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'Everywhere I look, I’m being looked at'

Damian Chrobak

 

theprintspace gallery is proud to host ‘Everywhere I look, I’m being looked at‘, an exhibition by photographer, Damian Chrobak

Born in 1977 in Jastrzebie Zdroj, Poland, Damian Chrobak has been a member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers since 2010 and is a co-founder of Un-Posed – a street photography collective that has several leading artists of the genre.

The ‘Everywhere I look, I’m being looked at’ series is centred on consumerism and the idea that wanting, and spending, controls our lives. A selection of black and white photographs depict street situations that also feature advertisements, magazine covers, newspapers and billboards.

As well as showing everyday life in an urban environment, the photographs reflect how tightly visual media now surrounds us. The real, and metaphorical, eyes that watch passers-by in Chrobak’s photographs remind us about the influence of media and advertising in contemporary life.

Street photography itself is characterised by the artists’ skill and sensitivity in documenting insight into the aesthetic, psychological and sociological elements of the scenes recorded. Out of today’s non-stop visual stimulation, the photographer picks out seemingly insignificant moments in order to reveal their real importance.

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© Damian Chrobak

Tell us a bit about how you got started with street photography.

Interest in photography came to me out of interest in people. While living in Poland I discovered work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and his vision and ability to capture something bizarre and meaningful using camera, made me start looking for my vision in photography. I took a course in Academy of Photography in Warsaw and started constantly recording situations around me. Street became a place where I could record moments of everyday life.

What drives you to photograph in the streets?

People.

33720033 copy copy.jpg© Damian Chrobak

When did you first notice all these eyes staring back at you? Was it one particular moment or rising awareness?

I noticed it while I was going through my contact sheets, months after I actually shot those images. And after I realized I had at least five pictures with big eyes looking out from different advertisements it took my attention and I started noticing it everywhere in the city.

What is your view on advertising? Do you think that it is too pervasive or just a natural increase?

I think that advertising has a really big impact on todays’ society, and especially in big cities I notice how many visual ways there are to sell something or make society want it. People are aware of power of advertising and I do think it sometimes becomes too pervasive. After photographing this series for around 5 years I can see how much adverting there is on every corner of the city and you don’t even have to leave your house to do your shopping.

28080007 copy.jpg© Damian Chrobak

Your images draw attention to the everyday situations that we usually don’t notice. What is it about these everyday events that capture your attention?

Every street photographer has his or her point of view. I find that I am looking for simple moments, which communicate about everyday life of simple people. Whether it’s funny, ironic or intriguing moments, which I capture, I try to reflect on human condition, psychology and sociological aspects of everyday life.

What is your most memorable street encounter? Is there an image that has a bizarre/funny back story?

I couldn’t say that one image is more memorable than another. My photography is a lot about being invisible and capturing real, un-posed moments in the street, ideally without people noticing me, so a lot of the time people are unaware of my presence. The reason why I am taking images is because I notice something interesting or funny happening and I try to capture those things in the best possible angle for that situation.

What direction do you think that street photography will take in the future?

For me street photography or documentary photography is about being able to make a visual record of your time and with that show an interesting aspect of everyday life, which every time has, whether it was 50 years ago or today. So I think, as long as people will take pictures, street photography will go towards interesting and unexpected direction.

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IMG_0967 copy.jpg© Damian Chrobak

damianchrobak.com

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