MAGDA BIERNAT (Polish b. 1978)
Space, light, color and the relationship of elements to each other are the key components of my photographs. Guided by an interest in urbanism and habitation, I focus my work on the built environment and its influence on global societies.
Inhabited tells the story about the Man and Nature, the relationship between the landscape and its inhabitants. However the story of the places depicted here is told without the human subjects that created them.
The project came as a result of my explorations into the world's private and public spaces searching for differences and commonalities. Between 2007 and 2008 I spent a year traveling around the world, taking photographs across 17 countries.
The world's cultures may be very different, but when seen through a consistent lens in terms of simple geometry, the complexities of cultural variation fall away.
Here I turn my camera onto the ordinary details of everyday life, past the complexities of race, religion or cultural differences and onto the similarities of the mundane. I look into the quiet spaces where people sleep, wait, or work. My first priority was to examine the design and atmosphere of culturally diverse spaces and as I did so I saw beyond diversity to a consistency in the way we lead our lives.
The buildings and interiors I've shot serve the same purpose no matter where they are found. Stripped of obvious cultural references and detached from their surroundings, they gain a kind of disorienting universality. The places are unoccupied but on closer inspection, items like a crumpled pillow or a half full bottle of water imply the human presence. By carefully composing each frame and eliminating the people who otherwise would help distinguish the place geographically, I wanted the spaces to become anonymous. This anonymity forces the viewer to imagine, "Who lives here? What do they do?" and most importantly, briefly switch places with the absent occupants and ask, "Could this be me?"