As time goes by: Spell-binding photos bring forgotten past back to life

As one of the major documentary photographers of the 20th century, Paweł Pierściński’s work recorded both the architecture of a changing Poland as well as shots of gently rolling fields and locals going about their day-to-day business. mwk.com.pl

A photographer who spent decades documenting people and landscapes in his hometown of Kielce will now have his work showcased on a special online map.

Paweł Pierściński was one of the major Polish documentary photographers of the 20th century.

Over three years after his death, a selection of 2,500 photographs by Pierściński will be displayed on a new achive-map of his work.pierscinski.pl

Born in the city of Kielce, in south-central Poland, in 1938, he took to photography early, making his debut at an artistic photography exhibition in 1955, while he was still in his teens.

Over the course of his career, which spanned several decades, Pierściński became known for his photographs of Poland’s landscapes, which appeared in many books spanning travel, nature and history over the years.

Pierściński was a key representative of the Kielce School of Landscape Photography, a specific current in artistic photography documenting travel, nature and history in the region.mwk.com.pl

He travelled around his native Kielce region, and Poland more widely, with his camera, photographing urban and rural sites from various angles. He died in Kielce, his hometown, in 2017.

As one of the key representatives of the Kielce School of Landscape Photography, a specific current in artistic photography, Pierściński’s work included shots of gently rolling fields at different times of the year, whether in bloom or covered with snow.

Pierściński’s work included shots of gently rolling fields at different times of the year.mwk.com.pl

There are also tender shots of villages and people going about their day-to-day lives.

As his website puts it: “The landscapes of the Kielce region consist of seemingly tame, well-known elements, such as hills, gently outlined mountain ranges, gorges, belts of agricultural plots, outlines of buildings, grass meadows, rhythmic repetitive beds of plowed ground, dark patches of forest, and so on.”

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There are also tender shots of villages and people going about their day-to-day lives.mwk.com.pl

Now, over three years after his death, a selection of 2,500 photographs by Pierściński will be displayed on a new achive-map of his work.

The images will be digitised from negatives and slides.

A first group of photos will present Pierściński’s work in general, with a second showing the architecture of a changing Poland from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Born in the city of Kielce, in south-central Poland, in 1938, Paweł Pierściński became one of the major Polish documentary photographers of the 20th century.Piotr Polak/PAP

The photos will be displayed on an online map, enabling users to follow in the photographer’s footsteps on their screens.

The new archive will be available on Pierściński’s website from 30 November. Click here for more.