People and place
A work in progress
Six (of these) images were selected for exhibition at Birmingham NEC for the International World Skills Conference 2012. A selection from the entire body of work, (into thousands), will feature as part of a bigger project and will incorporate people and place in East Yorkshire.
1(st image). Tomasz and Pawel follow the horses to the stables
2. Lidia's goats, heading off to graze
3 & 4. Anna, takes the milk from hand milking her cows, hangs the churn on her bike to take home
5. A wild boar and deer hunter waits for the next sweep of the forest
6. Mariola's 'homely' restaurant breathes after the busy 2012 season
7. Cesar walks along a corridor on his state farm, which he now privately owns
8. In the loft of a chicken barn. Jan pursues his passion of handcarving folk and traditional figures
9. Helena reflects after sharing her experience of the second world war
10. Blacksmiths clip the 20 horses in Tomasz' stables
Freelance, professional photography
Rural Life, autumn 2012, looking back. Travels with Danuta Piotrowska
"This project isn't about going out and taking pretty pictures, or dressing up life in the country. The pictures presented here have been processed minimally, the weather conditions sometimes were grey, foggy and dark. I often had limited time to photograph, and some were taken in far from ideal photographic conditions, with dark buildings and with busy people. I determined to not use flash so as not to frighten animals or people for that matter, only to photograph and present as close to the actual environmental conditions as possible. The aim was to create a visual document of the time, a view through my eyes."
On a month long visit, and with the generous help of my Polish host Danuta Piotriowska, her family, friends and photography contacts I visited and photographed a diverse group of people who live and work in the Polish countryside. From horse and dog breeders to cheese makers, the people I met inspired with their hard work, commitment and ambition. Some working hard to tend their small piece of rural Poland, others with larger dreams, selling their produce across Poland. I came away with a strong impression of people used to hard work, the kind of work perhaps some of us have long since forgotten, and a people grasping the opportunities post communism life in Poland and being part of Europe offers.
Poland in autumn 2012 was extraordinarily beautiful, with its huge varied broadleaf woodlands and forests. In the countryside on the way to visit people I saw many once state-owned cooperatives, unoccupied because of a limited sales market and lack of interest and so decaying. Inevitable really, so much money would be needed to renovate these properties. Beautiful manor houses, stables and huge concrete sheds crumbling in front of my eyes. Brave are those who take these large farms on. Through conversations with local people, I realised a lot of these heritage locations will be lost.
For those brave enough to take on living in the countryside or investing in their farms and small holdings, I understand the EU is currently (Autumn 2012) providing funding for the development of Agri-Tourism. The Polish government, encouraging the development of rural life and work, has made good use of this EU fund. I met several people who were 'breathing new life' into their businesses with this help.
This first month research trip was extraordinary. I was well looked after. Kindness and generous hospitality offered wherever I went. Dana was a generous host and her passion for photography and love of life is contageous. Poland offers such a range of rural photographic opportunities for me, I could easily spend the rest of my life photographing there, however there is more photography to be done here in the UK.
2015 onwards. Looking to Holderness and East Yorkshire..
Website design and imagery © Fiona Caley 2021