“Photography as mutual penetration of gazes.” This is how Karolina Gembara, one of the book’s three authors, describes the images in Rafał Milach’s Strike. Since 2019, Milach, along with sixteen other photographers, has created the Archive of Public Protests (APP), a platform for documenting social actions and grassroots initiatives opposed to political decisions enforced contrary to democratic principles and human rights. Strike is part of this archive. The book also features researchers, journalists and activists.
Strike is a visual record of the protests that began in Poland on 22 October 2020 and continued in various forms in the subsequent months, in Kartuzy, Lubaczów, Warsaw, Kraków, etc. The book, which can be said to channel a spirit of resistance, solidarity and support, examines one of the most important educational processes that contemporary Polish society has experienced. As a result of the strikes, the pursuit of political self-organization continues. But another of the book’s authors, Iwona Kurz, writes: “The final result is uncertain, but the photographic documentation of the protests constitutes a clear challenge to all our imaginations.”
Rafał Milach, born in 1978, is professor at the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School in Katowice, Poland, and at the Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2018. His works have been exhibited all over the world and he is represented in prestigious museums. His award-winning photobooks include The Winners, 7 Rooms and The First March of Gentlemen. Part of the proceeds from the sale of Strike will be donated to organizations fighting for women’s rights.