Kraków snapper’s intimate photography aimed at raising awareness of men’s mental health issues
A photographer from Kraków is trying to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues through his stunning series of portraits.
Adam Mikołajczyk, who will turn 30 next week, has dedicated his entire professional life to the cause after setting up his personal studio to take photos of men.
He told TFN: “The idea behind my studio isn’t only to take pictures of guys but to make them feel better both physically and psychologically.
“Sometimes I feel a bit like a therapist and a friend to them, often after the photo shoot, once they publish these photos on social media they are starting to believe in themselves a little more.”
An exhibition he began in September 2019 entitled ‘Suffering’, which was then put on hold because of the pandemic, invited male attendees to write down, anonymously, what caused them to feel pain or to suffer and he was surprised by the diverse range of answers.
He said: “Some wrote about physical ailments, others about problems in their life with family or work but others wrote about the pain of regrets, of not doing something.
“There are many things that afflict men that they don’t feel they can discuss.”
In addition to his studio work, Mikołajczyk has been promoting and documenting Movember, an annual event where men grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, and an organisation called The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride.
Launched 10 years ago by Australian Mark Hawwa, ‘The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride’, unites classic bike and car enthusiasts across the globe while raising money for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health.
Mikołajczyk said: “In 2016 they finished their ride close to my studio and I went out to see what was going on and take a few snaps.
“I got talking to the organizers and since then I have supported the event and documented the rides.”
According to the statistics, every year in Poland more than 1,500 men suffer from testicular cancer, 15,000 from prostate cancer, and 85 percent of the 5,000 annual suicides are by men.
The photographer said: “We have a lot of knowledge about women’s health and cancers that mainly affect women but there is very little conversation about men’s health which makes it hard for guys to talk about it.
“I hope what I do makes it easier for them to talk about it or even think about it for the first time.”
Mikołajczyk says that with lockdown restrictions being lifted he will now look at the possibility of taking his ‘Suffering’ exhibition and its message back on the road.