Stuck in the Picture #5 Igor Pisuk

Let’s start with a small presentation who is Igor Pisuk?

The guy with a small pocket camera in one hand and electronic cigarette in other who drinks too much coffee nowadays. His  blood is full of caffeine and nicotine. He doesn’t eat too much but feels too much. He is trying to find a balance in life even when he know that It’s not possible in his case.

When did you start taking pictures? Do you remember what it felt like?

When I was in high school my father gave me my first camera. At that time it didn’t mean much. Everything was unreal because my blood was like a river of alcohol. It was in high school when I started drinking and got lost in it so much that I got robbed by some skinheads and lose it. After that I lost a lot of other things and at the end I lost almost everything. My life became a hopeless spiral so I decided: either I will go mad and I will die or I will go to therapy and will try to quit drinking. As you can see I chose the second option.

How much is photography in your daily life?

All the time. My camera (Mostly use phone these days) is ready in my pocket whatever I do: in the bathroom, when I go to piss, when I go to throw away garbage, have sex. Even when I’m not taking pictures, I edit them, I’m sequencing them. At the moment I just started working on my new book. I went thru my whole archive of the last 15 years. It was a pretty wild experience, to encounter myself from the past. The idea for the still unnamed book started during the Coronavirus pandemic, when we were stuck at home with nothing to do and my girlfriend suggested I should do something more about the everyday, not just the high pitched drama like in my first book. This doesn’t mean the new book will be rid of emotions, oh no! But it will be more about the world and other people than myself or my private life. It will tell a metaphoric story about life and death present in the most mundane everyday experience and about the empathy towards people and the world that I feel.

Deceitful Reverence is a tough book. Would you like to tell us some of the dynamics behind it? Was it a natural process or was it hard to put you on the line?

It was very natural and organic. When I finished my rehab, photography helped me on the everyday basis to maintain the effects of the therapy. It’s become an obsession, the extension of my feelings and emotions. It was liberatory, I never censored myself, I was telling about my new beginnings, of tasting life, on the pains if loneliness and isolation but also love and hope.

I see Poland as a country full of contradictions (which country isn’t?), What is your relationship with your country?

It’s a love/hate relationship. I love a lot of people, music, art… but at this moment I see a lot of evil. It’s more and more an authoritarian government. Censorship is stronger and stronger. And soon if there won’t be any positive change it will be a really hard place to live.

Photography is a tool that builds other tools. Did you use photography to build an awareness with a pickaxe to get out of a tunnel? How much has photography changed your life?

I’ve always said that photography saved my life. And I know that it sound pathetic but it’s actually true. It gave me courage to live to breathe, see things, see emotions, be empathetic and be more like a dude from Big Lebowski. Take it easy and life goes on…

Which photographers have influenced you? If there are any.

No doubt about it: Daido Moriyama. He is the most pure, amazing photographer for me. I see his work not in particular pictures but as an art of living. His approach in photography is always fascinating to me. His curiosity, nerve, obsession. It’s very inspiring.

A photo you’re particularly fond of? Show it to us.

I don’t have any in particular. But can show you one from my new book it’s probably mother and her child. I was 17 or 18 when I shoot this. I discovered it last month. Its from my hometown Bielsko-Biala. I don’t want to analyse this pic. too much but it shows this what fascinates me in photography, what I’m looking for. The thin line between real and surreal, ordinary and extraordinary, beauty and ugliness…

How much courage does it take to be a good photographer? 

It’s very individual. Personally I’m always looking for what fascinates me, makes my heart beat faster, and even if It’s scary or could be disgusting or inappropriate for someone I go through that. But I always have my kind of compass. I’ve never took pictures if that could hurt someone. I never pretend to be someone better and I never look for something drastic or exploitative of other people. So I will never respect guys like Salgado…

In a hypothetical podium, where would you put honesty? And what would be the other two values that you consider indispensable in a photographic work?

1) honesty

2) open heart

3) curiosity

One or more obsessions. If you have any.

I have a lot: Coffee, smoking, photography, gekiga (japanese comics), watching films, sexuality, dreaming…

Thanks for the talk!

Thanks to you who have read this far and Agata Pyzik for help with translation! If you want know some more about my photography and my books you can find me here:




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