BLAZEJ MARCZAK


  1. In Woodside as in the whole of Aberdeen it isn’t hard to find striking architectural and social contradictions. Old and elegant granite mansions are neighbouring with neglected council and modest sheltered housing buildings.

    Congregational Church - the oldest church in Woodside is nothing more than a ruin now. In 1818 it took only a month for the community to gather enough funds to start the construction of the building. However the times have changed and with them the priorities of the community. There is no need for this place of worship anymore. 

    Perhaps The Cotton Chapel as the church as formerly known will be converted into the flats at some point, like the nearby temple designed by the top Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson or perhaps it will be flattened down to create more parking places or another discount store?

    Whatever will happen to this building, one is sure: pigeons – its current inhabitants will lose their home.

    Woodside used to be a separate town until 1891 when it was annexed by Aberdeen. 

    According to the text of Churches of Aberdeen Printfield and Cotton were the names used by locals for this area due to its significant concentration of the textile industries along the River Don until the middle of the XIX century. The textile industries were replaced by the paper mills in the second half of the same century. 

    However the author of The Doric Columns states other origin of one of these names: 

    east of Don Street there was a (…) place called Upper Cotton. It had nothing to do with cotton or its manufacture, for it was a corruption of a Gaelic word “cuitan” meaning small fold.

    Woodside was a home to a large Gaelic speaking community. Migrants from Highlands arrived to Aberdeen in search for work in the already mentioned textile industries and the granite quarries.

    Despite its rich and interesting history Woodside was described in Aberdeen: An Illustrated Architectural Guide by Dr William Brodgenas alas, not a happy place now.

    It isn’t a tourist destination is what I know for sure.

    After I made these photographs I learned couple of interesting facts.

    Famous Scottish footballer Denis Law aka “The King” or “The Lawman” was growing up in one of council houses just around the corner. These houses were build in 20’s and 30’s of the XX century to accommodate the city’s poor which lived in overcrowded conditions often without indoor toilet or were squatting in various areas of Aberdeen.

    I will try to find out who is living there at the moment and also give you some more information or rather pictures connected with the air raid during which SBC 50 Cluster bomb and 50 KG phosphorus bomb detonate over the houses in Printfield Walk.

    Stay tuned for more pictures from Woodside, share the blog with others and get in touch if you would like to share your story or show me around your neighbourhood in Aberdeen.

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak

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  2. Den of Pitfodels 

    Aberdeen, Garthdee, Scotland

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak

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  3. Society Lane, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak

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  4. Local Heroes 

    Clean Up Scotland 

    Donmouth, Aberdeen, Scotland

    05.04.14

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  5. Virginia Court

    Castlegate, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak

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  6. I was very happy to discover the work by Filip Springer during my research on the post war modernist architecture for my "The Grey City" project.

    Springer is a reporter and photographer who is documenting Polish landscape. He also brings the long gone and forgotten communities and their stories back to life or rather to our attention. The subjects, which he chooses seems to be of no real importance or need of urgent rethinking for us, Poles - who are often immune to the absurdities and kitsch as a result of their abundance in the Polish public spaces. The recent pastelosis and less recent sign mania and gigantic banners covering the whole buildings are the perfect examples.

    The topic of his "Miedzianka" was so controversial that the book and also himself was branded as “anti-Polish” by the small (I hope) but loud group in Poland. Only Poles are the martyrs and victims, always! Even if you slightly deny or even discuss that “fact” you are anti-Polish!

    I think this proves that we as a nation still have to learn how to deal with our complicated past and look for a dialogue with our neighbours and ourselves rather than brush those stories under the carpet.

    But before I start to read “Miedzianka” I have these two books to go trough:

    „A Bathtub With a Colonnade. A Book of Reportage on Polish Space” and Ill-Born. Polish Post-war Modernist Architecture”

    To learn more about this books click on the titles and you will be redirected to Filip Springer website where you can see more of his projects.

    Thanks to Filip for signing the books and to the bookshop Wrzenie świata for sending them to me. Wrzenie Swiata is owned by Instytut Reportażu ( Institute of Reportage ) 

    Jump to THIS post to see my picture from 2012- perhaps a little bit related to one of the topics mentioned above.

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  7. As I said a couple of days ago I am delighted to be a part of Document Britain and to participate in 2014Frames. Have a look at this selection prepared by the curators of 2014Frames

    2014frames:

    Document Britain are making their collective debut at 2014Frames and it’s an absolute pleasure to have them on board!
    18 photographers working together to show the diversity and variety of life on the British Isles via a plethora of different photographic techniques.
    From Alastair Cook’s wet plate techniques to more traditional 35mm and digital media there is certainly a story to be told here.

    Document Britain can be found at https://www.facebook.com/DocumentBritain

    The photographers featured on this post: (From top to bottom)
    Alastair Cook - www.alastaircook.com
    Simon Crofts/ Sylwie Kowalczyk- www.simoncroftsphoto.com - www.sylwiakowalczyk.com
    Kirsty McKay - www.kirstymckay.com
    Blazej Marczak - www.bmarczak.com
    Iain Sarjeant - www.iainsarjeant.co.uk

    And the rest of the Document Britain Photographers who are taking part in the event.
    John Brewer - www.johnbrewerphotography.com
    Anne Campbell www.traditionalphotography.weebly.com
    Albie Clark - www.albieclark.com
    Paul Cordes - www.classicphotographics.co.uk
    David Dickie - www.daviddickie.co.uk
    Ella Dickinson - www.elladickinson.com
    Chris Hurst - www.chrishurst.co.uk
    Jonathan Jouty - www.cargocollective.com/jmj
    Jonathan Keys
    Alan McCredie - www.alanmc.co.uk
    Jim Mortram - www.smalltowninertia.co.uk
    Dan Wood - www.danwoodphoto.com

     

  8. Pipeline 

    Danestone, Aberdeen, Scotland

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  9. The Simpsons Shed 

    Danestone Primary School grounds.

    Danestone is a part of Aberdeen suburb - Bridge of Don 

    There is not much apart from the houses and big Tesco in Danestone. Everything here was builded about 20 years ago and the housing estate replaced a farmland. The estate owes its name to a Danestone Farm. 

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  10. I discovered Mackie Place couple of days ago. It is a quite enclave just a stone’s throw away from the city centre and its busy streets. There is something very interesting about this area. It could be its specific mood, a sense of nostalgia created by the aged trees, shabby “garden” with discarded household goods and this classic Triumph what makes me curious about its former and perhaps grant history and residents. 

    Mackie Place, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  11. I am very pleased to participate in the 2014Frames  ”a series of public slide shows to take place concurrently to the 2014 Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art

    A selection of my images from The Grey City project would be shown as a part of the Document Britain group showcase.

    Happy to see many familiar names and inspirational artists taking part in this show!

    Glasgow,

    Merchant City Square,

    10th to 11th of April 2014.

    @2014frames 

    2014frames:

    On Thursday 10th and Friday 11th April, 2014 frames will be hosted by Merchant Square the beautiful centre of Glasgow’s historic Merchant City.
    Merchant Square provides a beautiful courtyard setting, with overlooking bars and restaurants giving off a bustling, yet relaxing atmosphere right in the heart of Glasgow. 
    The Merchant City itself is a scene of creativity and excitement of all kinds, and Merchant Square is the highlight of this.

    2014 Frames will provide those relaxing in the various bars and eateries something to talk about over their meal with family and friends, adding to what will already be a memorable occasion for everyone involved.

    Come along, relax with a craft beer or a nice meal and enjoy what the world of photography has to offer.

    Find out more:
    http://www.merchantsquareglasgow.com/
    (Image courtesy of Merchant Square Website)

     

  12. I like to discover different layers of the urban environment. Every one of them is representing a particular period in the history of the city and shows us its constantly changing character and boundaries. 

    As you can see from this photograph and from the many previous ones I am interested in post-war modernist architecture - especially in public housing buildings. I will write more specifically about this aspect of the project in the future. 

    I am happy to say that my interest in the modernist buildings is correlating with the research on Aberdeen for “The Grey City” project. In the 70’s majority of the city council’s and architects in Britain drastically changed their approach to high-rise flats and rejected them for many reasons. 

    "Only one large municipality in the UK - the City of Aberdeen - managed to bypass completely the political and professional rejection of high flats, and carry on building them right until the very end of public housebuilding on any significant scale in Britain" 

    Source: 

    Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius (1994). Tower Block; Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hong Kong: Yale University Press. p322.

    Seaton, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  13. Before the match 

    Pittodrie, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    22.03.2014

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  14. Stan - The Director

    I met Stan while photographing football fans gathering for the match between Aberdeen F.C. and Kilmarnock F.C. at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen.

    I asked him what is his role at Aberdeen F.C. and this is what he said:

    "I used to call myself a director, because I am directing people to their VIP seats…"

    Pittodrie, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    22.03.2014

    From "The Grey City" project

    © Blazej Marczak 

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  15. "Polski Tygrys" / "The Polish Tiger"

    Poland, Katowice, 2013.

    O czym chciał powiedzieć pisarz? - pyta pani od polskiego 

    Chciał pokazać nierówności kapitalizmu wczesnego 
    To bogaci i biedni, bogaci i biedni, bogaci i biedni (…)

    Całe życie tyrał w hucie, a do huty dokładali 
    Cała jego ciężka praca, wszystko było chuja warte
    Gdyby leżał całe życie, mniejszą czyniłby on stratę…”

    Tekst: Kazik “Jeszcze Polska” : http://bit.ly/1hGk1Tl

    © Blazej Marczak

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