20 April, 6pm
The Photographers' Gallery Bookshop
16-18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW
Michal Iwanowski’s photobook Clear of People retraces a journey, originally made in 1945 by the artist’s grandfather and uncle, through a politically charged and precarious landscape.
The 2,200 km fugitive odyssey began in Kaluga, Russia, where the two brothers had spent a year in a prisoner-of-war camp. Their daring escape was followed by a three month trek. Struggling against constant cold, hunger and exhaustion, they moved under the cover of the night, avoiding any contact with people. Driven by their longing to return home, and having escaped death on numerous occasions, they eventually made it to Wroclaw, Poland, where they were reunited with their family.
70 years later, Michal Iwanowski returned to Russia with a map and notes inherited from his uncle. He embarked on a similar journey, faithfully retracing every step, with a camera as his sole comrade. And just like Tolek and Wiktor had, he steered clear of people along the way.
Michal Iwanowski (*1977) is a Cardiff-based photographer and a Ffotogallery tutor. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport, graduating in 2008. Iwanowski’s work explores the relationship between landscape and memory, looking for histories, individuals and traces about to fade.