Tutor’s birthday (from the Imago series), 2016, pigment print / paper Moab Junip ((ed. 3 + 1 AP)), 76 cm x 100 cm
The boys in the portraits of Zuza Krajewska do not live at home with their parents and brothers and sisters, but in a juvenile detention center. How they got there? Because of non-compliance with the rules of conduct of our society. One beat up someone, another one has been stealing, since he was a child, another is a rapist. If they had been adults, they would have been sent to prison.
The portraits taken by Zuza Krajewska are full of dualities. The figures who look at us from the photos seem to be on one hand – childish, clumsy and innocent, on the other hand strikingly mature, as if they have experienced life. Their bodies still look like children’s; thin necks, smooth torsos dressed in clothing that is a little too big. The hairless faces sometimes show the waggish smile of the clash brawler, another time a grin of pursed lips revealing a ruthless stubbornness. The eyes of a boy in one photo sparkle with enthusiasm and lively optimism, from another image a teenager looks at us, his eyes tell us that “he has already seen everything”.
Each of them has short hair, wears similar clothes; in some way they got rid of individual attributes, trying to become part of a group. A pack of young wolves. In these photos there is also something else to see; unspoken solidarity with her heroes. Krajewska, one of the best Polish photographers, does not look down on her models, she does not judge them. Rather, she sees her own mistakes, hesitations and fears in them. Because maybe we all remain teenagers who only pretend to be adults forever?