TISSUE Project

Tomek Jankowski
Sep 25, 2013 5:01PM

Tissue is a metaphorical journey through the world of passages of life and death. It's the collective work of four people, who's goal was to approach the mystery of the evolution via the human body and it's organs. The initial concept and materials were provided by Bogna Rzad, stylist and theatre costume designer. She was fascinated with old drawings of Leonardo da Vinci and plant photography mastery of Karl Blossfeldt - both had a huge impact on our final work. It was important to find two models who could express these intellectual ideas in a dramatic way. We ended up using two professional Polish stage actors, Iza Piatkowska (Kalisz) and Tomek Graczyk (Silesian Dance Theatre, Bytom). The project evolved further, under my photographic direction. I was able to use my visual expertise, grasp of light and shadow and intimate interaction with the models to create the finished piece.

The project consists of imaginary phases of a human body's development, starting with birth (Fetus), moving to adulthood and the procreational phase (Viscera Femininum, Viscera Masculinum) and ending with death (Rigor Mortis). The shootings lasted over two months, including very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous environments. Most of the photographs were shot in roughly 2 on 2 meters in a closed water tank. For Iza, participating in this kind of shooting was very intense and ultimately a very intimate psychological and physical breakthrough. Simply put, she couldn't swim and the initial panic of being submerged in such tight space, was overwhelming. But we took our time in front of the camera, trying not to rush anything.

After the project was finished, we had the opportunity to show the work as an exhibition in a medieval cellar structure hidden under one of the parking lots in downtown Kalisz, near Poznan (Poland). Until the show, very few people knew this place even existed. The photographs were accompanied by a video showreel displayed on one of the cellar walls. The response of the public was outstanding and strongly polarized…from illumination to blasphemy. In a very conservative and religious oriented community like Poland, this was not a suprise! Take a look and decide for yourself. We look forward to developing the next stages of the project, which we hope will include a book and international exhibitions.

This is pure photography, no digital manipulation.

More photographs here:


Tomek Jankowski