Led by: Łukasz Wojtusik
The foundation of the photography project “Tu byliśmy” (“Here We Were”) is an attempt of symbolic reconstruction of the Chassidic world, mysterious and fascinating by its spirituality and philosophy. All of the photographs that are part of this series are contemporary photographs taken in the sites, where the Hasidim are connected historically and identify themselves with. These were places in which they had lived, but also places in which they had stayed at and on which they had impact, even indirectly, on local Jewish communities.
Within these photographs, Tadeusz Rolke made an interesting attempt to transfer the climate and the atmosphere, which could have surrounded this community. This is why all of the photographed objects, houses, street corners, backyards, elements of architecture or landscape, have something more than just an imagined layer of material reality.
In a special way with his documentary record, Rolke continues what was captured right before the outbreak of the Second World War by another photographer of the Jewish fate, Roman Vishniac, though contemporary photographs lack people. It is merely a very delicate attempt of capturing the moment, a symbolic existence that no one had been able to predict or sense, and which will be fading away with passing time.
Tadeusz Rolke – b. 1929 in Warsaw. He is a prominent Polish photographer, who worked as a reporter in the Warsaw of the 1950’s and 1960’s (magazines “Stolica”, “Polska”), fashion photographer (“Ty i ja”), artist, lecturer (Warsaw School of Photography, University of Warsaw), and publisher (co-creator of edition.fotoTapeta). After the Warsaw Uprising, he was deported to Germany as a forced laborer. After the war, he studied the History of Art in Lublin and Warsaw. He was imprisoned during the Stalinist era. After 1989, he was cooperating with “Gazeta Wyborcza.” In the 1970’s, he lived in Hamburg where he worked for such magazines as “Stern,” “Geo,” and “Art,” and for various theater festivals in Italy, France, and the Netherlands. He travelled to multiple countries, e.g. the Soviet Union, France, Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Israel, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Ukraine. He is the author of numerous exhibitions and photo albums. His works are part of numerous public and private collections. He has been photographing continuously until the present-day.