Multi-storey blocks of flats emerging among fields and meadows, or nostalgic panoramas of the Old Town seen from a bird’s eye view – this was Lublin in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jan Magierski took incredible shots of the city. His never-before-published photographs will be on display in Lublin’s Hartwig Alley in September. The pictures come from the collections of the National Digital Archives (NDA).
When: September 2021, outdoor exhibition available at all times
Where: The Hartwig Alley
Official opening: 9 September (Thursday), 16.00
The exhibition will open on 9 September, accompanied by talks by Katarzyna Kalisz, the Head of the NDA’s Photographic Collection Department and Łukasz Karolewski, an archivist from the Photographic Collections Department. They will discuss acquiring the collections for NDA and working on the photographs of both Jan and Stanisław Magierski.
When: 9 September, 16.30
Where: Próba Cafe, Grodzka 5a
Jan Magierski’s photographs are invaluable historical records showing how Lublin has changed over the last decades. His rich photographic archive, donated to the National Digital Archives, contains over 30,000 black-and-white and colour negatives and slides depicting landscapes and objects he documented. Selected photographs will be available for viewing starting from 3 September 2021. They will include views of the expanding city, street races, photos documenting Pope John Paul II’s visit, and beautiful panoramas of the Old Town.
Jan Magierski was born in 1936 in Lublin, and this is also where he died in March 2021. He was a university teacher, photographer, and expert on the history of Lublin photography who also penned articles on photography. His father, Stanisław Jacek Magierski, a pharmacy store owner before the war, was one of the leading figures of Lublin’s interwar photography. In his store at 25 Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, he ran the most modern photographic laboratory at the time.
Jan Magierski began his adventure with photography in 1960 as a student of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University. In 1961, he became a member of the Lublin Photographic Society. Between 1966-1972, he was the chairman of the photo club “Zamek”. In the 1970s, he organised a series of Polish National Exhibitions “Konfrontacje” / “Confrontations”. From 1977-1981, he was a member of the Committee for Nature Photography Exhibitions by the General Board of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society.
Magierski took part in four scientific expeditions to Spitsbergen, where he took photographs while conducting research. The photos from these expeditions later formed the exhibition called “The landscapes of Spitsbergen”.
Jan Magierski focused on nature, landscape and documentary photography. His major works include the series “Portraits and landscapes”, “Polish nature photography”, “The festival of Folk Bands and Singers in Kazimierz”, “Between the Vistula and the Bug”, “Polish landscape masters”. He took part in over 60 individual and collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad. He won many awards, including FIAP 1992 in Barcelona and Memorial Maria Luisa in Infiesto, 2002 for “The Polar Night”.
Furthermore, he was an active opposition activist. Between 1978-1980, he cooperated with the periodical “Spotkania” and other publications. From 1982-1989, he was the publisher, printer and head of distribution of the prospectus of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarity” of the Central-East Region. He also edited, printed and distributed the independent magazine “Miesięcznik. Opinie, Komentarze, Analizy” for NZZ “Solidarity” Lublin.
In 1977, he received a landscape photography award. In 1979 and 1999, he was awarded the Distinguished Cultural Service Award, in 1988 – the Golden Cross of Merit, and in 2001 the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. He was also awarded the Fryderyk Kremser Honorary Award (1988), the Silver Badge of the General Board of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (2003) and the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity (2017). On the initiative of the late Alina Rudnicka, a volunteer for National Digital Archives’, in 2019/2020, Jan Magierski donated his photographic archive to NDA. His donation also included the works of his father, Stanisław – 2401 exceptional black and white photographs on negatives, on film in 36 x 24 mm format, and 20 positive prints, most taken before 1939. Stanisław Magierski’s Photographic Archive will soon be available online at szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl.
The exhibition “Lublin in Jan Magierski’s photographs” has been organised by Workshops of Culture in Lublin in cooperation with the National Digital Archives.