Blocks - complexes of apartments connected by a common spatial structure, in larger agglomerations functioning as blocks of flats. Their construction, supported in the communist-ruled Poland, was a sign of progress, especially since before the war. At that time small towns were most often a cluster of destroyed cottages. In the seventies, blocks became a synonym of development and big-city success. In small towns they appeared as a sign of striving for something great, they were supposed to be a witness of development and a way to show "we are great too", "the present day also reaches us".
Their construction brought the inhabitants closer to the "big world", the dwellings of big slabs, a kind of "status quo" in the city tissue. Life in the apartment showed a new way of progressing in thinking, put that people up of the previous generation. When the political situation has changed, status of block also change. They started to be more like a relic of the past, embarrassing thing which will be degrade and disappear from the towns maps. However, it did not happen, people still live there, successive generations adapt the space of blocks in small towns anew. Sometimes patching up the surroundings with arduousness, using the means at their disposal, sometimes thanks to money from the commune. Regardless of the method of modernization of the living space and the surrounding infrastructure, it shows the human approach to "home" as a place to live.That’s why, the photo project "The Big Dream of Small Towns" is a story about a place that is so tamed by us that it seems to be ordinary and safe. A space that goes unnoticed because it’s as obvious as our life in it. But let's try to look at the blocks again. And so the first photos show them from a distance. Their lumpy, geometric form emerges slowly in the frame. We are getting closer to it, starting to see the details. Anonymous squares of windows, the rhythm of the architect's idea, fragments of roads or greenery, slowly revealing the individual approach of each of the residents. Curtains in the windows, pots with flowers, sometimes a shadow of figures hidden behind glass. Then we realize that on the other side there are people for whom the space we look at from the other side of the lens of camera is something identical with their lifestyle or preferences. Similarly, staircases, entrances to them, letters sticking out of boxes or even inscriptions painted spontaneously with sprays become information about the inhabitants.Going further, starting from the block structure itself, you can see the entire infrastructure of the estate or a group of several buildings. We see booths in which it was decided to create a grocery store, a pub, a hairdresser, a nursing home, cooperatives, everything that a person may need to make life comfortable. Mailboxes, basketball baskets, outdoor gyms, benches for seniors, places where you can relax among the trees draw attention to the multigenerational nature of the inhabitants. In the end, we see posters advertising of big stores, placed like in big cities on the smooth walls of blocks, shouting "you can do it too".Then, the prose of life appears. Cemeteries squeezed between blocks, next to supermarkets, being a kind of "memento mori" do not let you forget about the fragility of the inhabitants. However, life goes on, the meshes installed during the insulation of blocks of flats, the construction of new apartments and new decorativeness change the face of small estates. The need to add individualism appears on blocks, on smooth surfaces of walls without windows, where we see geometric patterns (Piet Mondrian's paintings for exemple) or references to the region. This industrial decorativeness, so identical with the places, shows the strong relationship between the residents and the block of flats. It also shows pride in the place of residence. The photos in which these fragments of architecture appear become lyrical, sometimes nostalgic. They are like an “August afternoon”- create a warm atmosphere and a sense of security. They seem to say: We are fine here!


Działdowo: 21370 inhabitants (2018)
Nidzica: 13872 inhabitants (2018)
Sędziszów: 6564 inhabitants (2016)
Trzebnica: 13343 inhabitants (2020)
Trzebnica
Lubawka: 5850 inhabitants (2021)
Kłodzko: 26742 inhabitants (2019)
Żmigród: 6443 inhabitants (2020)
Piława Górna: 6294 inhabitants (2021)
Olsztynek: 7677 inhabitants (2018)
Szczecinek: 39705 inhabitants (2021)
Iława: 33128 inhabitants (2018)
Bobolice: 3961 inhabitants (2019)
Bolków: 4801 inhabitants (2021)
Sławno: 12288 inhabitants (2021)
Jastrowie: 8671 inhabitants (2016)
Kluczbork: 23554 inhabitants (2019)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
Kamienna Góra: 18235 inhabitants (2021)
Lubawka: 5850 inhabtants (2021)
Iława: 33128 inhabitants (2018)
Jastrowie: 8671 inhabitants (2016)
Bierutów: 4728 inhabitants (2021)
Jastrowie: 8671 inhabitants (2016)
Strzelin: 12474 inhabitants (2019)
Kluczbork: 23554 inhabitants (2019)
Ustka: 15199 inhabitants (2020)
Namysłów: 16622 inhabitants (2020)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Ustka: 15199 inhabitants (2020)
Nidzica: 13872 inhabitants (2018)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
Prabuty: 8710 inhabitants (2017)
Bytów: 16790 inhabitants (2021)
Staszów: 14762 inhabitants (2019)
Bardo Śląskie: 2562 inhabitants (2019)
Koniecpol: 6002 inhabitants (2017)
Żmigród: 6443 inhabitants (2020)
Sędziszów: 6564 inhabitants (2016)
Prabuty: 8710 inhabitants (2017)
Sędziszów: 6564 inhabitants (2016)
Włoszczowa: 10096 inhabitants (2018)
Barczewo: 7472 inhabitants (2017)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
Trzebnica: 13343 inhabitants (2020)
Dzierżoniów: 32246 inhabitants (2021)
Jędrzejów: 14706 inhabitants (2021)
Prabuty: 8710 inhabitants (2017)
Dzierżoniów: 32246 inhabitants (2021)
Czaplinek: 7155 inhabitants (2016)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
Lubawka: 5850 inhabitants (2021)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Prabuty: 8710 inhabitants (2017)
Dzierżoniów: 32246 inhabitants (2021)
Dzierżoniów
Nidzica: 13872 inhabitants (2018)
Iława: 33128 inhabitants (2018)
Oborniki Śląskie: 9120 inhabitants (2019)
Iława: 33128 inhabitants (2018)
Darłowo: 13695 inhabitants (2019)
Iława: 33128 inhabitants (2018)
Jastrowie: 8671 inhabitants (2016)
Kościerzyna: 23698 inhabitants (2021)
Namysłów: 16622 inhabitants (2020)
Kościerzyna: 23698 inhabitants (2021)
Jastrowie: 8671 inhabitants (2016)
Jędrzejów: 14706 inhabitants (2021)
Kłodzko: 26742 inhabitants (2019)
Kłodzko
Jędrzejów: 14706 inhabitants (2021)
Kłodzko: 26742 inhabitants (2019)
Kłodzko
Kluczbork: 23554 inhabitants (2019)
Koniecpol: 6002 inhabitants (2017)
Kościerzyna: 23698 inhabitants (2021)
Namysłów: 16622 inhabitants (2020)
Prusice: 2241 inhabitants (2021)
Namysłów: 16622 inhabitants (2020)
Strzelin: 12474 inhabitants (2019)
Kłodzko: 26742 inhabitants (2019)
Piława Górna: 6294 inhabitants (2021)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Namysłów: 16622 inhabitants (2020)
Bierutów: 4728 inhabitants (2021)
Jastrowie: 8671 inhabitants (2016)
Nidzica: 13872 inhabitants (2018)
Strzelin: 12474 inhabitants (2019)
Trzebnica: 13343 inhabitants (2020)
Złotów: 18441 inhabitants (2017)
Bobolice: 3961 inhabitants (2019)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Żmigród: 6443 inhabitants (2020)
Dzierżoniów: 32246 inhabitants (2021)
Dzierżoniów: 39705 inhabitants (2021)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Oborniki Śląskie: 9120 inhabitants (2019)
Staszów: 14762 inhabitants (2019)
Kłodzko: 26742 inhabitants (2019)
Koniecpol: 6002 inhabitants (2017)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Piława Górna: 6294 inhabitants (2021)
Prabuty: 8710 inhabitants (2017)
Jędrzejów: 14706 inhabitants (2021)
Olsztynek: 7677 inhabitants (2018)
Złotów: 18441 inhabitants (2017)
Nidzica: 13872 inhabitants (2018)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
Brusy: 5209 inhabitants (2017)
Działdowo: 21370 inhabitants (2018)
Rawicz: 19624 inhabitants (2019)
Mława: 3370 inhabitants (2019)
Rawicz: 19624 inhabitants (2019)
Działdowo: 21370 inhabitants (2018)
Włoszczowa: 10096 inhabitants (2018)
Strzelin: 12474 inhabitants (2019)
Inscription on the wall: "STRZELIN'S PATHOLOGY".
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Jędrzejów: 14706 inhabitants (2021)
Piława Górna: 6294 inhabitants (2021)
Olsztynek: 7677 inhabitants (2018)
Strzelin: 12474 inhabitants (2019)
Susz: 5586 inhabitants (2017)
Działdowo: 21370 inhabitants (2018)
Włoszczowa: 10096 inhabitants (2018)
Strzegom: 16032 inhabitants (2019)
Bytów: 16790 inhabitants (2021)
Susz: 5586 inhabitants (2017)
Szczecinek: 39705 inhabitants (2021)
Dzierżoniów: 32246 inhabitants (2021)
Szczecinek: 39705 inhabitants (2021)
Strzelin: 12474 inhabitants (2019)
Miastko: 10439 inhabitants (2019)
Prabuty: 8710 inhabitants (2017)
Chojnice: 39484 inhabitants (2021)
Susz: 5586 inhabitants (2017)
Piława Górna: 6294 inhabitants (2021)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
Szczecinek: 39705 inhabitants (2021)
Opatów: 6320 inhabitants (2021)
Szczytno: 23166 inhabitants (2019)
The photos were taken between March and July 2022. They show small towns in northern, central and southern Poland. Photographs are not in geographical order.
The project was developed with the support of the ZAIKS Fund for the Promotion of Creativity.
Projekt powstał dzięki wsparciu Funduszu Popierania Twórczości ZAIKS.
A big thank you to my Wife Izabela Karlinski, without her help this project would not have happened.
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