Karolina Jonderko was born in Rydułtowy in Silesia. She begun her adventure withphotography when she was 18 years old, working with her father’s old Zenith. She graduated from Warsaw Film School and the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre, specialising in photography. She was a participant of the Napo Images program, which aims to support young photographers. What distinguishes her photographs is their huge emotional load, and their simplicity, which coincides with their message, and even reinforces it. As she stresses herself, her photographs cannot be appreciated fully without the inscriptions beneath them. They are their integral part. They sketch out the message and help see the real sense of the work. Her photography cycles include Self-Portrait with My Mother, Self-Portrait without Face, Lost, Silesian Fun fair, If I Lay Here and Young Coal Miners.
The most important project in her body of work (for herself in particular) is Self-Portrait with My Mother. The idea originated from the huge yearning and void in the artist’s heart after her mother’s death. Photography became an ideal way to channel emotions resulting from trauma. She took a cycle of photographs, characterised by a relatively simple composition, which draws the viewer in. The author
poses in the photographs dresses in her late mother’s everyday clothes. The viewer’s eye is drawn to the bare feet, which constitute a certain counterpoint to the full attire. Thanks to the clothes the mother becomes present on the photographs again.
Self-Portrait without Face is a series comprising of three photographs. We see the author, but with her face obscured by hair. She is not the focus of the photograph, but rather the objects associated with her mother. The first one includes a painted portrait of the mother, an old family photograph and a rosary hanging from it. The second one features a bathrobe hanging from a hanger on the door, and the third in cludes a religious picture over a bed.
A wish to return to the happy days of childhood is the pretext behind the creation of the Silesian Fun Fair series. The author wanted to relive the joy and carelessness characteristic of childhood. Unfortunately during her visit the fun fair was practically empty, there was no hustle and bustle, no laugher which seems to be natural for such places. The image of this place became the subject of her work. It was a kind of an act of facing reality, realising that the times of carelessness have passed.
Another big project in the artist’s portfolio is called Lost. Although it is also about losing someone important, it does in in a different way. This time it is a cycle about missing persons, those who left one day never to come back. The works feature a juxtaposition of empty rooms – symbolising the emptiness they left behind, and the hazy, blurred portraits of the missing. The author confessed that the idea came to her when she was at a train station and she noticed many missing persons notices. By doing this project, the artist wanted to draw attention to the problem and break through the social indifference caused by the fact that we see such notices every day.
A different theme is touched upon in the If I Lay Here cycle which is the artist’s ongoing project since 2010. It comprises of a series of photographs executed in various places around the world with the author laying in the foreground. The photographs are not only reports about places visited by the author, but rather they present of a series of changes
occurring in the author’s life such as the colour and the length of hair, changes in body-shape, clothes or style.
With her work entitled Young Coal Miners the artist decided to deal with the stereotype of the coal miner. She took photographs of young men and their families who are forced to live in fear for their loved ones. Those men come from mining families, working at the mine is part of a natural order of things for them. In the photos we find out about their passions and the way they spend their free time.
Karolina Jonderko called the hope of Polish photography has been awarded on contest such as
Grand Press Photo (2013), Photo Annual Awards (2013), International Photography Awards (2013) or Ideas Tap & Magnum Photos Award (2014).
Karolina Jonderko website
translated by Ewa Tomankiewicz