The Photographic Series Exploring Moments of Peace

Krakow-based photographer Pawel Franik re-brands loneliness as contemplative solitude in this recent photo-set, “On his Own”. His selection of quiet landscapes and neglected corners of urban sites provide a pensive backdrop for his cast of 1: each figure accompanied by no-one but their inner voice and the viewer from afar.

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His photographs portray the human being as a lone wolf, in search of solitude and roaming in a world that has – in this single time and single place – come to a standstill. The contrast of scale between the human being and the enormous proportions of the scenery generates a different contradiction, that between the feeling of insignificance and the feeling of liberation that this insignificance grants.

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“Photography is something special, it allows me to hold moments in my hand”, explains Pawel; he creates an atmosphere of estrangement and isolation, but not at the cost of casting a sorrowful shadow over the series. The resulting images are humble, distant, and are an aperture onto an intimate moment that creates the density of meaning that Pawel strives for in his work. We caught up with him to hear more.

The Plus Paper: How did you become a photographer?
Patel Franik:
I was already interested in art and painting when i was in elementary school. I often drew in my peers’ notebooks. Later on in high school I decided to choose an art major, and I fell in love with one form of expression: photography. I’ve been doing photography for 10 years and studying in the film school for 5 years. It is precisely for those 5 years that I was gradually discovering my own identity and the way I would like to express myself through my photography.

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TP: If you were not a photographer how else would you express this feeling of loneliness?
PF:
I would definitely express it in a visual way, so maybe as a movie? Or a painting? I wouldn’t be able to express it with my words or through music. I’ve always been a graphical thinker.

TP: What inspires you the most in your art?
PF:
People: there’s something inspiring in everybody. You can see that the person in my pictures is always far away, but this is exactly the way in which i wanted to isolate a person and draw attention to them.

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TP: What does loneliness mean to you?
PF:
The loneliness that I show in my pictures stands in contrast to what is now happening in my life. There’s always a lot of people around me, and I have the greatest girlfriend who is always with me and there for me.

TP: Is loneliness something to be avoided?
PF:
I don’t like loneliness, but I believe that everyone needs a moment for themselves to unwind and to be alone to reflect on their own personal matters.

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TP: Is loneliness something that you will continue to explore?
PF:
I think that there are going to be more positive feelings as my series develops.

TP: What is the next step for you?
PF:
I live in the moment. I just think of a good coffee and the time I can spend with my fiancée. :) I am thinking a lot about my future. I would like to have a job which could let me make my simple dreams come true.

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