“Cultural Landscape” of Warsaw

Having lived abroad most my adult life and only recently relocated back to Poland, I am often feeling like a newcomer in my own country. As I adapt to living back in Poland and to Warsaw (which is not the town I grew up in), I found myself meeting many other newcomers who have made Warsaw their home, whether permanent or temporary. I was intrigued to discover their stories – what brought them here? How long have they been here? How have they adapted to living in Poland? Through meeting these fellow newcomers and our conversations I found a common ground of experiences in our relocations to Warsaw. Generally Poland is not known to be very multicultural but I wanted to showcase that in fact while not as multicultural as other major cities such as London, there is in fact a vibrant expat community who live here and have made Warsaw their home.  This is the Cultural Landscape of Warsaw.

"Cultural Landscape" was born in December 2018. The project has taken off and what started as an idea to take a few portraits has since quickly become a social project.

I started to photograph people who came to Warsaw from all over the world. Some to work, others to study, others came "for love."

"Cultural landscape" is like a kaleidoscope of various human stories. Through this project, I want to show my audience that, despite cultural, religious and political differences, we can all live under one roof and respect each other.

For 16 years I lived abroad and therefore I know what it's like to live in a foreign country. "Cultural Landscape" is a nod to those who came here and to greet them in Warsaw (Poland).

Ever since I launched the "Cultural Landscape" of Warsaw, the interest in the project has exceeded my expectations. Many people contact me, both locals and foreigners, the feedback has been positive; they ask questions, comment, and compliment.

An person’s portrait is the technique through which I can express the main idea of "Cultural Landscape". The ‘studio’ set up for the project is simple; one basic background and one light. I focus on human feelings, because this is the essence of the project. Before the session, I talk to the person who is to be photographed and try to make them feel comfortable and at ease, so that they can open up and express their emotions. The heart of the portrait are the eyes. When photographing, I encourage a person to tell me their story through their eyes. This is what makes the "Cultural Landscape" portraits so powerful, they are not simply photos – they tell a story.

If you would like to take part of the “Cultural Landscape” project or know anyone who may be interested, please contact me for further information.


Pawel Dobrowolski