- December 6, 2012
An exhibition inspired by Bułhak, the master of photography
An exhibition of photographs was opened in “Znad Wilii”, a Polish art gallery. The photographs were taken by the students of the Third Age University and the members of the Society of Vilnius and Vilnius Area Lovers from Olsztyn.
The main motif is the depiction of Vilnius inspired by the works of Jan Bułhak, a prominent Polish photographer connected with the settlement in the vicinity of Vilnius. Last year, ten fans of Bułhak visited Vilnius, Lentvaris, Trakų Vokė, Trakai and Užtrakai where they took their first steps in photography. The results of their work can be admired in “Znad Wilii” gallery until January, 5th.
Wanda Mieczkowska, the gallery director, stressed that “Bułhak’s work has exerted a major influence on the photography. It has become a classic rediscovered by next generations of photographers.” She added: “For us, the citizens of Vilnius, Jan Bułhak holds a similar position in the photography as Adam Mickiewicz does in the literature. His artistic heritage includes the pictures that not only document the times he lived in, but could also be regarded as the genuine masterpieces of photography.”
The exhibited photographs capture the prime spots in Vilnius. The authors took pictures from the same angle as Jan Bułhak. At first glance, the objects have not changed much in the course of time. Yet, Paweł Bielinowicz, one of the photographers, did notice some differences, for instance in the behavior of passer-bys near the Gate of Dawn. Zofia Karzeł also shared her rich experience from following in Jan Bułhak’s footsteps and immortalizing Vilnius. She underlined the fact that one cannot easily pinpoint the author of a given photograph since the project was of the collective nature.
Henryk Kujawa from the Society of Vilnius and Vilnius Area Lovers also participated in taking pictures on location. His memories took the viewer’s breath away. Mr. Kujawa expounded upon his personal encounter with Bułhak and showed his worn-out camera called “Vectra”. “Jan Bułhak had the same type of camera. Thus, he recommended it to me. Me and my mother went to the shop together and we came across the master then”, he said.
The master (or even the father) of Polish photography was closely connected with Vilnius. It is the city where he established the Vilnius Photoclub and lay the foundations for the Polish Photoclub. He was a lecturer at the Fine Arts Department of the Stefan Batory University; and a friend of Ferdynand Ruszczyc. Before the Second World War he took thousands of photographs featuring Vilnius and other Polish cities. Unfortunately, Bułhak’s studio burned down in 1944 and the majority of photographs perished. After the war his photographs showed the ruins of Warsaw and the region of Warmia and Mazury. Additionally, he was a founder and a member of the Union of Polish Pictographers. The member card number 1 was in his possession. The memorial board to Jan Bułhak hangs on the wall of the voivodeship office of Vilnius, near the Vincas Kudirka square (former Eliza Orzeszkowa square).
Tłumaczenie Karolina Jasińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Jasińska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.