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Michal Cala



"Silesia 1978 - 1992"


My oldest photographs from 'Silesia' series were made in the period between 1975 and 1992. My fascination with this subject started when I saw the industrialcentres of Upper and Lower Silesia. I was particularly interested in labourers' housing districts built at the end of XIX and at the beginning of XX century, old ironworks, coal mines and enormous waste dumps. I was also taking pictures of people, who were living in that environment.
The reality that is shown in my photographs does not exist any longer. The industry in Silesia  was very backward on that time. Most of the waste dumps, old coal mines, ironworks and workers' districts suffered demolition.

 In my photographs I was trying to combine documentary and aesthetic values. The technique, which I used, was traditional analogue black and white photography.


Michal Cala




Galerie ZDERZAK Katowice


‘Silesia’ by Michal Cala – a unique series of black and white photographs that was created about 30 years ago, but what we see in these photographs seems to be a record of a far and distant reality. The sombre beauty of industrial landscape of Upper and Lower Silesia fascinated young photographer. Coal mining and metallurgic industry was at the top of its activity in the 70-s. It was destroying the environment and polluting the atmosphere but also creating a surreal landscape of gigantic piles of waste, enormous chimneys, industrial buildings and districts of miners’ houses. Michal Cala  took his photographs from the ‘Silesia’ series in 1975 in Walbrzych. The characteristic, monumental panorama of the city was combined with a naturally mountainous terrain, smoking factory chimneys and coal mines. Silesian photographs by Cala are something more than a documentary record. Photographed with wide angle lenses, the enormous piles of waste in Upper Silesia create surrealistic landscapes, which fill a spectator with feeling of dread and solitude. A single house surrounded by huge industrial containers, lonely figures of people, microscopic, when compared to inhuman scale of industrial surroundings – all these can be treated as metaphors of communist reality.


Marta Karpiñska, Galeria Zderzak, 2006 r.











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