Portfolio: Maciej Grzybowski
Maciej Grzybowski, a photographer from Poland, does not photograph military conflicts on principle, because he thinks that real problems are revealed only when the shooting stops and journalists and photographers go back to their offices.
Photographer, videographer, director. Lives in Warsaw. Has exhibited his works in Poland and Georgia. Published his works in Life Force and Vieworld magazines.
I started photographing when I was 16, in second grade of Art High School in Warsaw. Before High School I was more interested in painting and sculpture. However, when you are a teenager, it’s hard to stay in the same place all the time. I wanted to do something outside — and buying a camera was a great excuse for it.
I was photographing my friends, family, and places I have visited. I simply wanted to register my everyday life. It gave me this feeling that everything that was happening was much stronger and deeper.
I earn money by working as a cameraman. It may sound strange, but this gives me freedom, because if I was taking photographs for money, people would tell me what or how to do it. Thanks to my other job, the photographs I take are only mine.
Also, my work gives me the possibility to travel a lot. In the last few years, I have seen a big part of a world, and now I know that I don’t have to be in Bombay or another distant country to take a good photograph. After all these journeys, I have found the best subjects for photographs in the place where I was born.
There are many photographers who are important to me, such as Sebastiao Salgado, Paolo Pellegrin, and James Nachtwey. Recently, I have been meeting very often with Witold Krasowski, a Polish photographer. His album of photographs from Poland, Powidoki z Polski, is one of the most important albums to me.
I don’t photograph war conflicts. I have been always interested in what is happening after the war. When all the reporters and photographers leave, you can see what the real problem is. This is the reason why I went to Sarajevo so many times. If you are close enough to ordinary people, you get to know their country.
In photography, I’m not searching for anything. Photography is for me a way to a deeper and stronger feeling for what is happening around me. I’m not really thinking about why I chose photography, it is just a way of expression that fits me the most.
Currently, the most important essay that I did is about a place where I was born, the town of Otwock in Poland. It tells the stories of people whom I have known since my childhood. It’s about their problems, partners, children, divorces, about their happiness, but also about how they lose and reclaim hope.
I don’t remember having any problems with people whom I photographed. I had never done it secretly.
The hardest part in photography is to stop considering. Sometimes after one or two seconds you have nothing to photograph. Another challenge is not to think schematically, to be always open to people and to what the reality brings.