header image
Home arrow Photography arrow 1959-1983
1959-1983 Print E-mail

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN PHOTOGRAPHS


1 WITH A FRIEND 1959 | 2 UNDER THE ZENIT UMBRELLA 1960 | 3-4 DECEMBER 1967 | 5 FUR HOOD 1967 | 6-8 AFTER THE ACCIDENT 1969 | 9 WITH MY PENTAX 1972

Early spring 1959 in Vienna, a painting lesson. A girl watches a sparrow on the windowsill. She has a box of watercolors and a glass of water in front of her, but no intention to work. She has always disliked painting, and she doesn’t understand German. She yawns to discourage the teacher, who has approached her with a powder compact. Seeing her own reflection in the small mirror, the girl realizes that she is supposed to paint herself. And she does, in a sort of dream.

I am that girl. The self-portrait, with which everything started, has remained my passion. Almost as long as I have been painting, I have also been photographing myself. In July 1959, before my departure for a summer camp, my father gave me a camera with an automatic shutter release. I still remember how I attached my camera to a bench and photographed myself and another girl, with vases on our heads. A small print of this photograph, retouched by me with white paint, is preserved in my mother’s collection of family pictures.

In 1967 progress was due to Helmut Kirchner who introduced me to the darkroom at Cambridge University. 1968 through 1975 I took hundreds of pictures of myself and the two of us with my new Azahi Pentax, using black-and-white and color slide film. At the end of the 70s I got my first Nikon, and lost it in 1983, when my New York flat was burgled. Friends bought me a Nikon FM2, and I am still using it.

I have never been a photographer of events. I plan my work in advance, imagine a setting for each picture or series, and keep looking for props. In front of the camera I feel as excited as an actress onstage. I exaggerate my gestures, movements and expressions, and expose myself in ways I never do in life. For a long time I wanted to make a visual diary just for myself and had no interest in exhibiting thousands of my photographs. However with age my perspective changed and at the end of the last century I decided to go public. In 2000 the first small selection of my Autobiography in Photographs was shown at the Artemis Gallery in Cracow.




1-4 WITH MY BROTHER & MY PAINTINGS IN WARSAW 1966 | 5 STRIPED SKIRT 1970 | 6 ON THE PHONE 1974 | 7-8 VIENNA 1974 | 9-10 IN WARSAW 1974 | 11-12 IN VIENNA 1976




FUR HAT, Vienna 1973, DRAPED & NAKED Vienna 1977


THE PAINTER IN LONDON 1976, STUTTGART IN THE MORNING 1978


HANDS, Vienna 1977, FACE & HAND, New York 1983


OUTLINING MY SHADOW IN VENICE 1977
header image