After receiving a wide range of entries from 26 New East countries, the New East Photo Prize 2018 is back with a new set of 16 finalists, with projects exploring modern-day witchcraft, graduation albums, legendary cosmonauts, contested territories and more. We caught up with the photographers to find out what drives their work. The exhibition is on display until 2 December at Calvert 22 Foundation.
Shot across Poland, Romania and Finland, After Season focuses on holiday resorts at the end of the season, when the tourists have left and beaches and hotels lie empty. Taking the idea of leisure as his starting point, Adam Wilkoszarski is interested in how the organisation of today’s labour structures creates equally regimented blocks of free time, within which spaces such as these take on a new meaning. Abandoned at the end of each cycle, they seem suspended in time, with only the gentle yet palpable trace of memories of leisure, as they lie in wait for the next influx of visitors.
Where do you find inspiration for the themes of your projects?
I try and focus on the ordinary, on universal experiences. I am interested in what makes us recall things in a positive light, why we are nostalgic for certain events above others, and why happy memories are saved in a given way in our memory.
What do you think makes a compelling photo story?
I think that there is no one right answer, but I think it’s very important that the subject resonates with the author and the viewer, draws them in or allows them to identify with it. I like when it when a photo story engages me emotionally.
Pick one photograph from the project you submitted and tell us something we would have never known about it.
After Season was meant as a universal story about vacation memories. It does not refer to a specific location. The point was that there are hundreds of such places and they all look quite similar. However, this canteen in Mielno is the most recognisable location among my friends. The oilcloths with tulip patterns are seared into the memories of many Polish people.
How do you think Instagram is influencing photography?
Instagram is not the best place for photography. Users only devote a fraction of a second to a single image and there is no time spent thinking about the images. The function of the app leads to trends in photography instead of building its diversity. If you feel you enjoy social media, it’s a great tool that allows you to reach a wider audience. But I could live without it.
Was there a moment you ever regret taking a photo? How about a moment you didn’t take a photo but wish you had?
I don’t recall a situation where I regretted taking a picture, but there a plenty of good moments where I did not use my camera. Other times, I’m looking for excuses not to take a picture, so that I would not be forced out of my comfort zone.
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