Michal Iwanowski Clear of People - Workshopx Documentary Photography Workshops Photojournalism

Michal Iwanowski – Clear of People

© Michał Iwanowski

Clear of People is a book about displacement; in particular – it is about the fugitive experience. Yet it is unlike anything we are used to seeing. Now you can pre-order a copy and support the production of this quality print publication.

Photographer Michał Iwanowski revives a family history and embarks on a 2,200 km solitary journey from Russia to Poland – a passage his grandfather and great uncle made in 1945 after escaping from a gulag. The two experiences meet in a commonplace that is the landscape – and in both narratives people are to be avoided. Their eerie absence results in a dark, precarious mood of the images – and while we cannot see the fugitives, we are made to experience their need to remain hidden.

The original fugitive odyssey began in Kaluga, Russia, where the two brothers, Tolek and Wiktor Iwanowski, 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 great 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.

A video (voice by Wiktor Iwanowski) for Clear of People project prepared with Wales Arts International

Clear of People is being released by Brave Books, an independent publisher with a focus on photography and works that are best conveyed and represented in a book format.

56 colour photographs, text,
archival images and documents
116 pages, 195×254 mm,
section sewn, lay-flat binding,
120 l/cm offset print
Designed by Tom Mrazauskas

PRE-ORDER: Kickstarter


Michal Iwanowski (*1977, Poland) is a Wales based artist photographer. In 2008 he completed his MFA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport. His work, focused on the experience of an individual, explores the relationship between landscape and memory. In 2009 he won the Emerging Photographers award by the Magenta Foundation (Canada) and received an Honourable Mention at Px3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris. His latest project Clear of People, has been exhibited and published worldwide. Forthcoming exhibitions for 2016 include Contact Sheet, Sydney (March) and DocField, Barcelona (May).

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