Born in Poland and living in Paris, Bogdan Konopka is a travel photographer. From Europe to China, Konopka has been taking photographs of cities he visits or lives. Whatever if the subjects are a fragment of nature, an urban tissue or an interior, Konopka’s images are immediately recognisable at the first glance.
There are no dramatic events in Konopka’s photographs, his camera does not catch any ‘decisive moments’. The fragments of reality of almost still life quality emerge from a dark background.
Using large format or pinhole cameras, Konopka pays close attention to the quality of his photographs. His hand-made small prints are mostly contact prints with the same size as the original negative achieve perfection.
In the last fifteen years, Konopka’s works have been exhibited worldwide. His series The Invisible City brought him an international acclaim after its exhibition at Centre Pompidou in 2003, while another series, Paris in grey won him the European Photography Award, Grand Prix de la ville de Vevey, in 1998.
Born in 1953 in Poland, Konopka began taking photographs in the mid 1970s, first pointing the lens of his camera at the city where he lived and which had been, for the most part, destroyed in the World War 2; the city with double identity: Breslau – Wrocław. What interested him the most was the zone of shadows, both in the sense of its common place meaning, as well as the nature of photography itself. However, due to the unfavorable political climate of that time, those photographs were not meant to see the light of day for many years to come. Konopka continued to take photographs of cities where he came to live. First, it was Angers, later – Paris. The cycle The Invisible City brought him an international acclaim after the exhibition at the festival in Arles in 1994, while another cycle, Paris in grey won him the European Photography Award, Grand Prix de la ville de Vevey, in 1998. At that time, Bogdan Konopka decided to return to Central Europe and embark upon a journey to seven countries of the former Eastern Bloc, which resulted in the cycle entitled Reconnaissance, in which the artist attempted to settle account with the fallen empire. Next, he travelled to China on five separate occasions, in an attempt to capture the centuries old greyness of existence, now slowly disappearing. Konopka’s favourite subjects are photographs of the urban tissue and landscape, although he also deals with portraits. The best known portion of his oeuvre includes junctures from large-format 4×5 and 8×10-inch negatives, although the artist also uses medium or even small format cameras. In the last fifteen years, Konopka’s works could be seen in a number of countries. His grey, poetic, somewhat surreal miniatures are saturated with personal emotions and semi mystical energies, making their author recognizable immediately upon the first viewing.