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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Veteran Polish photo artist turns 104

31.07.2020 20:45
The Grand Old Man of Polish photography, Stefan Arczyński, celebrated his 104th birth on Friday.
Stefan Arczyński in 2012.
Stefan Arczyński in 2012.Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

Jacek Sutryk, the Mayor of Wrocław, where the artist has lived for  seven decades, has written on Facebook: “A legend. […] An extraordinary man. An extraordinary life. Eighty years with the camera. Stefan Arczyński”.

Arczyński was born on July 31, 1916 in Essen, Germany, into a family of Polish immigrants with roots in the Grand Duchy of Posen. Thanks to his deep interest in photography, which began in his late teens, when called up to the Lutfwaffe as a citizen of the Third Reich, he managed to avoid direct participation in the attack on Poland and was assigned to a unit  involved in retouching aerial photographs.

In 1946,  having received Polish citizenship, he set up a photographic studio in Kamienna Góra, south-western Poland. Four years later, he settled in Wrocław and started to document with his camera the city’s post-war reconstruction and the rebirth of the region’s cultural and artistic scene.

He also travelled on assignment to many countries, including China, India, Africa and the United States. He has had numerous one-man shows and published several photo albums.

His distinctions include the Gold Cross of Merit and the Gold Gloria Artis Medal of Merit for Culture.

(mk/jh)