Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chasing fog in London

These days is an exhibition of the photo project “Camden Interiors” in the Swiss Cottage Gallery in London, UK.

Now, a newspaper called “The Hampstead and Highgate Express” has published a story on the photo project “Camden Interiors” written by talented journalist Lucia Psenakova.

As an extra service to the fervent and loyal blog readers this story is published on this blog


Camden Interiors will take you back 38 years

Back in the 60s when Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski was a student highly fascinated by photography, he promised himself to never work for anybody else. He started creating his own independent pieces of photography soon after graduating in 1970.
It was only two years later when he received an interesting invitation from Camden Arts Centre to take part in the project called ´Photography into Art´. This was his chance to work towards changing the unflattering status of photography into an independent form of art. Until then photography was thought to be an applied art form and wasn´t taken very seriously, but Michel´s work from 1972 made a clear statement and put photographs into the same category as paintings and sculptures.
Soon after coming to London, the work on three different projects commenced. One of the projects named “Camden Interiors” featured the photographs of people living in Camden as well as the captions of their own self made creation, in this case - the living room.
Michel reflects: “The photo project ´Camden Interiors´ was a personal idea and proposed to the female Director of the Camden Arts Centre. She wanted, originally, to show work that was already made - sequences on the beaches of an island in the Netherlands. But it was unacceptable to function as an artist photographer like all the other artists at the time - to make art and show it later in a museum.“
Michel felt that museums were like “an ivory tower” and that it shouldn´t be that way, so his instant urge was to create the exhibition that would involve people and something that they created on their own.
“There was this strong need to want to connect as many people as possible to the museum,“ he says. Michel was convinced that people would be curious and want to see how their neighbours live.

After being faced with rejection, Michel and his assistant found 50 people willing to be photographed in their living rooms. Pictures that clearly reflect people´s style, background and financial situation, were mostly taken in front of the TV sets – since, according to the artist, TV was becoming a dominant factor in their lives.
When asked whether he can recall any memories from the 1972 project, he says: “Hardly anything is remembered from trying to find 50 locations of which the occupants agreed to have a picture taken. The job was done together with a young woman and it was very nice to work with her. But in the memory not one visit to any of the living rooms is remembered. Hey, it was 38 years ago.“
Now ´Camden Interiors´ from 1972 is back to make an impact on a new generation of audience. Swiss Cottage Gallery presents the exhibition, with 35 photographs of living rooms and their residents in Camden.
The public can see the displays of photographs any day from 22 October to 19 December 2010 and this time around, the exhibition doesn´t only play on our social curiosity, but also carries a deep historical message.
Looking at Michel´s work from a perspective of a today´s Londoner, his work ´Camden Interiors´ brings a unique insight into people´s lives 38 years ago.
Even though Michel went on to create other highly acclaimed pieces of photography, his humbleness as an artist is obvious. When complimented on his work, he politely answers: “I appreciate it tremendously when people are gripped by my work.”


When in London between October 22 and December 19, 2010, go and see this exhibition of the “Camden Interiors” in the Swiss Cottage Gallery on 88 Avenue Road.


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