VASA: Connecting individuals and communities on a global scale who have interest in media studies, art, photography and digital media arts. Transmedia is a VASA project.
I first met Jacek when I was doing photography critiques at the European Month of Photography in Bratislava last fall. I was immediately impressed by his unique personal vision and highly conceptual approach to his image making. Jacek Fota is a documentary photographer based in Warsaw, Poland however he has photographed both in and around Europe and the United States. It was of no surprise to me when he came in 3rd place in last year’s portfolio review. An award that was well deserved in my opinion. He is a dedicated and prolific photographer who has a very unique, introspective and sensitive visual sensibility.
Jacek sent me a copy of his book, Some Things are Quieter than Others last week and the first think I noticed was there was no text, captions or writing to accompany any of the images. He lets each photograph stand alone in the middle of the white space of each page to communicate to the viewer. The title of the book gives us a glimpse into the visual aesthetic of the book. Yes indeed…many of the photographs in the book have a quiet, distant, introspective, serene and calm feeling to them, however if you really study the photographs there is also an underlying (subliminal) tension or touch of anxiety in his pictures as well.
Jacek captures things that most people would not even notice and that is the mark of a visually sensitive and engaged photographer. He certainly is “present” and “in the moment” when he documents these ordinary slices of life. Many of these images may be considered everyday, commonplace, mundane and even a little boring, however they tell a story about the other side of the American urban and rural landscape.
I really love how he uses negative space as a technique for defining and emphasizing his subject matter. Normally photographers like to get “in close” to their subjects, yet Jacek takes a different approach which I believe is an integral part of his personal style as a photographer. He lets the negative space in the picture plane define and bring attention to his subjects. His pictures don’t have captions because he wants the viewer to interpret each photograph without any additional information or visual clues. Yes this makes the viewing experience a little more difficult and challenging for viewer, but in the end forces us to engage each picture and bring our own personal experience to them.