The meeting with the photographer will include a panel consisting of ethnographer and chief curator of the Regional Museum of Tarnow, Adam Bartosz, and anthropologist, Prof Jonathan Webber.
The album “RETURNS…” is a collection of excellent artistic photographs, a transcript of passion and many dedicated years of work. Conveyed, is an image of a world which had long thought to have vanished, both in memory and physicality.
The Hassidim of Bobowa, Lelów, Góra Kalwaria, Rymanów or Leżajsk – we tend to know them now only through photographs of the past century. However, Agnieszka Traczewska is a contemporary photographer who documents descendants of the Hassidim who visit the remaining sites of their Jewish heritage, particularly: graveyards, tombs of famous tzaddikim, and synagogues. Her photographs depict two worlds meeting – one which is marked by stone tombstones, and the other full of life. The protagonists’ similar appearances to their ancestors, make us feel as if we have traveled back in time.
The author depicts journeys during which Hassidim from all over the world visit tombs of famous tzaddikim on the anniversary of their deaths (“yohrzeit”). They believe that on this special day the soul of the tzaddik returns to Earth and that through God’s intercession, they receive a blessing.
Agnieszka Traczewska was accepted into the world which is usually impenetrable. Her photographs not only possess great historic value, but also paint intimate portraits of people who experience the mystery of faith.
Since 2006 she has been creating series of photographs devoted to Hassidim who come to Poland in order to visit tombs of the tzaddikim; also, she portrays the worlds of Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and the US. She received the 2014 National Geographic traveler Photo award for her photograph “First Time”. She is also the producer of numerous television programmes (e.g. „Rozmowy na koniec wieku” and „Rozmowy na nowy wiek”), and documentaries (e.g. “Pokolenie ‘89”, “Zwyczajny marzec”, “Dziennik.pl”, “Noc z Generałem”). She has also produced biographical documentaries about: Czesław Miłosz, Leszek Kołakowski, Paweł Jasienica, Jerzy Turowicz, Adam Michnik, Ryszard Krynicki; and documentaries on Jewish themes: „Wiera Gran”, „Dworzec Gdański”, „Była wojna”, „Bruno Schulz.”