Paul Valery, French poet and essayist stated in one of his essays that "... it's more useful to talk about something what we've experienced than to pretend that the knowledge can be completely impersonal and the observation can exist without the observer. As a matter of fact there is no theory which wouldn't be an elaborated piece of someone's autostatement." Photography in individual techniques is a piece of my statement. For me it's as important as being a photographer in The Theatre Laboratory of Jerzy Grotowski, when it was in the last phase of its activity in Poland. I was working and spending time with people who were strongly motivated and revolting against things connected with social life as well as these connected with metaphysics. On this background the emptiness of reality of so called the seventies' photography, with all-powerful rulling and courtous art of photomedialism, could release only a attitude of being an outsider and the choice of an individual way in photography. Grotowski used to say, "One should be separate in art".


I tried to narrow my attitude of revolt against the found reality down to the process of working and photographic artisanship.
For me getting to know the craftsmanship in every detail, systematically, was the function of a real, not an apparent or formal professionalism.
The individual anarchy and symbolic revolt were also the determinants of actions within the photographic process - against common programme of the photographic materials' chemistry. First works made in individual techniques came into being at the beginning of the eighties, as the additional efect of getting to know by searching; as the element of the "alchemic practice" or "stating the obvious". They were phenomenons ruled by the coincidence, which couldn't be planned or repeated, because they were unique and isolated. So the coincidence had to be appreciated as the "groundless necessity" (Immanuel Kant) because it's important for the development of photography (Schultz, Daguerre) and practised in the modern art.

A coincidence doesn't have to be equal to freedom; and critical choice should be up to author's requirements. Where are the "individual techniques" and other techniques in photography driving at? In times of changes in formula and in definition of photography, the pictures made in individual techniques can be a time machine, which will carry us to the future. At the end of the century and millennium the rising meaning of digital photography will bring changes similar to these brought in the XIX-th century by dagerotype and talbotype. But now the changes will come much faster. We should think what will be left and what kind of photography will find its place and its development in the future. Today the speed offered by the digital photography predestines it to be the tool for commercial and press photography. It doesn't matter that digital pictures don't have "the aura", they don't have to. For the artist, the photographer, who creates in private, it will become a dreamed medium, free from commerce and hurry. The picture of ideological spaces, symbolic and spiritual, fulfilling at the same time the postulate of "the aura" of the work of art through its individuality.
The uniqueness of working in individual techniques is a fulfilled dream of photography and the challenge for the pictures made in digital way.


Maciej Stawinski, 2001