words Anna Bates
These photographs were found on Allegro, Poland’s answer to Ebay. Among them is a woman showing off her fur coat with a plastic bag over her head, a woman trying to fetch a few złoty for the stockings she’s wearing, a half naked man posing with a CD shelf and a picture of someone’s lunch (with the for-sale camcorder haphazardly placed at the corner of the table).
The aim of each image on Allegro is to sell something, but the photographs, collated by Polish photographer Mikolaj Dlugosz for his book Real Foto, inadvertently become entertaining but highly informative snap-shots of Polish society, culture, and economy. Unaware, the sellers tell us everything about themselves by photographing items in their homes. This is especially entertaining, as in most, considerable effort has gone into disguising the identity of people in view. In one image, a headless woman stands wearing just a bikini while behind her the TV is playing, books and photographs of her family are strewn across a cabinet, and her taste in interior design, fluffy toy fetish, and belly button piercing are all visible. Bar a head, her identity is exposed for everyone to see.
Looking at them feels voyeuristic, but the context is a refreshing change from images we have become accustomed to – white, photo-shopped and stripped of perspective. This is what Dlugosz wanted to achieve, choosing photos so “real” that even the photographers aren’t aware of what they’re documenting.
Real Foto by Mikolaj Dlugosz, published by Korporacja Ha!art, 39 PLN