“The people living in darkness have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned”. 

Matthew 4:16 Isaiah 9:1,2

"You know, I am asking questions;

I challenge both myself and the viewer with my photography I like to think. Those matters are complicated and beyond our full understanding. I barely know any answers myself I am thinking sometimes. I know some- the older I get the more I know I had a feeling… paradoxically, the older I get the more I question things. I feel more comfortable asking questions rather than giving answers- that could sum up this work.

 

So yeah, I ask questions to myself and to all who see my pictures. There was a time in my life when I got into the habit of thinking about death daily. What death is for you; what death is for me? What will happen when the most important person in your life dies one day? Or even what will happen to this person…you know…after (?) Maybe it’s for good? Is there a point to fear death? I tend to analyze the subject of death from different angles. There is a lot to consider and it can be approached in many ways. Over recent years I build up this fascination with a kind of comfortable unconsciousness of death matters. That’s why I did  “Immortals”.

P.K.

                When working on the 1st picture of “Let’s Talk about Life & Death Darling” I had Ingmar Bergman, one of my masters, in mind.  Watching his “Seventh Seal” was a primary inspiration and a starting point of bringing this series to life. How to picture Death? Bergman’s way of doing that pushed me to search for my own response. It started as a fiction fed on my fascinations and fears. The project developed from fiction towards photographing the darker part of reality around me when Death knocked on the doors of my own home. Death stepped into my fictional stories and ruled the last two pictures of the series and opened chapter “Post Mortem Home Visits”. I thought that I was doing a project about the fear of death in general when starting. The events which took place in my home in mid-2017 changed what the project means for me though.

5 portraits from “Let’s Talk about Life & Death Darling” were shot in churches on a medium format film camera and are titled “Woman in the Church No.1” with numbers 0-4.

Caption for “Post Mortem Home Visits“ is as follows: ”It's January 2018. Just after first Christmas without him. Around 7 months after his death”. 

                “Immortals” is inspired by the theme of a Baby Jesus Sleeping developed in iconography during the 17th century. The counterpoint between the beginning and the end of life was then bound together with the theme of Vanitas. The sleep of the infant Jesus symbolized the sleep of death and prefigured his future death and martyrdom. My approach is a reference to both a future death as well as the state of being unconscious to mortality issues in the early years of childhood. Their sleep is a symbol of their unawareness. I was photographing toddlers at the age when they start to understand what life is about, yet feeling immortal thanks to the comfortable unfamiliarity with mortal matters- I find this phenomenon fascinating.

                “Death No.1” depicts flowers leftover on graves, captured relatively soon after funeral ceremonies.

Thinking of time and its destructive powers was a starting point of working on this project. I created a series of photographs exploring symbols of flowers in a direct context of a Human Death. The fragility of life and passing time can be easily observed when having a flower as an object. I decided to photograph this object in a particular set of circumstances related to Death. Some photographs of this series were taken after it rained- water is one of the life symbols. This series explores my fascinations with “never”, “forever” and “always”. Observing the consequences of "time" fascinates me.

                 “Paradise Lost No.1” is about the time which has passed and can’t be retrieved, time which is gone forever. It’s about a lost childhood. The key detail on the first picture of a triptych is a fly on a boy’s finger. A fly might be read as a symbol of mortality. Project is inspired by the character of the boy from The Mirror, movie by Andrei Tarkovsky. My focus when watching a movie was drawn into the character of a boy representing memories of childhood. This project is a fiction revisiting my own childhood and comes out of nostalgia over what is gone and lost forever.

 

 

General Statement:

My work is about Life and Death. I am fascinated by both.

What is always behind the image is a thought. Thoughts behind my photographs are my fascinations, fears and concerns related to existence and its ending. I use photography to record these. I am interested in Memento mori theme in visual art.

Thinking of Time and its destructive powers is what drives my practice and shapes my ideas. I explore the notions of “never”, “forever” and “always”. Those matters are complicated and beyond our full understanding. I barely know any answers myself. I feel more comfortable asking questions rather than giving answers.

 

I work on a medium format film camera.

 

A few older pictures of mine can be found on The Dots. I am present on Instagram mostly:

 

https://the-dots.com/users/piotr-karpinski-86402

https://www.instagram.com/karpinski_pi/   @karpinski_pi

https://www.facebook.com/piotrkarpinskiphotography/

 

karpinskipk.pk@gmail.com

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