Clear of People by Michal Iwanowski
/The books is being printed right now and will be available for shipping in March/
Michal Iwanowski’s photobook “Clear of People” retraces a journey, originally made in 1945 by the artist’s grandfather and uncle, through a politically charged and precarious landscape.
The 2,200 km fugitive odyssey began in Kaluga, Russia, where the two brothers had spent a year in a prisoner-of-war camp. Their daring escape was followed by a three month trek. Struggling against constant cold, hunger and exhaustion, they moved under the cover of the night, avoiding any contact with people. Driven by their longing to return home, and having escaped death on numerous occasions, they eventually made it to Wroclaw, Poland, where they were reunited with their family.
70 years later, Michal Iwanowski returned to Russia with a map and notes inherited from his uncle. He embarked on a similar journey, faithfully retracing every step, with a camera as his sole comrade. And just like Tolek and Wiktor had, he steered clear of people along the way.
It seems that in recent years the notion of the journey within landscape photography is more frequently focusing on personal rather than global stories, bringing to attention individual experiences and narratives that are otherwise often lost. I find this very refreshing.
Suddeutsche Zeitung – 2200 Kilometer in den Fußstapfen des Großvaters
WIRED – Retracing a 1,300-Mile Escape From a Soviet Gulag in WWII
The calvert journal – Footsteps of history interview by Anastasiia Fedorova
FK Magazine — Interview with Tom Mrazauskas and Michal Iwanowski
BBC News — Photographer recreates family’s escape from Gulag
Urbanautica — Michal Iwanowski. Clear of People
Bird in Flight (in Russian) — 2 200 000 шагов: Польский фотограф повторил путь деда, бежавшего из ГУЛАГа
WalesOnline — A photographer walked 1,360 miles from Russia to Poland retracing the steps of relatives who escaped from a prisoner of war camp
Darwin Magazine — Interview with photographer Michal Iwanowski
Michal Iwanowski (*1977) is a Cardiff-based photographer and a Ffotogallery tutor. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport, graduating in 2008. Iwanowski’s work explores the relationship between landscape and memory, looking for histories, individuals and traces about to fade. michaliwanowski.com
Tom Mrazauskas (*1980) is a Berlin-based book designer working since 2008. His works won several awards in international book design competitions and earned a special mention in Paris Photo / Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year Award 2014. mrazauskas.de