Maciej is a polish photographer who now lives in London. He holds a Phd in science but his first love is photography and it is this area that his work is best known. I chose Maciej as his street photography is different from both Joel Meyerowitz and Matt Stuart.
St Mary’s street in Cardiff is like the central point for night life in the city. Most cities have clubs, bars and convenience food outlets are located together and Maciej chose to head out in the evening to capture images of life in the evening.
The above images shows a man who is spattered with blood. His shirt is ripped and torn and his body language suggests he is exhausted. I would suspect this is towards the end of the night, litter is strewn around and other party goers stand idly by. What I like about this is that this really is an everyday scene but one many of us never see. Violence has become an ever-increasing issue as our relationship with alcohol moves to new extremes. The casual nature of the other people in the photo shows how we are becoming immunised against drunken brutality. Maciej seems to be able to make the best use of what little light is available and makes a good choice to include the environment to tell the story. Despite the wide angle he has also managed to create a shallow depth of field and this has helped to isolate his subject from his surroundings. I would image that he has used a dslr camera with a full frame sensor, such as a Canon 5D Mark II and a fast f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens.
Every night across the country we choose to alter our personalities so drastically that we can become unrecognisable and those changes are very unpredictable. Inebriation removes our inhibitions, exaggerates our emotions and suppresses our rationality. Maciej took the opportunity to document this aspect of our lives.
The above image shows a man trying to pick up a dropped baked bean from the floor of the shop where he bought his food. Maciej has captured one of those moments where a person is behaving in a manner completely contrary to how he would normally conduct himself. The man is stopping awkwardly almost spilling other chips from his tray, what make it even more ludicrous is that he is attempting to lampoon his food with his tiny plastic fork. The angle Maciej uses for this pulls the reader across the page from left to right. You are initially drawn to the to the drunken man and as you read across your eye is taken by the strong leading line which takes you down towards the other people out for the night. Again the use of the light available is quite remarkable.
Drinking to unconsciousness is perhaps the most dangerous. Choking on your own vomit as well as the massive internal damage that alcohol can do to the body is killing people.
This image shows a person lying on the floor amongst all the rubbish, it seems somewhat fitting that a person who treats their body like trash should end up lying with it. The contrast is fascinating, the woman is neatly dressed wearing no doubt expensive clothes and this is at such odds with her environment. Unlike many of the people featured in Maciej’s images this was staged with the subject posing for the picture.
As night falls we head into the city for our amusement and entertainment. We dress up, dress down and sometimes we even dress as super heroes. The people we become are so far removed from who we are and Maciej has found a way of showing us an incredible insight into our strange idea of fun.
The above image is my favourite. As a stand alone image it is quite bizarre but when included as part of Maciej’s Cardiff After Dark series it takes on all new meaning. For me it says that not even a super hero can save us from ourselves. The man dressed as superman cuts a lonely figure as he heads off along a deserted street at the end of the night. The double yellow lines in the foreground lead in perfectly to the subject and the lighting is superb, almost as if he is heading off onto the sunset.