12 November 2012

Uganda: 'What the World Has Never Seen' Photo Project Comes to Kampala

The Dutch photographic artist, Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski, alongside his producer Vanya Pieters are in Kampala to interest Ugandans participate in a global photo project dubbed 'What The World Has Never Seen.'

The project which so far has gone to the cities of Istanbul, New York, Bangkok, Jerusalem, and Moscow will go to one other city across five continents asking willing participants to showcase anything to the project what nobody has never seen before.

People with surprising answers are then supposed to be documented. The results will be published in an exclusive limited edition luxury photo book available to self-selecting people in the world in 2013.

Krzyzanowski was on Nov. 10 presenting his project to over 100 Art students inside the Art Gallery at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts in Makerere University.

"We are in Kampala trying to see if we can find people who can show what no one else has ever seen," he said.

"In photography, people always photograph what people see. But this is about secrets, things they don't tell anybody else about," before adding that the project is also about privacy and intimacy.

Although it was supposed to be a presentation of his current project which started in 2011, he ended up presenting other projects he has worked on over the last four decades.

Born in The Netherlands in 1949 to Polish parents, Krzyzanowski said he will always be grateful to his father who was so instrumental in identifying and nurturing his talent in photography at an early age.

He explained to the students that he chose to become an Autonomous Photographer as opposed to an Applied Photographer (photographers who always do what they are asked) so he could explore more of his talent without any prohibition. From the age of six he has been taking pictures and after graduating from Art School in The Netherlands, he chose autonomous photography because he likes doing what he wants--a passion which has enabled him travel all over the world.

Krzyzanowski who has dealt with various genres of his trade including sequences, vista series, the PS (photo shop) series and many other photo projects advised students to use photography in different ways to explore their talents.

"I only work basing on my own ideas, initiative and creativity. When you are an autonomous photographer, you have to run your own work like a business man," he said.

"To turn into a successful autonomous photographer, one must give up everything in life including the little comforts of life; your photography must be of high quality, original, provoking and intriguing and then do vigorous marketing by creating a range of networks."

He tipped the Makerere students to exploit the good side of internet noting that there is so much contemporary students can find by just sitting behind a computer. But he also cautioned them to be patient if they want to succeed.

"You have to be prepared for disappointments... Of the ten times you will try to sell your work, nine out of the ten times you will be disappointed but never be disappointed," he said.

Some of Krzyzanowski's illustrious photographic projects were showcased including the 'Henry Project'--a photo project that has chronicled the life and times of a Dutch woman from when she started working at the age of 16 in 1977, got married in 1983, had children, divorced, remarried, got children, with some dying along the way. Henry's life in pictures is punctuated with love, heart break, happiness, sadness, joy and misfortune.

She is 52 today, lives with her unusually large family, with an alcoholic husband, two of his children are autistic and she recently had her hip replaced yet Krzyzanowski continues to chronicle her life's journey through photography. He says Henry has since become one of the most photographed ordinary women around the world.

Krzyzanowski's other important projects include the 'World of Little Heroes'--a comparative project where he spent two months following the lives of two 12 year old handicapped girls living in Canada and Bangladesh--one living in the first world and the other in a third world country-- two children with the same life situation yet their lives could never be the same because of what the opportunities in their respective worlds present.

The 'most beautiful people in the world' is another of his projects which he worked on between 2004-2010. He used the project to research on the concept of beauty. In this project one can see various people describe themselves as being beautiful justifying their answers with all sorts of reasons.

This particular project took him to 20 countries including Iran, USA, Brazil, France, Mexico, Poland, Spain and China.

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