Christopher Grabowski “The Gift” 30.11 – 23.12.2000

November 11, 2000 4:21 pm Published by


Photographs taken on the north side of the Vancouver Island British Columbia, Canada, 1999 – 2000
Around the globe, the hunting-gathering cultures are almost gone, most of their languages and their knowledge about the world will disperse in the next generation. On the coast of British Columbia once inhabited by rich and complex hunting-gathering cultures, there are no real shamans left as far as I know. I looked therefore for the shamans inside those who live there now. I believe that in each of us there is a part that wants to know the nature as intimately as the shamans did and there is a part that wants to control and profit.
The control and profit fared much better over the last few thousand years but ultimately the humanity will need both parts in perfect balance to survive on this planet. 

Christopher Grabowski, Nov. 2000

Christopher Grabowski
Vancouver Island British Columbia, Canada, 1999 – 2000 back
Why is photojournalism not dead? I think it is because of the particular attributes of the still photography that in the hands of some people makes it possible to freeze atomic sections of time when our human nature stays exposed. Are these time sections also the “decisive moments” of Cartier Bresson?
I do not know, but it is absolutely magic when your attention is drawn to the picture and suddenly all the perceptual noise stops and you know beyond words that there is something about yourself there. 

Christopher Grabowski

Biography [1]
Christopher Grabowski 
[Born in Warsaw in 1954]:
I won my first prize in photojournalism at the age of 21 from the Polish Press Photo Contest. At the time I was in the apprenticeship program for photojournalism at the polish sport weekly magazine Sportowiec in Warsaw. My assignement was to photograph a marathon run. Ten years later in 1986, an article published in the Polish magazine Fotografia stated the following: “As a photojournalist Christopher Grabowski has a particular understanding of the dynamics of the situation and rarely goes with the pack. When following the marathon run, he just took one snapshot of the winner and then went straight into the dressing room where other runners were taking their shoes off. His editor was not pleased initially, but he was first to congratulate Christopher when the story won an award”.
In 1981 to further develop my knowledge of photojournalism, I traveled to New York to take workshops at the International Center of Photography. Pictures that I took during this trip were subject to two exhibitions, “Automn in New York” and “Photograffiti und Photgrafien” that were shown in several galleries in Poland and Germany.

In 1987 I became a member of the Polish Union of Art Photographers, a relatively selective organization which admitted less than 400 members during the first 40 years of its existence. In the absence of a photography department at the art academies in Poland at the time, and in recognition of a lengthy and elaborate process of admission set up by the union, the Polish Ministry of Culture and Art recognized the membership of the Polish Union of Art Photographers as tantamount to a Master Degree in Fine Arts.

In 1991 I joined a group of Toronto photographers called “Photosensitive” working on the project “It’s in their Eye” which focused on the project “It’s in their Eye” which focused on Toronto homeless and was nominated for a Michener Award.

Since 1994 I have freelanced for the Global and Mail. In 1996 I received a Silver Award in Photojournalism from the Advertising and Design Club of Canada for illustrating a story on the Vancouver Downtown Eastside titled Canada’s Overdose Capital. Two years later, I took a leave from paid assignements for three months and concentrated on the project Facing the Eastside, portraying people living in the poorest urban neighbourhood in Canada.
The exhibition Facing the Eastside opened in November 1998 in Vancouver. Working on Facing the EastsideI learned something I had intuitively considered for a longtime – journalists are always in danger of creating a phony consensus over issues concerning poverty, drug addiction, sexual orientation, etc., simply by repeating particular cliches long enough. Since compassion has a long history of being abused as well, a very strong balancing act is what makes some journalists better than others.
In 1999 I received the Michener-Deacon Fellowship, as the first photojournalist to date, to work on a documentary project focused on BC coastal communities. 



Curriculum Vitae
Christopher Grabowski

Born in Warsaw in 1954. Photographer

Frequent contributor to Globe and Mail, Report on Business magazine and Geist magazine in Canada. His photographs have also appeared in The Washington Post, El Mundo, Utne Reader, Pozytyw and several other magazines in Poland. Grabowski has received numerous awards in photojournalism, among them: Advertising and Design Club of Canada Award in Photojournalism and the Polish award Zlocisty Jantar (twice). Grants from the Roland Michener Foundation, the Polish Ministry of Culture and Arts, the BC Arts Council, the Vancouver Foundation and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. His work has been exhibited in Canada, Germany, Poland. 
Grants and Awards
Michener-Deacon Fellowship, 1999; British Columbia Arts Council: Project Grant, Facing the eastside 1998; The Vancouver Foundation: Facing the Eastside, 1998; Advertising and Design Club of Canada: Siver Award in Photojournalsim, Photo story Canada’s Overdose Capital published in the Globe and Mail, 1996; etc.

Selected Exhibitions
Facing the Eastside
Portraits of residents of Vancouver Downtown eastside
Roundhouse Community Center, Vancouver, 1998
It’s in Their Eyes
Homeless people in Toronto
Group Exhibition, City Hall, Toronto and other locations in Ontario, 1992
Licht Blicke
Sport photography
Group exhibition, Hamelin, Germany, 1991
Photograffiti und Photographien
Portrait of New Yorkers and Manhatten landscapes
Amerika Haus, Hannover, Germany, 1989
Automn in New York and Other Stories
Photo stories from Harlem and Greenwich Village
Galerie fur Photographie, Braunschweig, Germany, 1988
Four Seasons
Commercial and art calenders
Union of Polish Art Photographers, warsaw, Poland, 1988
Landscapes of the World
Group Exhibition, Gallery Zacheta, Warsaw, Poland, 1987
Automn in New York and Other Stories
Friends of Arts Society, Warsaw, Poland, 1986


Christopher Grabowski
Vancouver, Canada
Tel: +1 604 215-3630 / Cel. +1 604 506-3655
Warsaw, Poland
Tel: + 48 22 827-7155