Side Effects


Photography project documenting man's natural environment.

I am a pilot and a photographer. I like flying over familiar territory. It gives me time for reflection and cautious study of the landscape. I usually fly over the Pomerania region, close to Gdańsk, my hometown. Sometimes curiosity makes me venture further, beyond the recognizable. When I return, I spot changes. I take off, pursue, watch closely and take pictures.

What interests me most in this project is answering the question: What is humans’ natural environment? Is what I see a natural scenery inhabited by people or an environment altered to suit our needs? Has the forest I’m looking at always been there or was it planted to supply timber and is no more natural than a potato field? What is the nature of nature?

I want my photographs to convey the broad spectrum of human activity. I try not to judge what I see. The photos themselves are documents, evidence in the case. I am content if they become food for thought. Much depends on who’s looking and making an assessment. An archeologist and a farmer will notice different things in a landscape. I want Side Effects to provide material for an argument on what is good and bad, necessary and optional in the relationship of human beings with nature.

Side Effects is a project created entirely in Poland. It’s been evolving since 2007. More than a finite set of photographs, it is a method of discussing aspects of our civilization. The project consists of many smaller subprojects and series, each one telling a separate story: Seasons, Toxic Beauty, Flood from Above, Sun and Fun, Depth of Winter, Toys for Boys and other. The latest pictures, from 2018 and 2019, were made in Silesia, Białowieża, Pomeranian forests damaged by a hurricane and in areas designated for wild boar hunting.

Side Effects are a book, a series of gallery exhibitions and a piano concerto composed by Jarosław Kapuściński and performed by Jenny Q. Chai. Single photographs are available as illustrations for press articles. I cooperate with the British agency Panos Pictures and Polish photo agency FORUM.

The project was first exhibited in 2012, at the Polish Institute in Dusseldorf. In January 2014, in cooperation with Leica Gallery in Warsaw, I published a book entitled “Side Effects”. The project was awarded second prize in the World Press Photo 2015, in the long-term project category.

Its curator is Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka.

Side effects: Before your first flight, please study the stories of aviators or consult an old pilot. You may lose your life, health or loved ones. Most likely, flying will change your life, as it is an incurable condition.