Sackcloth and Ashes is the result of a lifetime of work by Polish photographer Witold Krassowski. Although he has photographed major historic and political events which have helped shape societies across the world – his best-known images are the ones he took during the transformation of his native Poland following the end of communism in 1989.
This new book includes nearly 120 photographs, the earliest from the 1980s and many previously unpublished, depicting everyday lives from a diverse range of countries including Bulgaria, Tanzania, Peru, Russia, Afghanistan, Italy and Mongolia.
Witold Krassowski was born in 1956 in Poland. He studied French literature and applied linguistics at the University of Warsaw but photography was always his primary interest. During this time Poland was in major transition: communism was crumbling and the Solidarność movement was created, and for several years Krassowski photographed these events. In 1988 he moved to London for six months and worked freelance for The Independent Magazine and joined the Network Photographers agency. He returned to live and work in Warsaw with frequent trips to the UK and worldwide in the following years.
Krassowski was awarded World Press Photo Awards in 1991 and 2003.
By the Way
The projects, from which these images originate are covered in dust in few reference libraries. They are dead, and should remain so, as their interest hardly survives the circumstances that originated them. In this book however, I hope to keep alive a little longer what unites them: my personal approach, a sense of deep unity beyond cultures.
It is important to me that the impact of these political events can be understood from the point of view of the ordinary people in their ordinary lives. For many of my subjects, their stories would be long forgotten.