This is the winning book at Unseen Dummy Award 2017. It’s a complain against the extensive logging of the last remaining primeval forest of Europe.
For centuries, and against all odds, Polandʼs Białowieża Forest withstood the barbarian human behaviour within its grounds yet back in 2016, under the pretence of its protection, the new Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko has approved a large-scale logging in the Forest’s unprotected zone. When so much is being said about the environment in recent years, and our exigent and much-overdue need to protect it, Europe’s last primeval forest is being slain while the world seems to look away. Cry of an echo is my protest, my personal voice of opposition, the images a metaphor for my torment. It is my silent shout.
The images, which have been shot on film during a month-long residency as a volunteer at the Białowieża National Park in Spring 2016, are scans of silverprint enlargements that were intentionally mistreated by masking, uneven development, chemical contamination and severe bleaching. I have also worked with India Ink, which is often used for retouching negatives, in attempt to retouch out parts of the images, mostly the trees.
While all the photographs and resulting prints are indeed black-and-white, some of them have changed colour due to said contamination and bleaching. The final 46 images are an edit from over 200 silverprints created in this way. All of the images were created between May and December 2016 and the project has been concluded with a handmade artist book. Spanning across 96 pages, the volume is printed on Japanese sumi-e paper, traditionally utilised in the Far Eastern brush painting dealing mostly with subjects taken from nature. Extremely thin and delicate but nevertheless robust and long-lasting, this paper’s unique quality further references that of the woods.