Ostblick: Wiktor Malinowski
Gute Geschichtenerzähler, so heißt es, nehmen es nicht so genau. Sie schmücken die Erzählung aus, ergänzen Details, die der Geschichte mehr Witz oder Tiefgang geben. Modefotografen können diese Art von Geschichtenerzählern sein, wenn sie Posen vorgeben und Menschen in Mode verkleiden, die sie zu jemand anderem machen. Wiktor Malinowski ist ein anderer Geschichtenerzähler, er ist ein Zeitdokumentar – er nimmt es genau. Seinen dokumentarischen Ansatz vereint der polnische Modefotograf mit einer visuellen Sprache, die seinen Werken eine verstecke Bedeutung gibt, sie erzählt eine Geschichte.
Der Ostblock war der jahrelange Gegenspieler zur westlichen Welt, auf der anderen Seite des eisernen Vorhangs. Durch die Linse unserer Ostfotografen werfen wir einen Blick auf ihre Heimatorte, alte Jugendzimmer und neue Idole, alles östlich der deutsch-polnischen Grenze – ein Ostblick.
Achtung Digital: Since the first issue of Achtung, we have looked to the east. We feel that should be done more often. What can the West learn from the East?
Wiktor Malinowski: Further east you go the more modest you get. Unequal redistribution of a global wealth keeps the east poor, but sexy. The East needs to be creative in order to produce the same message. It’s like with this famous car hire advertisement – we try harder.
AD: What is the first image that comes to your mind when you think about your country?
WM: A painting by Jan Matejko called Stańczyk. It shows the king’s famous court jester who sits in a room, alone and very concerned, when in the background we can see the nobles having a party. It’s still fresh and to me it reflects the problem of a very young and fragile Polish democracy.
AD: What is the biggest difference you notice when you travel from Eastern to Western Europe?
WM: I do appreciate eastern honesty in places where you can only get political correctness in the west. Just like I do appreciate western politeness in spaces where you get too many emotions in the east. The correlation between the logical and emotional is slightly different.
AD: What opportunities does your home country offer you in photography?
WM: From a side of photography that is chosen by my heart there is so much that is not yet spoken and so many amazing people that were not yet immortalized in a picture. All of that with an aesthetical clash of eastern and western influence in the background.
AD: If you had not become a photographer, what would you be now?
WM: Someone who would be able to experience a joy of living around people on a daily basis. Photography was and still is about the people to me. So, maybe a DJ?
AD: Which photographer from your home country inspires you the most?
WM: Łukasz Wierzbowski is a guy that you should know. He is an artist that sets some highly visible borders in his work, but at the same time is pushing the limits inside the limits. When you flip through his work you feel like experiencing the dream of a joyful life.
AD: Black and white or colour?
WM: Definitely colour!
AD: Your favorite place in your hometown?
WM: I was born in Kielce in Poland. The bus station is the coolest place there. It looks like UFO and was a starting point for all of my greatest adventures.
AD: Which posters used to hang on the walls of your teen bedroom?
WM: I would love to share an amazing story, but my room was fully covered in basketball posters (mostly Michael Jordan), which was (still is somehow) my biggest passion when I was a teenager. I thought that I would be a professional player until I injured my spine when I was 16.
AD: If your city would be a piece of clothing, what would it be?
WM: Warsaw could be an orthopedic brace. This city is in the guard of European values and gives the space for culture to evolve and compete. It makes Poland move in a good direction even if the present forces are trying to pull it back to the dark.
AD: During the Soviet Union, pictures had to be smuggled from East to West through “iron curtain”. Even though this curtain has long since fallen, how difficult is it for young creatives to cross these borders and to get international attention?
WM: Everything is possible in the Internet era. I do watch the success of Synchrodogs with the greatest pleasure. They are actually the perfect example: mimicking the Western photography is absolutely pointless. In order to get international attention, you need to produce an original body of work. Honesty is the tool. Western observers will only be interested in something that can’t already be seen around. In case of the other, social difficulties – I believe it is equally as hard for a newcomer to settle down, no matter if you come from Warsaw or some small German village. Your work and personality speak about you and you just need to try hard as you can.
AD: What do you want to move as a photographer abroad and in your homeland?
WM: I dream about a world where photography is telling the lies, only to provoke the observer’s brain to imagine rather than to show non-existing perfection and affecting the self-estimation of people around the world.