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I had the good fortune of reviewing Jacek Fota’s visually unique documentary photographs during this year’s International Portfolio Reviews in Bratislava.
It was of no surprise to me when I heard he came in 3rd place in this year’s portfolio review. An award that was well deserved in my opinion.
His haunting and ominous photographs of the Palace of Culture and Science in Poland have a timeless quality to them and communicate on multiple levels. One thing that strikes me about his pictures is his strong sense of design and composition. His photograph of this grandiose palace are not only eerie and almost ghostly, but are beautifully composed.
The Documentary Project
Palac Kultury i Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science) is the most recognizable building in Poland. It lies in the center of Warsaw and stands at 237 meters above the ground. It was originally called the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science. Stalin’s name was revoked due to the destalinization era. The Palace was a gift from Soviets to Poles and was completed in 22nd of July 1955.
To many Poles the Palace of Culture and Science recalls a symbol of Soviet domination’s, and many political groups wanted to destroy it. Today, the building still stands in the heart of Warsaw. Everyone knows about the Palace, but not many people know what the building looks like inside. There are four theaters, a movieplex, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a post office, and two museums among many other institutions.
Jacek is the first photographer to gain access to the whole building and works on a photo book and an exhibition about the PKiN building. The book consists of about seventy photographs and thirty pages of text, which will include architectural facts, interview stories with people involved with the building, legends and myths, but also interesting stories from the building. The book is planned to be released in September during an exhibition inside the Palace of Culture.
Jacek Fota is a freelance photographer based in Warsaw. He graduated from University of Utah with a Masters of Art degree. Jacek returned to Poland after graduation and got involved with photography. His interests lie in documentary photography and he usually works on a long-term projects. Jacek is represented by Anzenberger and Forum agencies.
Click on any of the images below to enlarge.
For more information about Jacek and his work contact him @