“Only birds”

“Only birds”

The year 2020, a frosty December morning, fog envelops the city, the Krakow’s Main Square is completely deserted. The pandemic has reached everywhere, even more so here, under the Cloth Hall. It was as if someone had stopped time just before people left their homes. The heart of Krakow, which beats 24 hours a day, has stopped. Silence. Only birds can be heard. Perhaps they are the legendary warriors of one of the dukes of Krakow, turned into pigeons?

The photo won a bronze medal at the Px3 photography competition in Paris in the Street/Special category and has also recently found its place in one of Krakow’s art galleries. If you happen to be in my hometown, be sure to stop by the intimate Bocho Art Gallery on St Thomas Street, where you can see and also buy this print. There are only a few limited editions with certificates. 


“I have this amazing photograpy taken by Tomasz, and since Krakow holds a special place in my heart, this photo has great meaning to me. This is a beautiful shot of my beloved Krakow Market Square with its inseparable pigeons in flight. The depth of this photograpy takes me back to my childhood. This is an amazing shot, full of warmth and joy. I can definitely say that I identify with the author feeling his reaction and the way he captures interesting moments. Tomasz, thank you very much for allowing my memories of Krakow to be with me every time I look at this photograpy.”

Justyna from UK

Exhibition

Exhibition

I had the honour of presenting my work at the exhibition “Review of Photography in Old and Alternative Techniques” a year ago. I’m happy to announce that this year, my works will be on display at the Art Exhibition Office in Kielce again. The exhibition presents artists from all over Poland who work with a variety of techniques. My three works, shown below, were done in argyrotype.

The exhibition runs from 26 April to 16 June 2024, and you are warmly invited!

“4xKungsleden” is published!

“4xKungsleden” is published!

The publication of a photo book is not just about showcasing photographs; it’s about commemorating the human experience, celebrating the beauty of the world, and preserving memories that will endure for a lifetime. 

Let your imagination soar as you flip through the vibrant landscapes of the far north. From sunrise to sunset, every page in this book whispers tales of wanderlust and adventure, and each photograph tells a story worth a thousand words. 

Does nature’s beauty inspire you? Immerse yourself and reconnect with the tranquil serenity of the great outdoors!

Pre-order on Apple Books!

Mockup designed by Yeven_Popov / Freepik

“4xKungsleden”

“4xKungsleden”

I’ve been working for some time now on a photo album with my best photos from 4 expeditions on the Kungsleden trail. It includes photographs from my portfolio, from an exhibition I had in 2023 and a few that I haven’t published yet. It is primarily a photo story but also weaves in thoughts found on the trail.

Work is still in progress, so I am releasing only the cover art as a teaser. The album will be first released as an ebook on the Apple Books platform. If there is enough interest, a print version will follow. There are also plans to make a small print limited handmade edition.

I will keep you updated on the progress here and the Mastodon platform!

I will also have some codes to give away for a free copy, so stay close!

About achievements

About achievements

Sometime between 2013 and 2014 I decided to commission a review of my photographs, looking for confirmation of whether the way I was photographing made sense, what mistakes I was making, where and what I could improve on. I had been photographing for about a decade by then, although I would describe that period as an intensive photography course, with the occasional intuitive slip-up when I was doing something at a decent level. I was mainly taking tight shots, searching for interesting details, looking at the world through focal lengths greater than 50mm. I sent out about 12 images for judging. My first portfolio ever. I expected criticism, of course, because that’s exactly why I decided to do it, but something more happened, I opened my eyes very wide. I found that the world was just as fascinating from the 17mm perspective, and the space allowed me to breathe deeper and gave me a sense of freedom. Landscape became my favourite subject from then on and I decided to start entering competitions with it. The first photo to win an honourable mention in an international competition is also one of my favourites, ‘One’.

Then there were further competitions including:

  • Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA)
  • ND Awards Photo Contest
  • International Landscape Photographer of the Year
  • International Photography Awards (IPA)
  • MonoVisions Photography Awards
  • Monochrome Photography Awards
  • PX3 Prix de la Photographie de Paris

In the years that followed, in addition to landscape, my photographs were recognised in the categories of fine art, nature, conceptual and architecture.

All these awards and recognitions are very important to me because I am constantly aware that my artistic intuition has not gone astray and that what I am doing is still world class and improving.

So, after this long introduction, let me present all the awarded and recognised photographs with a final comment: the most honoured photo is “Flow” and the highest rated photo, i.e. the bronze medal at the competition in Paris, is “Only Birds”. Enjoy!

“Lutnik, Twórca, Artysta: Pracownia Stanisława Kurkowskiego”

For english version scroll down.

“Lutnik, Twórca, Artysta: Pracownia Stanisława Kurkowskiego”

Codziennie w naszym biegu nie zdając sobie z tego sprawy mijamy miejsca nieoczywiste, zaskakujące oraz ludzi, którzy są prawdziwymi klejnotami, gdyż robią rzeczy niezwykłe i mają niesamowite historie do opowiedzenia.

Wielokrotnie przechodziłem obok pracowni Pana Stanisława, zaglądałem przez okno i byłem zafascynowany tym co widzę. To jest okno do innego świata, tam czas płynie wolniej nawet niż na Placu Wolnica na krakowskim Kazimierzu. Pan Stanisław nie zwraca uwagi na przechodniów ponieważ przywykł do ich obecności. Jest skupiony wyłącznie na swojej pracy, bo tak wygląda pasja, która pochłania go całkowicie. Spogląda od czasu do czasu przez okno swojej pracowni na Plac Wolnica, bo jak mówi to go odpręża i nie wyobraża sobie już pracy bez tego widoku. W słoneczny dzień światło jest dobrze rozproszone, przy stole jest na tyle jasno, że można pracować bez sztucznego oświetlenia. Pan Stanisław buduje i naprawia instrumenty smyczkowe: skrzypce, altówki, wiolonczele. Od naprawy wiolonczeli dla Opery Wiedeńskiej po instrumenty dla dzieci “bo one (aut. dzieci) muszą grać, jeśli tylko chcą się uczyć i trzeba im w tym pomóc”. Być może ta pomoc płynąca z głębi serca przyczyni się do obudzenia w niejednym z nich pasji, którą będziemy mogli w przyszłości oklaskiwać w najsłynniejszych salach koncertowych świata.

Jego historia jako lutnika to nie tylko opowieść o rzemiośle, ale przede wszystkim o miłości do muzyki. Najpiękniejsze w skrzypcach jest to, że do końca nie wiadomo jak zagrają i czasami wychodzi coś fenomenalnego jak te, które wykonał z 400 letniego drewna odzyskanego z remontu kamienicy na ul. Kanoniczej w Krakowie. Jest w tym jakaś magia, tajemnica, bo mimo, iż wymiary i kształt pozostaję niezmienne, to każdy kawałek drewna, jego jakość, kraj pochodzenia, ułożenie oraz kształt słojów i sama obróbka mają ogromne znaczenie. Każdy instrument wykonywany jest ręcznie z wyczuciem, pieczołowitością i perfekcją. Skrzypiec nie da się zrobić w tydzień, samo lakierowanie i nakładanie kilkunastu jego warstw może zająć nawet rok. Instrument ukończony jest dziełem sztuki, to rzeźba będąca emanacją mistrzostwa, pasji i kunsztu zdobywanego przez ponad 40 lat pracy. W każdym instrumencie poza jego własną drewnianą duszą gra też dusza artysty, który go stworzył i może właśnie dzięki temy połączeniu instrument budzi się do życia dając muzykowi coś więcej niż tylko narzędzie pracy, a nam słuchaczom nieopisaną radość płynącą z każdym kolejnym wydobywającym się dźwiękiem. 

Spędziliśmy razem zaledwie kilka godzin, ja robiłem zdjęcia, a Pan Stanisław opowiadał o sobie i o swojej pracy, o drodze zawodowej z rodzinnego Zakopanego do Krakowa przez Holandię i oczywiście o początkach kiedy kiełkowała w nim pasja, której efektami możemy się teraz zachwycać. 

“Luthier, craftsman, artist: the studio of Stanislaw Kurkowski”.

Every day, without realising it, we pass places that are unexpected, surprising and people who are real gems because they do extraordinary things and have amazing stories to tell.

I have often passed Mr Stanislaw’s studio, looked through the window and been fascinated by what I see. It is a window to another world, where time passes even more slowly than on Wolnica Square in Krakow’s Kazimierz. Mr Stanislaw pays no attention to the passers-by because he is used to their presence. He concentrates solely on his work, which is a passion that consumes him completely. From time to time he looks out of his studio window at Plac Wolnica because, as he says, it relaxes him and he cannot imagine working without it. On a sunny day, the light is well diffused and the table is bright enough to work without artificial lighting. Mr Stanislaw makes and repairs stringed instruments: violins, violas and cellos. From repairing cellos for the Vienna Opera to instruments for children, “because the children have to play if they want to learn and they have to be helped”. Perhaps this heartfelt help will contribute to awakening a passion in many of them that we will be able to applaud in the world’s most famous concert halls in the future.

His story as a violin maker is not only about his craft, but above all about his love of music. The best thing about a violin is that you never quite know how it will play, and sometimes something phenomenal comes out, like the one he made from 400-year-old wood salvaged from the renovation of a tenement house on Kanonicza Street in Krakow. There is a kind of magic and mystery in it, because although the dimensions and shape remain the same, each piece of wood, its quality, the country of origin, the arrangement and shape of the grain and the workmanship itself are of great importance. Each instrument is made by hand with sensitivity, care and perfection. A violin cannot be made in a week; the varnishing itself and the application of its dozen or so layers can take up to a year. The finished instrument is a work of art, a sculpture that reflects the mastery, passion and craftsmanship of 40 years of work. In every instrument, apart from its own wooden soul, there is also the soul of the artist who created it, and perhaps it is this combination that brings the instrument to life, giving the musician something more than just a working tool, and us, the listeners, indescribable pleasure with every sound that emerges.

We spent just a few hours together, I took the photos while Mr Stanislaw talked about himself and his work, about his professional path from his native Zakopane to Krakow via the Netherlands and, of course, about the beginnings, when a passion germinated in him, the effects of which we can now admire.


AI assisted translation using DeepL.

Kungsleden photo exhibition.

Kungsleden photo exhibition.

In 2021 I was invited to participate in a photography event called „Light.sensitives” organised by the Department of Landscape and Cultural Heritage at John Paul II University in Kraków. The focus of the event, which brought together several writers and artists, was to showcase different visual forms of storytelling and to answer the question of what it is like to look at the world through the lens of a camera or camcorder. 

“It is a real art to be able to perceive what escapes the attention of most people. Sometimes it is emotions, feelings, sometimes it is a ray of sunlight touching the leaves, sometimes it is a random arrangement of colours, sometimes it is a plant growing against logic on a pavement. It varies… But the essence is always that the framed reality has to tell a story.”

(university’s website event description)

My story and photo exhibition was about one of the most beautiful trekking routes in the world, the Kungsleden, which I visited 4 times. I fell in love with the far north, with this trail, with the unique and beautiful landscape, with the emptiness and the power of nature, which you can feel with all your senses. The emptiness gives you a sense of freedom, but nature is a constant reminder to be careful because you are insignificant. In my photographs I wanted to show the beauty of this place, carved by nature over millions of years without human interference, and perhaps infect others with this beauty. There are few places on earth where you can stand, look to the horizon and not see the concrete monuments of civilisation. Kungsleden is one of them.

This is a selection of photographs taken over several years on the trail and presented in the exhibition. Enjoy!

Aesthetica magazine.

Aesthetica magazine.

Being published in a prestigious magazine was an important event for me as an artist and provided me with a platform to present myself to a wide audience in the industry. In 2021, Aesthetica magazine featured one of my works entitled ‘Paris, Paris’ in its 100th anniversary issue. The work featured was made using the argyrotype process on handmade paper and is framed in an oak frame burnt on the front. The base for the print was a digital photograph I took in Paris in 2019.

This particular issue also delves into various art movements, influential artists and groundbreaking works that are shaping the current art world. 

I particularly recommend this issue, which is available to download online >here< (paid) but subsequent issues are just as interesting.