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Kamil, Oliwia, Pawe, ukasz

Civic Photography
- a guide to initiating artistic-promotional projects There are many ways of getting to know new places. You can read guidebooks, go sightseeing or follow tourist routes. However, the uniqueness and character of every place actually relies on the people who inhabit it. They are the carriers of the stories, events and moods, which make the place truly specific. Its impossible to get to know the city if you dont try to look at it through the eyes of its townspeople.

Katowice has its own looks, its ambience, this city is simply unique. I remember when the shirt used to get black throughout the day; now it remains white.
(Krzysztof)

The Civic Photography Project, based on the idea of Ewa Waszut from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, supported by the 2012 Social Project, [pl: Projekt Spoeczny 2012 ](Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw) enables the author to present a city or a town in a very authentic and personal way. The project involves a presentation of a photographic essay, which is composed of the portraits of the citizens, complemented by their personal commentaries. All commentaries are gathered by means of a special survey prepared in advance. The aim of the project is to prepare an exhibition of the portraits accompanied by commentaries, which may be perceived as sui generis tour of the most important (according to the citizens) spots in the city. The advantages of the project are its simplicity and accessibility. It may be prepared individually or by a group of people. The form of the project is flexible depending on the author(s) decision, citizens commentaries may be related to various subjects, e.g. reasons for identification with the city, its history, hopes for the future etc. It means that a couple of exhibitions prepared according to the same pattern may have different significance afterwards, they may be either universal or prepared for some special occasion. The preparation and implementation of the Civic Photography Project includes four stages: I. Preparation for the project. II. Gathering of the material: portraits and commentaries of the citizens. III. Choosing the best pictures for the presentation. IV. Arrangement of the exhibition. Below you can find a detailed description of every stage. We advise you to devote at least a couple of months in order to properly carry out all the four stages, depending on the number of people involved and the authors capacities.
Mariusz

I like this city for its constant development, for its openness to progress and respect for tradition at the same time. There is a lot of space for any cultural or artistic activities. I like Katowice, because I feel more and more attracted to it.
(Magdalena)
STAGE I: Before you start working on the project/the research task, its good to find some time and consider a few important issues: What will be necessary in order to carry out the project? Who should you get in touch with, what kind of consents/papers are essential in order to implement the project? Where will the project be held? Will it spread to the whole city or will it embrace just one street/district? Where will the final exhibition be held? How to organize the work of the author or of the whole team of co-authors? How to construct the survey and collect all the photographic equipment? (e.g. If the author decides to take digital pictures on location, accessories such as flash lamps or reflectors are indispensable). How to give the project a decent amount of publicity? While working on the Civic Photography Project you must not forget about obtaining a consent for publication of peoples images and commentaries. Such a consent should appear under every survey. The text that was used for the project Katowice. Civic Photography looks as follows: I am aware of the fact that the collected material will serve as a means to implementation and promotion of the research task KATOWICE. Civic Photography. I agree to have my image and my answers in the survey published. Date and signature ...................................................................................... I agree to have my picture signed with my name. Date and signature ..................................................................................... The last important issue you have to consider at that stage of the project is arranging a schedule for the whole work. When will the project be carried out and how long will it take to complete it? When will the exhibition/summing-up of the project take place? Its good to plan your schedule in detail, e.g. according to the following pattern: No. Planned work Date of beginning Date of ending

Patrycja

STAGE II: The people chosen for the photographic essay Katowice. Civic Photography were random passers-by from different parts of the city. It is also possible to choose people for the project according to a specific pattern depending on the intention of the author(s). The people involved can choose (together with the author) the time and location for taking pictures. It is good if they decide for a place of particular importance to them, so that they could tell a few words about it, however, it may also be a place where they often spend their time. The participants are asked to answer the questions in a survey (the survey should be prepared in advance and should consist of the same set of questions for all participants). Moreover, the survey should contain a written consent for publication of peoples images and answers necessary for fulfilling the task. For example, a survey for the project Katowice. Civic Photography, which was carried out by Ewa Waszut in 2010, consisted of the following questions: 1. What do you like about Katowice? 2. What do you dislike about Katowice? 3. What is Polish in you any habits, traits? 4. Imagine you would have to leave your homeland for a distant country and you are allowed to take with yourself only one item from Poland. What would it be? 5. Where in your neighbourhood would you take a friend from Ukraine? Which places would you like to show him/her? 6. What does the common gene of Poles and Ukrainians consist of? (do you think we are similar to each other?). How is the common gene manifested? 7. Some company wants to release a set of items called Polish essentials. Which items are absolutely necessary in such a kit? It is good to invite several dozens of people to take part in photo sessions and conversations. Later on, about 20-30 photographs (together with the answers) will be chosen for publication. Of course, the project may be conducted on a bigger/smaller scale, depending on the needs and capacities of the author(s).

STAGE III: Active engagement of the participants-citizens is of key importance for the Civic Photography Project . That is why they should have a decisive voice in choosing the picture from their session that will later become a part of the final display. It is important to devote sufficient time to this stage of the project so that you choose the best picture and commentaries together with a portrayed person without unnecessary rush. If such a need arises, it may be good to ask a photo-artist or a reporter for help or suggestions for choosing the pictures. The author may provide some advice or suggestions, but should not impose his/her own choice on the participants. We mustnt forget that the aim of the project is to present the city through the eyes of its citizens and their own experience.

Klaudia i Jacek Krzysztof

Anna

STAGE IV: While implementing the project, it is good to seek cooperation of the city authorities or an art gallery that would provide space for the final display. The presentation of the outcome of the project may have various forms e.g. it may be presented as a typical exhibition in an art gallery, as a street exhibition, an on-line display or through distribution of postcards. Preparing more than one form of presentation will boost the attractiveness of the message of the Project and increase a potential circle of the recipients. Lets not forget to take proper care to promote the project in advance. Its good to include information about the aim of the project on its website (if such a website is created), on partners websites and in the local press. Depending on the needs and capacities, you can think of a special arrangement of the first exhibition, e.g. a vernissage. The Civic Photography Project may be a source of satisfaction not only for the author(s), but also or maybe above all for the people whose images and commentaries will be presented. Its advisable to invite these people to the first exhibition and encourage them to speak out on it and share their impressions. In addition, you shouldnt forget about the chances for promotion of the city through the project an exhibition/a website may be regarded as a unique and original business card, which may be used by the local authorities to shape the image of the city and the region.

FROM THE AUTHOR A CONVERSATION WITH EWA WASZUT Why did you decide to carry out the project called Katowice. Civic Photography? I have many different passions and the biggest of them is meeting new people photography is the very next. Meeting new people gives me an opportunity to get closer to the place I live in, my city and its different parts that you are unable to spot at first glance. The Katowice. Civic Photography Project allowed me to do it I saw what MY city can REALLY be like. Where does the idea for the name come from? The vital part of civic photography is ACTIVE PARTICIPATION the portrayed people are not objects, but subjects in the project. Civic photography consists of four rules: full information, a consent for publication of the image and commentaries, the attitude of mutual respect and general satisfaction for both sides once the project is done. I finished the project and? I was surprised by all the positive reactions, by the fact that the citizens feel so attached to their city. Besides, I observed that the ones, who didnt want to take part in the project, didnt identify with Katowice either. I found it also quite interesting that those people often lived or still live in the city centre. Does it mean that there is hardly any place in the centre where they can feel good? Can you point to any measurable effect of the project? I daresay that within the last two years a couple of thousands of people have got in touch with the Civic Photography Project for Katowice through various means, e.g. an exhibition on Mariacka street (a street teeming with life at night is in my opinion much better for such a display than any art gallery!),a website, a fanpage on Facebook, a catalogue of the exhibition, press and radio reports and many good friends that I gained during my work on the project. It was definitely worth it!
Tum. Ewa Pospieszil

What do you like about Katowice? I livein Katowice. Im proud of this city.

(Danuta)

Magdalena, Jarosaw, Kamil

photos: Ewa Waszut Katowice. Fotografia Obywatelska