Marcin Konkel

Lviv - Kyiv

"Two men walking through a field." - from 'Through the express window' project.

The faster the trains go and the more we look into laptops, cell phones and tablets the less we see what's around us through the window. Sometimes we might miss on situations or moments that are interesting and tell us something more about the culture of a place were going through. I decided to validate this hypothesis with an experiment of shooting with a camera out of a speeding train when on route from Lviv to Kyiv. Contrary to the weather that day (beautiful, sunny, blue sky) the photographs were processed to black & white creating a rather sorrowful, slash, sad pictures. You can do anything nowadays, can't you? Still, experimenting in the digital darkroom and being reluctant at first, I pushed the boundaries and tried to discover something different in the shots I captured. The effects you can see below.

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"Portray them honestly but respectfully" - an interview with Michał Huniewicz (part 2)

For the second part of the interview (see also part one) I've met with Michał in Warsaw. Well, to be honest, it wasn't an interview per say as we had a really interesting talk while walking down the streets on a Sunday afternoon. The conversations were about different things related to traveling, photography but also building relationships with people and art. The outcome of it was something that I wanted Michał to share as well in our official talk here. Below you can read the outcome. Enjoy!

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Time flies differently here

LVIV / A woman with an umbrella strolling during the rainy weather next to a Lada car.Lada's are a frequent sight in Lviv. This Russian car is widely used yet giving space to more modern constructions. In general streets are not overrun by cars or public transport. It's fair to say that people mainly use their feet or public transport (eg. trams and marshrutkas).

Streets made of cobblestone, trams taken from another century and Lada's taken from Russia. These are not the only things you will notice when in Lviv, Ukraine. This not-so-small (over 700 000 inhabitants) yet kind of "cozy" city on the far West of the Ukraine is a charming place to visit. The decline of Hryvnia (country's currency) has made this city exceptionally affordable for the Western travellers yet also influencing a decline the Ukraine's economy. Lviv is a place that you will want to visit again and again and let me tell you why.

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Short: WAW - ARN

SWEDEN / Stockholm as seen from above.

Stockholm stands for what Swedish minimalist design is. The city, at times, looks like taken from an Ikea catalogue and I mean that in a good way. Starting with the street lamps to the favourite coffee houses of local inhabitants (like Espresso House or Wayne’s Coffee) - all seem to resemble the minimalism. Swedes also have a long lasting love for coffee (it's delicious) and are considered among the top nations in terms of consumption. See few of my other shots blow during a recent brief trip to the city.

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Warsaw's neon lights

They gain interest of the passerbys. They are old school and can be bent to resemble handwriting or almost any font or shape that you desire. They were once present in vast amounts especially in Warsaw which was a self-proclaimed "mecca" of this type of art. Since the change of system in Poland their disappearance started to be inevitable giving way to the new, cheaper, methods of advertising. The neons once forgotten are having their next honeymoon as more and more places appreciate them to lure potential customers or pay respect to the retro form that they resemble. Neons are back.

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"I'm not always humble!" - an interview with Michał Huniewicz (part 1)

NORTH KOREA / Inhabitants of Pyongyang commuting. Copyright (C) by Michał Huniewicz.

Michał Huniewicz is one of those Guys who don't go for mediocracy. He also does not settle for what lies on the surface but digs deeper, goes further. Having seen quite a bit of the world and shared hundreds of stories with his photographs either on his blog, exhibitions or media he certainly had a number of occasions to learn, fail and develop his craft and opinions. He is also one of the few people I met with a great talent to freeze the moment in the right time and in a compelling way that conveys emotions and makes you think. Michal is making it to the headline news all over the world as we speak with his North Korean photographs showing a different reality to this presented by the government in Pyongyang.

I decided to interview Michał from a bit different angle than is presented in the media. I was curious about his experiences, developing craft and the story behind his passion. One might see that as the story which led him to North Korea or as the way he looks and experiences things. Under the selected photographs from Michał's archive you may find some additional background in terms of the circumstances where the photograph was taken or the history behind the shot.

Where did he visit the red zone? Who does he find being the harshest critic? Where from does he take his inspirations? Where is "the Island" located? These, and many more, questions you will find answered in our interview. Note that this is the first part of a two part series. Without any further ado, let's start.

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A never-ending horizon

WARSAW | Palace of Culture and Science as seen from the 42nd floor of Cosmopolitan Twarda 4 in early evening.

There are these places that let you experience the world from hight above in the sky as if from a birds perspective. Although I've seen a few such places (most awe-inspiring being The Shard) they keep on mesmerising me with their endless horizon and illuminating city lights. The world seems so small and you atop of it all. For some it may inflate their ego and for others it may show the wonder of human thought, engineering and how we, as human beings, transform what's around us. Sometimes altering forever what we found in the first place.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of visiting the 42nd floor of a skyscraper Cosmopolitan Twarda 4 constructed in recent years (2014 to be exact) in Warsaw. The weather was just perfect and I couldn't imagine a better opportunity for the photo session I was to hold. Warm, sunny, blue sky with some clouds here and there. The building, for the time being, is the second highest construction in the capital and third in Poland (according to Wikipedia) being 160 meters high with 44 storeys. As the name suggests it's based on Twarda street. What it offers to it's inhabitants can be found on Tacit Investment website. Kudos to Ms Agnieszka for having me! 

Below you can see how the capital city of Poland looks like from over 150 meters above the ground.

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Short: Details

Often we see them for a blink of an eye thus not noticing the exact shape, feel, look of the intricacies. Always on the run or with a distracted focus we try to delve for details but if done too quickly they tend to not show up. It takes time and attention to discover the small things, yet the most interesting ones, that are in an object that we have seen dozens of times but didn't bother to stop and look, listen, touch. On one opener exhibition in Warsaw by Robert Kuśmirowski titled "graduation tower" (pl. tężnia) I've done such an experiment and you can see the outcome below.

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Spine of the South

The Overland Collective consists of six people. They call themselves adventurers first—photographers, filmmakers, and journalists exploring the world. Eric Hanson is one of them. He's done a beautiful video from his solo journey through Andean spine of South America starting from Ecuador to Patagonia in 2015. He used public transport and trekked taking few hundred thousand photos. The effects of his work you can admire below.

Mexico City

In 2010 Mexico City has done a video (by Mexico City Tourism Promotion Fund) that has it's premiere at the Mexican pavilion at Shanghai Expo. It shows the city during a 24 hours reminiscence enclosed in a close to 5 minutes video. It's an interesting glimpse of the street vibe and the architecture that the city is most proud of. See for yourself.