Born under Communism, Waldemar Zagorski spent his childhood in search of an exodus. Escape allowed his passion for light to emerge, and the contrast between his adult life in North America and his childhood in Europe is fundamentally burned into every image he produces.
Some of his primary inspirations are the patience and technical mastery of Ansel Adams, the surrealism and subconscious messages of Salvador Dali, the iconic staging and edginess of Helmut Newton, the use of light and character study of Yousuf Karsh, and the boundless creative space in the music of Tom Waits and Miles Davis.
At first glance, his “Abandoned” collection has an easy allure, highlighting the contrast between the delicate body and the harsh, dilapidated background. A deeper gaze in to this series reveals the emotional connection to lost spaces. The human form sharpens the viewer’s attention, and allows us to see both beauty and mortality more clearly.
The juxtaposition of the subjects and their urban tableau in the “Urbanus” collection disrupts the familiar by highlighting the archetypal human form in unexpected contemporary settings.
The “Headless & Figure” collections are abstract and experimental works allowing full control over the light and the shadows. Studio work creates an intimate connection between lens, light and the subject. In the outdoor collections we are at the mercy of the elements, forcing us to be in conscious and creative relationship to changing conditions.
The “Nurture” collection explores purity, protection, and balance between human and nature. Each form becomes a nymph, expressing our integration with earth and invites us to mourn inevitable loss.
Once the human subject is removed from the frame, the journey into the solitude of nature begins.
Witnessing the birth of the environmentalist movement and the incessant pursuit of sustainability, the “Harmony” collection searches for remnants of times passed, when we lived in harmony with nature. Like the engulfed structures, we too will one day return to the land.
Desolate spaces can have a compelling quality: the “Barren” collection invites us into revelation of the metamorphic geometry of nature. Challenging the rule of thirds, using precise square cropping with both conventional composition and more intrusive, abstract perspectives, these images open doors of perception.
The “Solitude” series signifies a return to innocence. A fundamental reconnection with the earth, it is a regenerative place for both soul and creative vision. These humbling images are a vivid reminder of both a person’s significance and insignificance – how we are so small, yet collectively so incredibly dangerous.
Waldemar Zagorski’s equipment ranges from 35mm to large format, both film and digital. He uses Photoshop for editing, and is experimenting with the wet plate process. His medium is primarily in black and white images for the purity, structural emphasis, and timelessness they possess. However, he is not afraid of colour when the context calls for it.
His images create a photographic genesis; a sometimes ethereal, sometimes apocalyptic exploration of shadow and its deep, spiritual transgression into light.