Kacper Kowalski Landskrona Portfolio Review winner 2016
Kacper Kowalski discovered flying 20 years ago. To him, it was like discovering an enchanted garden. He found himself paragliding with an engine strapped to his back and entered a space he didn’t have to share with anybody. He could taste and smell the wind. Flying became a drug, and photography became the justification for being up there alone amid the endlessness. There were no digital cameras or drones at that time, so the images he captured became trophies which he brought back to show those who had never seen the world from his vantage point.
However, after two decades of flying, and taken into account all the risks that he exposed himself to, he lost faith in what he was doing. How did he justify taking such risks? Did it still make sense what he was doing? Drones crowded the sky and his enchanted garden had become full of intruders.
Then Kowalski found another purpose. A new point of view, which was much more personal and filled with emotion.
“When I was looking down from the plane I started to look deep inside my soul. I saw a portrait of me, but to understand this took a year, and the portfolio review in Landskrona was the start of this process”
In the series ‘Over’, Kowalski photographed the earth just after snow had fallen and covered the landscape, turning it into a white canvas. With great attention to form, shape and pattern, Kowalski transformed the frozen landscape. Some images remind us of abstract paintings, where traces of animals or tractors looks like black brushstrokes. In others it feels like we are looking through a microscope or a telescope. The important thing is no longer to bring back proof of what the world looks like from above, neither is it important what image your eye registers mechanically.
For Kowalski, it is vital what your consciousness perceives.
Kacper Kowalski (1977) is a graduate of the Technical University of Gdańsk, where he studied architecture. Having worked in architecture for four years, he devoted himself entirely to flying and photography. He takes aerial pictures of natural and urban environments in his native Poland. He has received numerous awards, including the World Press Photo award (2009, 2014, 2015) and is represented by the Panos Pictures agency for editorials. His first photography book, Side Effects, was published in early 2014. He lives and works in Gdynia, Poland.