LITTLE WALLS

What inspired you to start working on the project?
I was born in Gdańsk and still live there. Mountains have fascinated me ever since I can remember. When looking for the idea for my series of photographs, I decided to tell a story about climbing and mountains from the perspective of the Tri-City (Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia). The resultant series Little Walls depicts structures which were not initially built for climbers, but have been used by them. The old bridges, towers, or walls have attracted one generation of climbers a er another. Additionally, just like mountains, the structures and their surroundings see a vibrant social life. Friends are made here, and on weekends, people come here with blankets and sandwiches. Picnics or competitions are organised on a regular basis. Thus the abandoned places with the “little walls” start living a new life.

How did your work progress before you made the final version of your project?
The concept of the story evolved as time passed and as the number of images grew. The portraits, pictures of my friends climbing, started to give way to simple frames depicting the “little walls” and their surroundings. The turning point in my thinking about the project came a er I read the guidebook Little Walls ’92 by Tomasz Kugler and Piotr Potaż, and talked to Michał Kochańczyk, who told me a lot about climbing in the Tri-City.

What is the central message you wish to communicate?
My main goal was to document the extant buildings and structures. Even though there are no climbers in the pictures, it is also a story about them and their determination. They managed to create a substitute for the mountains even though they live hundreds of kilometres away from them.

What photographic language do you use in your pictures and why?
I like simple, clean frames. I also wanted the style to re ect the kind of pictures you take in the mountains. I also focused on details so as to enable the viewer to get as close to the texture of the photographed object as possible.

Photo, page 183 – Bartos Tower, Murki ’92. Przewodnik wspinaczkowy, Tomasz Kugler, Piotr Potaż, Gdańsk 1992
Photo, page 185 – Sketch from the bulletin of the “Baszta” Tricity Mountain Climbing Club, Gdańsk 1989
Photo, page 187 – by Michał Kochańczyk