The settling snow reminds me of powdered sugar on a burnt cake. Or a wave wiping out all the traces, objects and constructions left behind by people and other creatures. It turns up and disappears. For a short moment it erases all visible traces of life from the Earth’s surface. Since time immemorial – again and again.
Shortly after a snowfall, when clouds are not gone yet, the world doesn’t belong to people. It doesn’t belong to anybody. It’s formed by a different order and rhythm. When I fly above this no man’s land, I feel as if I am watching an unknown planet. I can’t spot any signs of life, yet I can sense someone’s presence. I am looking around for some evidence.
When I fly above this no man’s land, I feel as if I am watching an unknown planet.
“Hello? Is anybody out there?”
Imagine people abandoned Earth. When did we leave and where to? Why? What has remained and how long will it last?
I started working on OVER, my latest project, during the winter of 2015/16. It’s a visual record documenting my lone aerial journeys above Polish landscapes. It also coincides with the 20th anniversary of my airborne adventures as a pilot and photographer on paraglide or gyroplanes.
Furthermore, OVER marks the next step following ten years of my duty in pure documentary and visual journalism, during which I was documenting the human impact on nature from above. Editorials were the method of sharing my observations.
Hidden behind the camera with my own opinions and emotions, I was looking at exposed and seemingly red-handed humans. I tried my best to keep the photographs as neutral and objective as possible.
When I started flying for OVER, I felt useless and burnt-out as a photographer, even though I love photographing so much. I fly in the most severe conditions, over remote areas. In the air I seek loneliness. I gave myself permission to reject the previous method. I followed my vision, intuition and feelings and it felt like a kind of trance or meditation.
After seeing the final visual effect in spring, I asked myself “why am I doing this?” I knew that I needed time and reflection. Deep, quiet, subconscious questions gradually came to my mind. “Is the result worth the risk and effort? What will remain after my death? What is really important here and now? Why?”
Why am I doing this?
What will remain after my death? What is really important here and now? Why?
In August 2016, I went to Landskrona Festival in Sweden for a portfolio review. During that festival many more questions arose. The project is on-going and it’s solely dedicated to space and time. OVER will be presented in exhibitions, as well as in a book, together with a comprehensive text describing 20 years of my flying adventure.
I’m experiencing catharsis.
Over and out.