Light Keeper Photography

Document, essay, photo report.

Krystian Bielatowicz's "Milpa" is a story that emerged as a result of the meeting. For nearly four years, the author returned to Central America to document its vitality, following the footsteps of people whose lives are firmly rooted in the local tradition. At the same time, to follow the changes taking place within it - the greed with which small communities absorb Western pop culture, their helplessness in the face of the deluge of "made in China" things.

He visited cities, he reached villages high in the mountains. He was there where important religious ceremonies were held. He kept the company of those who cared for ordinary daily affairs - fresh flowers in the temple, tasty pies for dinner, firewood.

Part of the project is large-format portraits of people the author met while traveling through Mexico. Posed, often with a prop in hand, they are a testimony to the questions the author struggled with while observing the local reality. Will the fact that you can earn money from tradition allow it to survive? What can be saved in the word when the material world changes around? Is the loosening of the bond between man and nature only a temporary state? And is there something immortal in the features of the face?

The project is accompanied by the book MILPA. Photos from individual trips are built up in it. Memories come alive at unexpected moments. The experiences of one journey affect the course of the next. Cameras and ways of seeing change. Sometimes the author tries to catch something within the definition, sometimes he only notes a loose impression.

"Milpa" is an invitation to get to know - a foreign culture, yourself.

The patron of the project is Nikon Polska.

MILPA: Mayas
MILPA: Mayas

Kayum Yuk Mash. A shaman. He washes the bodies and souls of the people who ask for cleansing and healing in a nearby river. Using the local undergrowth, he prepares health mixtures. He’s a curandero. Like many other shamans, Kayum is distinguished by his physique: one half of his face is paralyzed. It’s the mark he bears.

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MILPA: Mazatecs
MILPA: Mazatecs

Cruz Alberto. Grandson of Tiburcio García. The secrets of the shamans are o en passed on to the younger generations.

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MILPA: Huichols
MILPA: Huichols

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MILPA: Mayas
MILPA: Mayas

Kayum Yuk Mash. A shaman. He washes the bodies and souls of the people who ask for cleansing and healing in a nearby river. Using the local undergrowth, he prepares health mixtures. He’s a curandero. Like many other shamans, Kayum is distinguished by his physique: one half of his face is paralyzed. It’s the mark he bears.

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MILPA's book price: PLN 50. (+ shipping PLN 25)

National Geographic Poland
National Geographic Poland

„Shaman's world” won "Best Edit" prize for photo essay feature among all international editorials of National Geographic in october 2017. Publication in NG Poland.

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National Geographic Poland
National Geographic Poland

„Shaman's world” won "Best Edit" prize for photo essay feature among all international editorials of National Geographic in october 2017. Publication in NG Poland.

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National Geographic Poland
National Geographic Poland

„Shaman's world” won "Best Edit" prize for photo essay feature among all international editorials of National Geographic in october 2017. Publication in NG Poland.

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National Geographic Poland
National Geographic Poland

„Shaman's world” won "Best Edit" prize for photo essay feature among all international editorials of National Geographic in october 2017. Publication in NG Poland.

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Adam & Eve
Adam & Eve

A photographic essay about a small village in the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland in Poland. Adam and Eve. We cannot escape them. They are inscribed in our minds, bodies, in the air, living space, in the fields. We are far from perfect. We often fail to muster enough strength to keep at our childly pursuit of a happy life. Communism shaped our reality, giving it a cheerless tint. Put on the wrong course, we shrunk like laundry in a dryer; we are as we are.

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Deer
Deer

A photographic essay about a small village in the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland in Poland. Adam and Eve. We cannot escape them. They are inscribed in our minds, bodies, in the air, living space, in the fields. We are far from perfect. We often fail to muster enough strength to keep at our childly pursuit of a happy life. Communism shaped our reality, giving it a cheerless tint. Put on the wrong course, we shrunk like laundry in a dryer; we are as we are.

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Cow
Cow

A photographic essay about a small village in the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland in Poland. Adam and Eve. We cannot escape them. They are inscribed in our minds, bodies, in the air, living space, in the fields. We are far from perfect. We often fail to muster enough strength to keep at our childly pursuit of a happy life. Communism shaped our reality, giving it a cheerless tint. Put on the wrong course, we shrunk like laundry in a dryer; we are as we are.

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Adam & Eve
Adam & Eve

A photographic essay about a small village in the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland in Poland. Adam and Eve. We cannot escape them. They are inscribed in our minds, bodies, in the air, living space, in the fields. We are far from perfect. We often fail to muster enough strength to keep at our childly pursuit of a happy life. Communism shaped our reality, giving it a cheerless tint. Put on the wrong course, we shrunk like laundry in a dryer; we are as we are.

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Adam & Eve

A photo essay about a small village in Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska in Poland. Adam and Ewa. We cannot run away from them. They are stuck in our minds, bodies, air, homes, in the field. We are not perfect. Often we do not have enough strength not to lose our childlike energy for a happy life. The communist era shaped our reality in quite gloomy colors. Our interiors, shrunken after an unfavorable course and washed, are what they are.

This collection of photos is a personal keepsake. The people photographed are neighbors. The places photographed are familiar paths.

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Shepherds

The first photos were taken in 2003. This was my first photo report. A modest student budget allowed the purchase of three rolls of slides. With a camera and a 28 mm lens, I spent two days in a shepherd's hut in Jaworki, in the Pieniny Mountains. I wanted to see and feel a place where for generations, among others, oscypka, i.e. smoked cheese made of sheep's milk. Since then, I have been going to the shepherd's hut regularly. In the meantime, I have made a short film documentary and I am running a documentary photography workshop.

After seventeen years, I am still observing the everyday life of Wojtek's and Juhas Stanisław's shepherds. And although there are several juhasas, hardly any remain for long. Living in the hall from late April to October, regardless of the weather, is not easy. Especially for young people who have a modern life to lose, which is now far from being close to nature and hard physical work.

I knew from the beginning that I would show this world this way. I did not change my perspective after building a restaurant and a ski lift next to the shepherd's hut. Even though the world is changing, I hope my romantic outlook creates a calm and empathetic understanding of the traditions and beauty of our planet. We forgot that life is vibrant with the seasons and times of the day. We are more connected with the Earth than with the world that forgets about it and constantly creates new needs and pleasures.

I dedicate the beauty that I could photograph

To my wonderful children Sebastian, Sarah, Kaja and Tymon,

My beautiful wife Rei

And to all of you who see them.

gallery

Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains
Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains

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Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains
Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains

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Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains
Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains

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Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains
Shepherds, Pieniny Mountains

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Publications

Book "Poland and its people"
Book "Poland and its people"

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Book "Poland and its people"
Book "Poland and its people"

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Book "Poland and its people"
Book "Poland and its people"

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Book "Poland and its people"
Book "Poland and its people"

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AORTA Magazine
AORTA Magazine

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AORTA Magazine
AORTA Magazine

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AORTA Magazine
AORTA Magazine

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AORTA Magazine
AORTA Magazine

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Documentary

The Mayas. Guardians of time
The Mayas. Guardians of time

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

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The Mayas. Guardians of time
The Mayas. Guardians of time

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The Mayas. Guardians of timayas-3167
The Mayas. Guardians of timayas-3167

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The Mayas. Guardians of time
The Mayas. Guardians of time

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

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Mayans. Time keepers.

A photo essay on contemporary Maya in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

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