My new booklet on the Lublin region!

Kazi 04 water boatman

As I write this I am about half way through proofing a new project – a booklet about this region of Poland based on about a dozen of my images and the kind of things that interest me about the region and which actually led to me creating the images.

I want to produce an alternative to the rather boringly similar other guides I have seen, and I have seen many, something that talks about stuff one does not need some qualification in the history or architecture to appreciate. Basically, I tie together a series of reminiscences to form a kind of story, introducing a little bit of many things to make the region more understandable, to have a bit more depth.

Anyway, here is a sample:

The Wisła River, or Vistula as we know it, forms the western border of the Lublin province, and has a number of bridges and ferries operating along its length. Rivers have always been some of the most awkward things to pass when we wish to travel on land as they are not something that we can simply go round. The particular ferry route we chose is quite ancient, lying as it does on the trade route between Krakow and Lublin, at the popular small town of Kazimierz Dolny. On this occasion we had intended on using the car ferry, but were thwarted by water too shallow for anything but a passenger boat to traverse. While this latter style of boat is today made of glass fiber, its general design is pretty much the same as the wooden boats that have long been used on local lakes and rivers.

I plan to publish it as an ebook, so it is available anywhere for very little money. I am sure I shall make some mistakes along the way, but it feels good to be doing something a little different.



Down in the Market on a Saturday Morning

A market stall, shoppers and stallholder, with the stall loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables.

A small local farmers’ market in Lublin, Poland

This is one of my favorite places in Lublin, where we often go to buy our fresh fruit and vegetables. We used to go more often, but first Ania’s job moved away from the area, then we found a new flat less convenient for shopping there – and yet it still retains its charm for us.

These days we have to drive their, so we normally pop in if we happen top be driving past. Most of the people who shop there tend to be older rather than younger, and more likely to walk there from their apartments nearby. The stallholder used to be mainly farmers, but there has been a shift more to market people buying goods from farms, or farmers mixing homegrown and bought produce.

There are also some other shops there. When I first started going in the mid-1990s these were a standard mix of planned Socialist era shops, such as the plastics goods shop, the metal goods shop, fish shop and the like. Since then some of these have died (like the plastic goods shop) due to the other shops diversifying into their areas.

The original idea for the market when it was created in the late 1960s was to be a small mall of shops with broad ways between them and a small market stall area. Instead, the passages have become choked with stalls selling produce on either side, the shops role is secondary, and the proper stall area has become an area for cheap handbags and clothes.

In the small gaps and corners between the stalls you still see some very old ladies who bring in something like a small bag of peas, some eggs, or a plucked chicken to sell to eke out their pension.

On a rainy day there may be few stalls, on a warm sunny day you might struggle to get through the crowds. We love it!

The Three Priests

Lublin 04 Priests 2 small

At the moment I am working on a series of images concerning tradition and the local community here in Lublin, hopefully so that they go into an exhibition I have yet to organize for the ‘Lublin Night of Culture’. I have had two such exhibitions before and they were relatively successful. It is a good, fun event anyway, with lots of people and many, many things to see.

The problem, as usual, is finding enough ideas to make around 25 images, and then get them all up to a standard where they will print large. It is so easy to get distracted, and work on other stuff. I know I have some suitable images already finished, such as the one above, but I need to dig through my last 18 months of output to see how many others I have also done, do the math and see how many more I have yet to do. Since it takes about a week to do each, discovering I need another 15 would mean a major amount of work…

Anyway, this image was a bit of a challenge as I wanted the background to be soft, which meant experimenting with technique. I am not sure that I have quite got it down pat yet, but I think I can live with it and I have some ideas on how to improve. The reason I wanted the soft look was to replicate the kind of image one so often associates with traditional European religious art, and then combine it with my ideas about the use of abstract colour blocks. The actual composition was also a bit tricky as I had 4 elements in the foreground which had to be positioned to emphasize the meaning and yet look balanced. Hopefully I succeeded there too.

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