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Great-grandmothers of fear

4 photographs 23 × 23 cm
Barbara Kubska

Clenched teeth, chest pressure, lump in the throat. Unsaid words stuck fast in the body. I leaf through small black-and-white photographs from a family album. Searching for clues, I discover a photograph which – although seen many times – suddenly presents a new perspective. I carefully watch the faces of women, my closest relatives. I observe the emotions evoked by seeing and touching these photographs. Precisely posed by the photographer, the three of them are sitting with the mountain landscape in the background. Each looking in another direction. The face of a young girl close to the stern face of a man. Raised shoulders, clenched hands, look too serious for her age. It seems that on family photographs one can find slight tints of hereditary fears. Is the fact that the sources of our predispositions could be traced many generations back to the experience of our mothers, aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers any consolation?


Barbara Kubska, Polish visual artist, works mainly in the medium of photography. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice (2011). Interested in multi-layered stories, archives and collections. By means of photography, she studies their contexts and meanings. She uses retrospection, systemization, searching for new dependencies and connections. Engaged with the social and popularizing activity of the Culture of Image Foundation. Teaches at the alma mater.


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