Poland

Natalia Poniatowska

npaphotography.com

Biography

Natalia Poniastowska (b. 1993) was born in Bytom, Poland and is currently based in Warsaw. She graduated from Fine Art Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. She grew up in the industrial realm of the Silesian region in the Southern part of Poland. Natalia displayed her works in various locations (Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh), 12 Star Gallery (London), ARCHIP (Prague), House For An Art Lovers – (Glasgow), Orms (Cape Town), Pingyao (China), and more. She received the British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Award 2017, DEBUTS 2018, WENA 2012, Grand Press Photo 2018 and she was selected as one of 15 best graduates in creative fields by It’s Nice That in 2018.

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Portfolio

I Have Nothing from Lviv

During the Second World War Jadwiga and her parents were forced to resettle from Lviv to the unknown. She was 5 years old when they got on the train and left their home. They couldn’t take any belongings and had to leave everything behind. For the past 40 years Jadwiga - my grandma was busy with paperwork, meeting lawyers, going to the court.... I understood the seriousness and emotions involved in this case in June 2018 when she received a final rejection letter - she was claiming to recover the property which is her family house in Ukraine. I know she always hoped about moving back to Lviv and this rejection made her disappointed. This summer we travelled to Ukraine for the first time since she left as a child and the project is an outcome of all the emotions my grandma experienced with the homecoming.

By examining my personal relation to the issue of longing, home, identity and migration I aim to challenge today’s notions of those topics. I also believe that by following my grandmother’s steps in connection with a place that once was her home– I can find some common grounds in the issues that we face in today’s world.

There were around 100,000 Poles who were moved away from their homes in Lviv and they were not warmly welcomed in Poland. I’m interested in how the role of migration in the previous generations can shape and put light on the issues we are facing now, especially in times when the negative stance towards the mass migrations can be observed.

Portfolio

Moments I Never Showed You

For many years of being a natural picture maker and taking photographs of whatever caught my attention, I’ve noticed that people became a part of the landscape I create. Observing, sitting, relaxing. The images place the figure in surroundings that complement simultaneously two conditions – being and looking. This project focuses on my observations but also raises wider questions about photography as a medium and the act of observation itself. It is an attempt to look at my practice and question my selection of images in which unexpected connections and conversations can occur between images.

The body of work includes an animated scan of 35mm black and white negative. As some images remind me of either smell, sound or movement, I wanted to bring this photograph back to life by moving selected still elements.

This project has been shot in several countries, mostly outdoors and shows places I don’t belong to and people I have never got to meet, and as such, it is a departure from previous work that had nostalgia, homesickness and belongs at its heart. This project accepts personal and visual encounters that speak of a connection that is grounded in the photographic composition and as such is a pause in the flow of time: fleeting. These images propose questions and allow me to evoke the conditions that occurred during the moment of taking the picture again. (2018)

Portfolio

What if we can see more

What if we can see more is my investigation into the notion of the absence of light and colour. The process that occurs when our vision adapts to the darkness was interesting for me when I was a child, especially when falling asleep and it still makes me curious every time I work in the darkroom.

The interaction between my works and the viewer – who is trying to decode the meaning of the pictures is something that fascinates me. When one needs time to see. When the eyes are adapting to the blackness when you start seeing more and more of the shapes on the photograph. When exhibiting project in Grace and Clark Fyfe Gallery in Glasgow, visitors who entered a bright white cube could only see black rectangles, but when they came closer, spend some time looking, they could see and experience the familiar feeling to when lying in the bed in the night and looking around.

“The Case of the Colour-blind Painter” by Oliver Sacks had a big influence on my approach to the concept of darkness, colour and the vision. (2016)