Amateur snapper captures life during lockdown – and now his pics are in Vogue
A Wrocław photographer has been documenting life under lockdown with shots of people in his neighbourhood as they self-isolate on their balconies.
With non-essential workers being encouraged to work from home and to practice social distancing, in Poland lockdown restrictions have been in place since mid-March.
In the city of Wrocław, lawyer-by-day Maciej Przemyk goes out after work to capture a glimpse of life under lockdown with his portraits of local people.
Focusing on the residents of his neighbourhood, Popowice, in western Wrocław, Przemyk got the idea in March while he and his partner were on their daily walk in their neighbourhood.
Standing outside, they got chatting to friends who were standing on their balcony.
He said: “I found that they looked interesting – it is so unusual that we are standing downstairs and they are upstairs, because usually we would go for a walk with them and their dog. I took one picture; I liked it visually. I didn’t know that it would continue.”
Later, he took another photo outside a friend’s window while lending him a computer part and the project was born.
A post on a neighbourhood Facebook group generated an enthusiastic response, with many residents willing to have their portrait taken.
Przemyk took his photographs of local people – standing alone, in pairs or as a family – from a safe distance, often standing on the street several floors below them.
“Some residents hardly saw me because I was standing downstairs and they were dazzled by the flash. Only later, I sent photos and they could see how they came out,” he said.
The portraits were taken with flash because Przemyk went out after work, but he likes the specific aesthetic they create, combined with the housing blocks of Popowice.
“Of course, the passage of time or thermo-modernization have done their job, but the colours and lines have gained a greater contrast, they create a coherent climate,” he said, referring to the mood in the photographs.
Przemyk has been sharing the photographs on his Instagram page and is still encouraging people to take part in his project.
For safety reasons linked to the coronavirus epidemic, and to keep the project small and local, he will stick to people his own neighbourhood.
He is giving the people he photographs a copy of the shot afterwards as a “souvenir and symbol of strange times” – which no-one expected to live in, he adds.