “No Country for Old Men” that made me loathe McCarthy (though I didn’t hate the movie, especially Bardem’s performance). Gave him a second chance with “The Road.” Wasn’t horrible but still didn’t like it much. Someday will try another and probably change my mind.

  21. Hey, don’t worry. I’m far from despair. And burn’s been great for me. So much compelling international work, your insights, interacting with people here in comments and out in the real world, learning through writing; I hate to think where I’d be artistically without all that. Certainly not where I am. My comments probably hurt me in more ways than they help in the larger world. Nevertheless, I’m still at the point where I mainly just want to do good work. Of course in order to do good work, one has to recognize what good work is and the whole burn experience is very good for that.

    Sorry Michal, we’ve hijacked your thread. I hate it when that happens. I really do enjoy these photos. As someone with similar experiences, they resonate. But when I see that first picture, I just hope the hotel’s not constructed on an ancient Indian burial ground. You probably want to stay away from the caretaker.

  22. MW

    sorry if i missed your point..i often do!! i was i guess just keying off of you to make my own point, ha ha….probably because i just often get really tired of grumbling in general especially when it comes to what i see as the egalitarian nature of photography today…something i see as only positive….

    yea, Bardem’s underplayed performance was great..almost no lines for the actor…but the bowl haircut and the no eyes for eyes were just killer…so to speak.

    cheers, david

  23. “probably because i just often get really tired of grumbling in general especially when it comes to what i see as the egalitarian nature of photography today…something i see as only positive….”

    It is easier to see it as only positive if you are David Alan Harvey, because you made a name for yourself when it wasn’t as “egalitarian.” It’s easier to rise above the noise if you already stand on a mountain. Just saying.

  24. Jim…

    Considering David Alan Harvey has worked his butt off to give the younger generations a chance your comment sounds vey, very unfair. Anyway this new world of egalitarian photography is probably here to stay so we might as well embrace it and adapt to it.

  25. I’m not dissing Harvey. He has clearly used his name recognition to give access to young photographers. That’s a very good thing.

    If DAH were starting out today, would the world ever notice him? The question is purely academic. David and I got into this during a unique time. Photographers could be the equivalent of rock stars (and some were). Very different situation than today.

  26. Jim…

    OK I see your point.
    My take on our question is this…
    At the age of 20 I trained a whole summer with one of the Tour de France winners, the mindset was something amazing and this is something I also recognized in David when I met him. They are driven and I think this is common to all successful people. Begin by believing you’re lucky and think positive throughout the rest of your life and help and give back everything you can to the younger generation whether you’re a cyclist, photographer, writer musician, etc and etc.

  27. my person take on Harvey….(and yes, applicable to this current Photo Essay):

    even if he were nameless/fame-less, he’d be the same, shoot the same, act the same. I think most ‘famous’ (photogs/writers/barbers), do it just because its in their cut and pulpy heart and know no other way to life…so being a Magnum photographer has NOTHING to do with how David sees photography or the picture taking of others…it just gets his ass as strongly and as powerfully as beautiful women…ummm, something we have in common :)

    so, to wit, a story. I had NO fucking idea who David was before we met. I really rarely cared a wit about Magnum per se though I loved many of the photographers there. Still dont care that much, but i love many of the photographers there and have loving personal relationships and friends with a couple of them, the ‘draw’ of which the name ‘Magnum’ seems more of an issue with others than it does for me or our friendships. another photographer whom I know (Bruno) wrote about David’s Road Trip block just going live and so i checked it out and loved what he wrote and the attitude he had toward his students. I looked up his name, saw he was magnum, bout ‘divided soul’ and though, great stuff. 6 months or so later I met david initially through a comment at LS 5 years (6?) ago about women…we corresponded, talked, joked, argued (in the good meaning) and evenutally met…i never then, nor since, ‘related’ to him because he was on a ‘mountain’…and fact, it was always surreal to me that part…the way its hard for me to meet people who know about my own work (yup, i had a life in writing and photography before i discovered road trip and burn, etc)…and one thing i can tell u about David, it you get in away from the fucking crowds that surround him (that he both seems to love and loathe), he’s pretty fucking genuine guy…and i’ve had my fill of fakes and famous, including dealing with this nonsense my self….and i am a noneone (thankfully)…anyone that thinks that david would be anyone different, at least the real david, should re-evaluate….just ask his mother, btw…

    must run

  28. “If DAH were starting out today, would the world ever notice him? The question is purely academic.”

    Jim, you are right, the question is academic and there is no way to give an indisputable answer, but I think there is a very strong hint to be found in David’s original, boyhood family album. Scour Facebook, Flicker, etc. etc. and while you find many interesting things done by people of all ages, you will find very little that has the kind of visual, telling, depth that David’s childhood album does.

  29. “you will find very little that has the kind of visual, telling, depth that David’s childhood album does.”

    You typed that with a straight face? I think you’ve confused David the man with David the myth. Look, I’ve been a DAH fan for decades. But the whole “family drive” concept is as dead as least week’s news app. Seriously man, who is really going to care?

    Anyway, we’ve hijacked a thread and should let it go.

    One of the failings of this blog format is that there is no coherent structure, nor consistent place for general discussion. And it is getting more fragmented all the time.

  30. Just to be clear Jim, I did not refer to or even hint at the family drive concept. Yes, I did type it with a straight face. I first saw the Family Album quite some time ago, long before the latest drive was conceived, and that was my reaction at the time. It remains my reaction to that piece of early work today. It is not a reaction to any myth. It is a reaction to the photographs in the album. Period.

    You’re right about hijacking a thread and not having a consistent place to go for general discussion. Burn used to do a pretty good job about keeping such a thread going, but that has come undone.

  31. i appreciate the photos – enjoy them and wonder at how little has changed around the lake since i was there 20 years ago.
    well done michal – keep going.


    for sure family drive could fail…after all, i said so first! yes? it is a process and i have not yet found the key..it is a complex equation….if i cannot, i move on…i do not show work here as “gee whiz look what i can do” ..not at all and you know it…damn i have failed way more than succeeded for sure…my oh my…failure has plagued me forever…it sucks

    i had no clue i was a “myth”…funny…all seems pretty damned get out of bed and go take a picture to me!!

    nobody that i have ever heard of has ever done more than two or three great bodies of work in a lifetime i am sorry to say…but we all TRY to beat the impossible odds…and none of us knows for sure which body will be deemed special, if any….so we push on..however, i would bet (if i could) that the work of mine that you think is the “best” will not be considered so…i am guessing and only guessing that the very earliest and now the very last will be it..i think…dont know of course…

    yet, amigo you are dissing me…no problem really..we are here to speak our minds..i will defend you to the end…and of course i will take the high ground and not diss you back..actually i guess we are both indeed really easy targets for different reasons ..yes?

    however i waive my right to pull out the rhetorical sword…i will leave you alone..no point to doing otherwise.. Jim you are oftentimes just a bit of a sad character that’s all…i would wish for you to be a happier man with your own career/work..really do..i do not think anyone sees you in reality as writing about mine…

    cheers, david


    in my memory we have always had problems keeping the thread in its proper place…sometimes it just gets derailed..for sure part of this discussion belongs in Road Trips…my personal apologies to Michal for letting it slip here….yet discussion happens where it happens….not quite sure how this happened this time, but it did…it’s all good…it’s all about how photographers think and work…

    cheers, david

  34. MW

    Try reading “Blood Meridian” by McCarthy. His poetry saturates his prose. Violent as all get out, but terrific.

    Bob Black

    Thanks for shining the light.

    Michal Solarski

    I love it. I spent some time in Batumi Georgia, an old Soviet getaway as well. I like those places a lot.

  35. Wow, David, do you see yourself as a target? I certainly don’t see you that way.

    You have, by deliberate choice or not, made yourself a lab rat in the search for a panacea to disruptive change in photography. You have one foot firmly and securely in the past, and have put the other enthusiastically in the middle of rapid technological change (Burn, digital production and distribution, etc.). Whether you know where you are going; or, as you sometimes insist, you are simply stumbling around trying to find a way, I think a lot of photographers are watching you and cheering you on. While that shines a bright light on you, I don’t think it makes you are target. More a beacon.

    There is a danger in this search for a way forward, though, for photography. And that is to assume that technology is benign. That all we have to do is bend it to our wills, embrace it and make it dance for us like a sideshow chicken on a hot plate. Unfortunately, technology more often silently molds us to its will, and without empathy, keeps turning up the heat so we dance faster and faster. It serves no one but itself (and those who sell it).

    Neither those of us who remember the first televisions, nor those who remember only the first iPods; whose first camera was a Leica IIIc or first camera a Canon D30, have any better understanding of the ultimate consequences of a world molded by unrestrained technological change. But the conversation is still important. And Burn, and what DAH is doing, is at the center of that conversation. And I think it at least as important a subject for photographers as talk about pretty pictures.

    I’m also not convinced that revisiting the past shines much light into the future.


    oh yes for sure i am indeed a “lab rat” (smiling, love it) and for sure Jim i can’t remember “insisting” i had any idea where i am going….adventure and seeking a way by its very nature means the “end” is for sure not in sight!!! i think my bit is to simply suggest that we do indeed keep moving lest we freeze to death out here…. :)

    oh sure, i think all Magnum/NatGeo or any photog with any kind of icon attached often feels “targeted” from the bitterness from many who are just pissed off ..comes with the proverbial territory…it has always been thus…yet for me for sure even those two icons are icons of the past….i am looking for a new room to hang my hat…loved the old icons deeply, and yet for sure if i were a young photographer today, actually i feel like a young photographer today, i would be, and am, seeking totally new territory…

    unknown territory? ahhh yes yes!! …the only kind worthy of exploration now or ever..yet like any explorer, or wild animal, i try to see better, smell better, hear better..the senses are heightened when survival and/or discovery is at stake…this is the beauty not the beast…

    yet even in the hard economic times of today, some of those i have mentored who started here on Burn at about the time you started penning an oftentimes negative vibe, have already broken into the biz and are indeed getting published and earning a living…i.e Chris Bickford and Lance Rosenfield…and what about Michael Subotsky and Bieke Deporteer and Matt Eich etc etc and just look at the effect that Zoe Stauss has had on the city of Philadelphia…surely her work is way more effective in bringing about awareness than some of the nicely paid yet falsely anointed photographers whose names and work we cannot even remember..

    for sure Jim i agree with you totally about the nature of the conversation…and that is why i have invited you on several occasions to be on a panel discussion we will set up in Houston or Austin in the near future…you probably won’t come, but i wish you would….

    hey amigo, we might sell a whole lot of tickets to the Jim & Dave Show! i need the money….

    cheers, david

  37. though i’ve got little coin to my name at the moment after this year, i WOULD pay a pretty penny to watch the Jim & Dave show to chat and argue about photography….i dont mean this in any patronizing way at all…as much as jim’s comments (i suspect many to get folks goat) often annoy (when i’m in a down mood) or tickle (when i’m in a good perspective, happy mood), i think it would be lovely to see that chat happen…because it would be much realer (i supsect) than lots of the stuff i’ve been to or even had to speak at….


    oh yes yes..it would be a really good discussion i am sure…full of REALITY….and if we had you there too even better…

    i have too much on my plate right now to plan much of anything, but given just a wee bit of space/time to plan for sure we could have a Burn seminar to beat the band…dont you think? get this cast of characters together and it would be truly amazing….

    get Akaky to open the show and you to close it….oh my…

    let’s really think about this one….and NOW as your essay is about to really get a charge out of Jim and others we will have plenty of grist for the mill….

    i think i still owe you 40 bucks…to be paid in full if we can ever meet….or i send check?

    anyway always good to have you here Bob…this sand castle would not be the same without you…

    cheers, david

  39. Burn seminar in 2013 would be great :)))…will be there for you guys…as you know, i’m kind of more ‘free’ now…great to be hear amigo…

    just let me know, a seminar in nyc or south would be wonderful…bring my speaking voice and some, um, potables ;))

  40. “Unfortunately, technology more often silently molds us to its will, and without empathy, keeps turning up the heat so we dance faster and faster.” – Jim Powers

    I have to agree with this as a general statement. Nicely phrased too. The pace of change, technologically and environmentally, and consequently socially, is growing exponentially. Even planned obsolescence has been rendered obsolete in the face of this pace. Interesting time. Full of opportunity. But only if you try.


    you mean that the fact that i do not even think twice about the price of the iPhone 5 and buy it even though my 4 was just fine is a sign of me “dancing faster and faster”? so you think that if i lose my iPhone, which i do probably once a day, and causes the same basic symptoms of a heart attack, cold sweat, chest pain, etc has me caught in the tech whirl “without empathy”? wait a minute, where is that damn thing? had it right here a minute ago…


    cheers, david

  42. David :)) I think I am slowing down, buying less, working with bigger cameras and film, and will likely be left in the dust as unemployable. But this has always been my goal.

  43. MICHAL AND ALL! :))

    first, Congratulations Michal on being one of the Magenta Flash Forward awardees! I was at the opening/book launch last night and 3 of your photographs from this series were there! :))…They looked gorgeous…and were the first series that was shown at the entrace. They are also among the strongest of all the work shown in the exhibition/book! :))…So happy, and surprised, to see your work there after having seen it here and written about it a few days ago.

    those in toronto who wish to see how strong Michal’s pics are in the flesh, I highly recommend!


  44. Bob:

    Sorry I didn’t see you last night…you probably arrived fashionably late. I saw Michal’s series at the end of my tour (must have gone through the exhibit backwards), and I felt like telling everyone around me the BURN discussion about his work.

    Through all of that, there arose questions about the other images in the exhibit, and how far beyond me the photographers’ intent was. Ironic, because if you recall, it was the Magenta talk with Soth (2,3 years ago?)that began the inquiry for me between intent and delivery, and the awareness – if not the understanding – of such that was key to the viewer’s reception and perception. Michal’s artist statement here added to my reception of his work last night; not privy to the other’s may have lessened my appreciation. But that is not the point, is it?

    Further, since my current focus of inquiry is how the photograph is limited by the frame, and how the image can be compressed within or exploded beyond the rectangle, it was the images in the show dealing with the latter dynamic that took my time. There were two photographs that went that route and sang for me; Brett’s contribution to the book addressed it as well.

    All of this leads me to conclude that if it is of little concern to the artist that their intention is caught or lost on the viewer, it is equally of little concern to me as viewer if the work-at-hand addresses my aesthetic checklist. It’s a happy co-incidence in space/time when the two meet; maybe the good stuff, be it an essay or a single image, can bridge all the intentions and understanding of the artist and viewer at once.

  45. hey jeff! :))

    wow, sorry i missed you. Actually, i’m never late to anything, actually the opposite…:))…i was there from 6:00 pm — 7:30 (free wine prior to 7!!!!)…i looked at the book 2x’s (it is a great book, but am cash broke at the moment, as u can imagine)…gorgeous book, gorgeous production as always :))…yes, Michal’s series were a stand out…also, thrilled to see to of Zhe Chen’s pics…and the Award winner’s work was great…there were also some other (more art oriented stuff I like very much)..

    i agree completely…frankly I HATE HATE HATE group shows…and though i’ve participated in quite a few years ago, i never do it now…doesnt make sense…for the reasons you’ve sighted (about artist statements and intention being available) but even like last’s night show, they just look messy and actually uninteresting…a mess really, almost all group shows, unless the curator is doing something thematically or stylistically or something…this was just an award show and so, actually, iw as pretty bored…but yes, there was strong work and i wanted to see more…though the book, for a ‘group book’ is quite beautiful..never as good as a singular book….

    actually, i think most people who exhibit in group shows (at least once they mature as authors) actually do it for either 1) some kind of award thing or some gallery) or 2) just to show somethign…i dont thing they really care (i never did) if viewer’s like/get the work shown…because you at least need that dialog and fuller sequence…most of the stuff left me indifferent, but i also understand these are primarily ‘young’ photographers (though jenn ackerman was included)..andyes, i agree…as you will see soon ;))…i am also interested in the tension between what is in the frame and what lay outside…or also, destroying what is in the frame to such a point that it asks, what possible lay outside to have collapsed this,e tc….yea, i remember Alec’s talk (you should have her Jack Burman’s, the best talk of that show) 2 years ago…totally…

    time to catch up…:))..

    must run

  46. Pingback: Features and Essays | November 2012

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