Czeslaw Siegieda, born the son of Polish immigrants to England in Leicestershire in 1954, showed an interest in photography from an early age. From his teens he photographed the Polish community he grew up in, moving through fêtes and funerals with an ease only available to an insider.
For decadess the archive remained private until, in 2018, two years after his mother’s death, Siegieda began to publish his work online, drawing the attention of notable photographers such as Martin Parr and Mark Power.
The images in the book, taken between 1974 and 1981, show the staunchly Catholic traditions and national customs so faithfully maintained by the community as they rebuilt their lives following the trauma suffered during and after the Second World War. Whilst many of Siegieda’s images display a sharp eye for the absurd and all are marked by a visible affection for his subjects, his photographs of his close family are notable for their intimacy.
His mother Helena, though physically robust, looks careworn and vulnerable, clutching a bucket of vegetable peelings or a picture of the Virgin Mary like a life raft whilst her husband (Czesław’s stepfather) hovers in the background, as if ready to lend a hand if needed but not wishing to intrude.
The book contains over 80 images from this archive, with an essay by author and historian Jane Rogoyska as well as a foreword by Martin Parr. The book is available in an edition of 600, including 30 copies with a signed and limited pigment print. You find it here.
RRB Photobooks is a photobook publisher and specialist bookseller based in Bristol UK. They mainly publish overlooked, forgotten and underappreciated British photographers of the 1970s and 80s.