Wanda Michalak Photography

Wanda Michalak "World Watching" Ireland 2007

Wanda Michalak "World Watching" Royal NP, Australia 2004

Three Practices, a Body, a Landscape

Roland Barthes in his "Camera Lucida" (1980): "I come into being in the process of "posing", I immediately create a new body for myself, I change beforehand into an imaginary person. This transformation is of an active nature: I feel that Photography creates or kills my body [...]".
In the "World Watching" series a naked body is placed within a landscape. Or rather within the landscapes of Brazil, Wales, Australia and Ireland... From the point of view of a person watching these pictures it is not unsignificant that the body and the person composing the photograph are only two functions of the authorss "taking" the picture. Thus the process of the "posing" of the body is originally conceived by the photographic frame and only later made visible (perhaps with some spontaneous corrections) and recorded on film.

A body, especially devoid of all covering, takes on various poses and shapes in contact with nature. Wanda Michalak plays her game on several levels as far as this problem is concerned. The beauty of the setting sun is greeted by the beauty of a pose, harmoniously and with confidence placed among the spheres of the earth, the water, the sky and the light. "Religion of the body", as critics have written about these photographs? Perhaps, but also its "photogenetics", defining the process of placing the body (or the process of the body placing itself) in a given and not any other environment: the body like a stone among other stones on the beach (the ebb, Normandy, "A Woman of the Dunes"?); a native woman caught among dark palms; approaching a tree in a tropical forest...

So the body is in a certain state of mimicry, the body is absorbed - by a landscape or a memory of an image. But we have here also bodies absorbing landscapes. A statue-like figure placed on a rocky peak, a figure mounting a protruding rock, or lifting the mast of a tree covered by fucus. Mimicry is not the aim here - the aim is rather to dominate over a certain territory.
Barthes in "Camera Lucida": "I noticed that photography may be the object of three kinds of practice (or three emotions or intentions): doing, surrendering and watching". The "World Watching" series is in a way the result of exchange between these standpoints and emotions, it is a means of asking questions, experiencing answers - and looking at Photography.

Piotr Rypson, Amsterdam


Wanda Michalak "World Watching" Pennicles Desert, Australia 1994

Wanda Michalak "World Watching" New England NP, Australia 2003