Wanda Michalak “Dialogues, Dialogues” 6.05 – 5.06.2006

May 6, 2006 11:59 pm Published by
Wanda Michalak - Dialogues Dialogues Logo Gallery WM
Het portret is het meest klassieke maar ook de meest moeilijke tak van de fotografie. De eindeloze rijkdom aan menselijke types en de verscheidenheid aan gezichten is de reden waarom zoveel portretten gemaakt worden. De intentie van de fotograaf is het vangen van uitdrukkingen die niet alleen de externe eigenschappen van de geportretteerde weerspiegelen, maar ons ook iets vertellen over diens psychologische gesternte.Het portret is vaak een soort dialoog tussen fotograaf en gefotografeerde. Het is een dialoog waarin de grens tussen de aangenomen kunstmatige pose en ongebreideld, natuurlijk gedrag, moeilijk te beslechten is.

Wanda Michalak volgt deze regels niet helemaal in haar serie portretten die ze gevat “Dialogen Dialogen” heeft genoemd. Het is niet alleen zijzelf die een gesprek met de gefotografeerden aangaat, maar de gefotografeerden converseren met elkaar. Misschien niet op een directe manier -de fotos lijken geposeerd, geensceneerd zelfs- maar sommige beelden, indien aan elkaar gekoppeld, bieden ruimte voor nieuwe en onverwachte associaties.


The portrait is the most classic but also the most difficult branch of photography. The endless wealth of human types and the variety of faces is the reason why so many portraits are made. The photographer’s intention is to capture expressions which not only reflect the portrayed person’s external features but also tell us about their psychology.

A portrait can be a kind of dialogue between the photographer and the person being photographed. It is the dialogue during which the line between assumed pose and unconstrained, natural behavior is difficult.

Wanda Michalak in her series of portraits does not entirely comply with all these rules. She aptly named this series of photographs “Dialogues Dialogues” It is not just her that is having a conversation with her subjects but the subjects too are communicating among each other. Perhaps they are not doing it in a direct way – the photographs seem to be posed or even staged – but some of these pictures when juxtaposed do open new and unexpected associations.

De tentoonstelling zal te bezichtigen zijn vanaf 6 mei t/m 5 juni in de Gallery WM, Elandsgracht 35, Amsterdam. De opening vindt plaats op zaterdag 6 mei van 17.00 tot 19.00 uur.


Wanda Michalak – “Dialogues Dialogues”

Dialogues, Dialogues.

Something about portrait photography, especially Wanda’s.

Maybe photography was invented to make sharper and quicker images of people. Daguerre, one of the inventors of photography used to be a professional painter of portraits. Fox Talbot the other official inventor of a photographic system was an enthusiastic painter of portraits. Isn’t it a fact that our species has always had the need to portrait our fellowmen? And isn’t it a fact that we are so vain that at the other hand we are often eager to be portrayed?

Most people buy photo camera’s to make images of their beloved ones. And in fact many professional photographers are a bit in love with the people they depict. That’s the case with Wanda. Watching these pictures today it’s quite obvious to me that she must have been in love with the people she portrayed. (That makes me happy; she must have been in love with me! I’m one of her models today!)

Wanda is making friendly, respectful portraits. They also express warm feelings towards the portrayed persons.

Wanda Michalak - Models and Students in WarsawThere’s a sense of logic in the photos today. Take for instance the picture of Models and Students in Warsaw. It’s quite logic that the girl in the middle is completely in the nude amongst a bunch of fully dressed people. It’s not because of the title, but because of composition and the light in the picture. And the way the photo was printed. And the fact that all people in the picture are almost equally long. That makes them equal to each other, dressed or undressed.

It’s the way Wanda approaches her models that makes these photo portraits special. Two weeks ago I was at her opening with coloured pictures of moon, made everywhere on the world. You should go there if you haven’t seen them yet (*). Then you can also see that the same kind of feeling that the portrayed people express today can be watched in her moon-pictures. It is hard to find the words to describe that feeling. It’s something like a mature, serious and profound look at the world and its people. But one can also feel the look of the child Wanda once was.

Every new exhibition is some kind of a milestone in one development as a photographer. In this exhibition we can see a gradual change toward a more profoundness. In former shows of Wanda we saw a lot of playing with the medium photography itself. Those kinds of pictures are still here today. For instance Model and Student both wearing fur. The fur on the man’s chest is the fur on the woman’s head.


Wanda Michalak – “Dialogues Dialogues”


If we look at the photo of Zuzia and Marzena, we can see something else. There’s a glimpse of the secret of life and death in the way mother and daughter are caught in the picture. Wanda MichalakBut one can also feel the deep feeling of warm love that is between them. This picture is also very aesthetic. Somehow Wanda is more in control of her image then ever before. She manages to make portraits which fit in a classical black and white tradition. They are natural, Wanda doesn’t use artificial light. She has her own way of printing: heavy blacks, without losing light subtle tones in the picture.

In a portrait there’s always tension between the directions of the photographer and the own pose of one who’s been photographed. Wanda plays with this tension. She succeeds in letting the portrayed people look in a very natural way. We look at real people today. I think that’s worth a compliment.

Wanda is calling her exhibition Dialogues Dialogues. I think that’s a good title. Somehow these pictures speak. And if you look and listen carefully, you can look and talk back! There’s also a dialogue between the pictures themselves. I could advice you to come back to the gallery later.
When you are alone with these pictures you can feel the dialogue better than today, now the gallery is so crowded.

Well, I’m going to stop my monologue. But not before I mention that the hanging of the photos was done by Bob van den Berg. How pictures hang at an exhibition can break the result or uplift it. Today, well see for yourself. Wanda is very satisfied and grateful.

Ladies and gentlemen I sometimes call Wanda wwww. World wide woman Wanda. That feeling of the wide world is present in lots of Wanda’s photographs. But these photos express something else. When I look at the portrayed people today I almost feel at home. I feel very close with the depicted people and with the artist, Wanda. And that’s the greatest compliment I can make.

Amsterdam May 6th 2006.
Jaap Bijsterbosch.

(*) Exhibition “Bonsoir Madame la Lune” in Gallery Six Images, Boomstraat 6, 1015 LC, Amsterdam, running until July 15, 2006. See also <www.six-images.nl>


Wanda Michalak – “Dialogues Dialogues”