Photo of the week: a vertigo-inducing view from above Poznań‘s smog

Photo of the week: a vertigo-inducing view from above Poznań's smog

10 February 2017

Our photo of the week by Polish photographer Jędrzej Franek shows a tower block in his home town Poznań from an incredible height.

The building in question is the Orła Białego estate: built in the 1990s and captured by the photographer from the kitchen window of his parents' flat in January. Franek has been co-ordinator of Poznań Design Days since 2014 but for the last seven years he has also been documenting the architecture and urban life around his city — a combined interest which he calls “archigrafia”.

“I'm a big enthusiast of mobile photography and videography (I started quite early, in 2008 with a Sony Ericsson phone). Probably, it was this passion for photography that drew my attention to matters of architecture, urban aesthetics and design,” he says.

When approached by The Calvert Journal, he confessed an unexpected secret about this particular image. “Sadly (or maybe not) this image is edited a bit,” Franek revealed. In reality Orła Białego estate is only 16 floors high. “By adding and thickening smog clouds I tried to emphasise the unresolved and neglected issues of huge air pollution in Poland,” he continues.

Does the fact that the photo was edited matter all that much? The photographer shared the photo on his Instagram during the week that heavy pollution engulfed much of Europe and cities were choked with winter smog, a phenomenon documented by many photographers at the time.

No stranger to photo manipulation, for one of Franek's past photo projects, Abstructures of Polish Modernism, the photographer created hypnotic and abstract patterns out of photographs of concrete tower blocks to reinforce their bizarre uniformity.

Though some of his photos deceive and confuse, he finds shooting architecture helps him really pay attention to what's going on around him. “By thinking about how life and my immediate surroundings will look in the photo I'm able to think more clearly. Framing certain aspects of the city, I can extract more details from the noisy, urban life experience.” However, he also adds, “what is maybe more important — by wandering and looking through the lens, I fell in love with Poznań.”

Check out more of Poznań's impressive skyline on Franek's Instagram.