Dimensions: 13 x 9.5 in.
How did forms and signs that we still use today come to be in our culture and visual tradition? In his latest project, Arché, award-winning photographer Kacper Kowalski explores the universal relationship between man and nature.
Kacper Kowalski (b. 1977, Poland) has been observing and photographing landscape from an aerial perspective for over 20 years. At an altitude of 500 feet [approx. 150 meters] above the ground, he is exposed to all kinds of sensations: the waves of hot and cold air surround him, while he pushes through the clouds with his gyrocopter or paraglider. He feels the vibrations, the wind and humidity. It is in those surroundings - paradoxically - that he finds a peace of mind. The state of absolute concentration, required to simultaneously fly and photograph, leaves his mind free and calm. This is when the sensations from the outside world and the landscape beneath him start to communicate with the language that reveals itself on the photographs - the language of symbols, shapes, and patterns.
In his recent project, Arché, Kowalski takes further the exploration that started with the award-winning series: Side Effects and Over. In Side Effects he concentrated on human activity and its relationship with the surroundings, whereas Over is a silent exploration of his emotional states, expressed through the abstracted landscapes photographed in the winter. His latest project, Arché, is an even more universal tale of connection between humans and nature, and a reflection over the interconnection between the past and the present that reveals itself not only in our spiritual life, but also is expressed in nature itself.
“I have been photographing shapes that are appearing on ice throughout the winter. When methane is released from the bottom of a frozen lake it pierces through the thin ice and melts the snow on the surface. When the wind blows the ice sheets move and start acting like a siphon. Though there is no oxygen under the ice sheet there is still life: fish push through the ice to catch a bit of air, allowing water to emerge. Foxes gather at these ice holes, hoping for an easy meal and leaving behind their footsteps in the snow. Sometimes the icy surface is covered in smudges which appear when the thickening ice breaks under its own weight, allowing water to leak through the cracks. These icy shapes are elusive – morphing into different shapes, disappearing under fresh snow or melting and transforming.”, explains Kowalski the process of creating the photographs.