We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Do You agree?

History of workers’ photography in Poland (1918-1939)

The aim of the project is to find out how workers’ photography in Poland was created and what its features were. The term “worker photography” in this case does not mean the general iconography of workers and industrial work. In today’s research, it is primarily a photograph taken by the international movement of communist and socialist photographers – both working-class amateurs and professionals from other classes – who documented the lives of workers in the 1920s and 1930s. These are also the photographic practices of workers, which were not organized top-down by political parties. These included taking photos for the use of family albums, exchanging photos or using media illustrated with photos.

I am going to investigate the history of the “First Workers’ Photography Exhibition”, held in Lviv in 1936, as a joint venture of socialist, communist and peasant activists. I will also conduct research on the activities of Aleksander Minorski, a communist photographer who worked in Warsaw in the 1930s. The next part of the research will be devoted to workers’ photography created mainly in the private sphere. Therefore, I will conduct a query in the digital repository “Photographs of 19th and 20th century workers” created at the University of Lodz. To outline the context and explain why workers’ photography in Poland developed differently than in the Weimar Republic and the USSR, I will follow the policy of the interwar left-wing parties in the sphere of culture and art, with an emphasis on the participation of amateurs in artistic production.