In many beliefs there is an alternate world that exists between what we are taught is real and what lies beyond. Piotr Zbierski seeks to explore pathways between these two realities by crafting an impressionistic visual record of humanity. He has travelled extensively, focusing on a number of different communities, photographing and paying homage to their ceremonies and daily rituals. For many of the tribes, these traditions act as a bridge between material reality and a spiritual understanding of the wider world. In his practice he considers how different cultures express and communicate their ancient ancestral connections to nature and this experience of an 'intermediate' world.
“Echoes and Shades is the photographic analysis of the coexistence of nature and culture, as well as the relationships between them. In my work, I understand culture as being an echo of nature, while its symbols, signs, products and rituals are the cast shadows of elements and phenomena existing in nature. The relations between the force which “marks” (Nature) and the “marked” space (Culture) constitute for me the foundation and the main starting point of my analysis of the present. I was especially interested in ancient cultures (often animists, for example the Paradangan in Indonesia) and in rituals transmitted from one generation to the next by oral tradition (thus the institution of the shaman in the Siberian tradition, the role of rituals transition in the tradition of Tana Toraja in Indonesia, the initiation rituals practiced to enter the communities of the African tribes of the Omo region, the role of the Podlasie Whisperers in the tradition of natural medicine of this region). This survey was also developed in Romania, in the region of Maramures. There I studied the traditions related to the annual rebirth of nature. It is an essay on humans insofar as they derive from nature, their passions, their desires, their ways of communicating and negotiating with powerful emotions ”.
Piotr Zbierski (born 1987) studied photography at the National Film School in Lodz, Poland, where he pursued a doctorate. He has presented his work in many countries such as France, Poland, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, as well as in magazines (Shots Magazine, Ninja Mag, Archivo Zine, Die Nacht, Gup Magazine) . In 2012, he won the prestigious Leica Young Photographer Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award for his Pass by me series. His works are part of the collection of the Kiyosato Photographic Arts Museum and the Élysée Museum. In 2016, he published the book called Push the Sky Away - the triptych of three series he has worked on over the past nine years. He lives and works mainly in Lodz but travels frequently.