Stefan Szczygieł. His photographic and film work

Warschau_Urban-Panorama_01
Documentary photos for the Urban Panorama installation in the “Centrum” underground railway station in Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Urban Panorama I, 2007/2008, 5oo x 18oo cm.

When a period of liberalisation began to make itself felt in Poland Stefan Szczygieł seized the opportunity to apply for a passport and a permit to leave the country. He did not reveal that he aimed to study for some time in Germany. On the one hand he wanted to pursue his passion for photography, and on the other hand make a career by pursuing his independent artistic visions. At the time the experimental character of the Düsseldorf Academy of Art made it a major training centre in new media and photography. The class led by Bernd Becher (1931-2007) was extremely popular with students who wanted to dedicate themselves to artistic and documentary photography. The composer and artist Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was the father figure and founder of media art and one of the most important artistic personalities in the Academy.

Both these components, the clear documentary rigour in Becher’s class and the free artistic attitudes encouraged by Nam June Paik run through Stefan Szczygieł’s later work like a thin red line. Here there is one common factor uniting both the teachers and their student: the extremely high precision in their formal techniques and themes and their faithfulness to themselves.

After a period of professional consolidation in the 1990s – Szczygieł was primarily working as a photographer or for commercial agencies and earned enough money to be able to dedicate himself to his own independent projects at the same time, albeit with a certain time lapse – around the turn of the century he was finally in a position to devote himself to artistic photography.

Blow Ups

Thus Szczygieł began work on a series of photographs that he entitled Blow Ups or High Resolution Objects, and which he pursued continually for the next five years.

He photographed objects like clocks, telephones, jewellery, cigarette boxes, lighters, books, cameras, coins and buttons – some of them were from the past – in a precise and extremely magnified manner in front of or on top of a neutral background. The proofs were huge, measuring 200 x 200 cm and even up to 200 x 400 cm, up to 200 times larger than the original objects. The huge format and the neutral light grey background in the close ups gave the objects a unique hyper real effect as if they were floating freely in thin air, independent of any laws of gravity. In addition Szczygieł emphasised macroscopic details like scratches, colourings, signs of age, rust, tiny dents and tracings, not to speak of the material density that was fed by an image resolution of up to 350,000,000 pixels. 

Mediathek
  • Stefan Szczygieł

    Stefan Szczygieł

    Stefan Szczygieł, 2009 in Hamburg. Photo: Hinrich Franck
  • Coin

    Coin

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Coin” (5 cents), photogram, 200 x 200 cm.
  • Silberdose

    Silberdose

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Silver tin”, photogram, 200 x 260 cm.
  • Blatt

    Blatt

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Leaf” (Brooch), photogram, 350 x 200 cm.
  • Buch

    Buch

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Book” (Collection of legal regulations), photogram, 230 x 200 cm.
  • Latarka-Elekrodyn

    Latarka-Elekrodyn

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Elektrodyn”, photogram, 250 x 200 cm.
  • Feuerzeug

    Feuerzeug

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Cigarette lighter”, photogram, 200 x 300 cm.
  • Guzik

    Guzik

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Guzik”, photogram, 200 x 200 cm.
  • Telefon

    Telefon

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Telephone”, photogram, 200 x 260 cm
  • Taschenuhr

    Taschenuhr

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Pocket watch” (opened), photogram, 250 x 200 cm.
  • Zorki

    Zorki

    From the series “Blow Ups”, 2001-2005, “Zorki”, photogram, 200 x 300 cm.
  • Warschau, Brücke

    Warschau, Brücke

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Bridge”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Hala Mirowska

    Warschau, Hala Mirowska

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Hala Mirowska”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Złote Tarasy

    Warschau, Złote Tarasy

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Zlote Tarasy”, Inkjet photo print, 80 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Klostermauer

    Warschau, Klostermauer

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, cloister wall” (Powisle), Inkjet photo print, 60 x 144 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Stadion

    Warschau, Stadion

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, stadium”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 200 cm.
  • Warschau, Dach

    Warschau, Dach

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, roof”, Inkjet photo print, 110 x 100 cm.
  • Warschau, Saski Park

    Warschau, Saski Park

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Saski Park”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Ursynów

    Warschau, Ursynów

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Ursynòw”, Inkjet photo print, 108 x 60 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Park

    Warschau, Park

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Saski Park”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm (Edition: 10).
  • Warschau, Łazienkowska

    Warschau, Łazienkowska

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Łazienkowska”, Inkjet photo print, 60 x 170 cm.
  • Warschau, Przystanek tramwajowy

    Warschau, Przystanek tramwajowy

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Warsaw, Przystanek tramwajowy”, Inkjet photo print, 100 x 240 cm.
  • Köln, Hohenzollernbrücke

    Köln, Hohenzollernbrücke

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Hohenzollern bridge”, Inkjet photo print, 85 x 240 cm.
  • Köln, Hauptbahnhof

    Köln, Hauptbahnhof

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Central Station”, Inkjet photo print, 100 x 230 cm.
  • Köln, Museum Ludwig

    Köln, Museum Ludwig

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Cologne, Ludwig Museum”, Inkjet photo print, 150 x 240 cm.
  • Paris, Notre Dame

    Paris, Notre Dame

    From the series “Urban Spaces” 2005-2009, “Paris, Notre Dame”, Inkjet photo print, 95 x 240 cm.
  • Paris, Louvre

    Paris, Louvre

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Paris, Louvre”, Inkjet photo print, 95 x 240 cm.
  • Paris, Seine-Ufer

    Paris, Seine-Ufer

    From the series “Urban Spaces”, 2005-2009, “Paris, Bank of the Seine”, Inkjet photo print, 80 x 240 cm.
  • Warschau, Urban Panorama I

    Warschau, Urban Panorama I

    Documentary photos for the Urban Panorama installation in the “Centrum” underground railway station in Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Urban Panorama I, 2007/2008, 5oo x 18oo cm.
  • Warschau, Urban Panorama II

    Warschau, Urban Panorama II

    Documentary photos for the Urban Panorama installation in the “Centrum” underground railway station in Warsaw in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Urban Panorama II, 2007/2008, 5oo x 18oo cm...