Panel "Czy fotografia jest lustrem?"

Panel "Is photography a mirror? On the history of photographic portraiture"
20.09.2023, 6.00 PM

This panel is a part of the Vintage Foto Festival 2023, see more below:

„Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego pochodzących z Funduszu Promocji Kultury”
As part of the panel accompanying the exhibition of Edward Hartwig's works, we will delve into one of the most significant themes in the history of photography: portraiture. The spectacular rise in the popularity of photography, which occurred a few decades after its invention, was a result of improved technology and shortened exposure times for photographs. This directly brought about new possibilities for portrait photography. A shorter exposure time also meant shorter posing time, making the process of taking photographs simpler, less demanding, and more comfortable. Over time, photography also became cheaper, hence more accessible and widespread. Once reserved for the wealthiest individuals, portraiture became democratized through photography, and the world saw a trend of portrait-taking and collecting images in various forms, from life-sized portraits to famous carte de visite cards or miniature photographs used as jewelry. Photographic portraits became a significant element, even a foundation, of mass culture. In the 19th century, through photographs, rulers, politicians, and even actors built their popularity. Their faces were captured on photographic plates and reproduced in thousands of copies as prints. Thus, a mass photographic iconosphere was created, which has been continuously densifying since then. Over decades and centuries, technology changed, but did our approach to photography change with it? What pivotal moments in the history of photographic portraiture do we know? What significance did photographic studios once hold in modern metropolises and smaller towns? These and other questions will be answered through a discussion about portrait photography with Dr. Katarzyna Gębarowska, Dr. Dominik Kuryłek, and Dr. Marika Kuźmicz.

Photo from the studio of Edward Hartwig, Portrait of the Unknown Woman, 1930s. XX c. (?)
(scan of the glass silver-galetin negative)


PhD Marika Kuźmicz

Art historian, curator, lecturer, Dean of the Faculty of Artistic Research and Curatorial Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, lecturer at Collegium Civitas, art researcher. President of the Arton Foundation (since 2011), an organization dedicated to archiving the works of artists from the 1970s, and the Edward Hartwig Foundation (since 2017). A two-time scholarship recipient of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN), recipient of the City of Warsaw scholarship. Author and editor of numerous books on art, including "Ludmiła Popiel Jerzy Fedorowicz" (2019), "Edward Hartwig. Fotografiki" (2019), "Jan Dobkowski" (2020), "Barbara Kozłowska" (2020), "Paweł Kwiek. Zrobić niemożliwe światło" (2021), "Tapta" (2021). Creator and coordinator of the website As part of the activities of the Susch Institute, she conducts long-term research on female artists from Central and Eastern Europe.

PhD Dominik Kuryłek

Art historian, curator. Author of a doctoral thesis titled "Nihilism in 20th-Century Polish Art," defended at the Jagiellonian University. He specializes in neo-avant-garde art and alternative artistic practices among creators from Central and Eastern Europe. For 11 years, he worked in the Department of Modern Polish Painting and Sculpture at the National Museum in Krakow, where he was a curator responsible for contemporary art. Currently, since 2019, he serves as the Head of the Photography and Photographic Techniques Department at the Museum of Photography in Krakow (MuFo). Since 2022, he has been the Chief Curator of MuFo, responsible for shaping collection policies, exhibition programs, and research strategies. He led the team that created MuFo's main exhibition, "Co robi zdjęcie?" ("What Does a Photo Do?").

PhD Katarzyna Gębarowska

Researcher of photographic history, curator of photographic exhibitions, book publisher. Author of a doctoral thesis titled "Called Herstories. Bydgoszcz's Female Pioneers of Professional Photography 1888-1945," defended at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 2013, president of the Fotografistka Foundation, which focuses on archiving local vernacular photographic resources. Since 2015, she has been the director of the Vintage Photo Festival, an International Festival of Analog Photography Enthusiasts. In her research and curatorial activities, she focuses on bringing back the memory of photographers whose achievements have been forgotten. Co-author of the books "Kobiety Fotonu" (2018) and "Zawód: fotografistka" (2019), the latter of which received an award in the PTWK Most Beautiful Books of the Year 2019 competition. Second prize winner in the social archives competition for the most interesting photo-related story organized in 2022 by the Center for Social Archives. She received scholarships from MKiDN, the Marshal of Kujawy-Pomerania Voivodeship, and the Mayor of Bydgoszcz. In 2023, she was awarded the Medal of the Mayor of Bydgoszcz for her exceptional contributions to the city.