Short Flashes is an award-winning photo series by Polish artist Wiktoria Wojciechowska that looks at impermanent moments of everyday life in Hangzhou, China.
Wojciechowska was the 2015 winner of The Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award for this series. In the short video from Leica, Wojciechowska talks about the time she spent during the typhoon season in Hangzou, and how the series came about from a direct reaction to how she was feeling at the time.
Wojciechowska spent time throughout 2013-2014 in China on an artist’s residency. When she came to China, she felt completely alone and spent much of her time walking on the street and observing people. She did not know the language, which made her further isolated and unable to communicate with people. She had this urge to just stop them, to see their faces.
She taped an umbrella to her tripod and spent an hour or two each day at the same place photographing cyclists on their way to work. She thought that by photographing an individual among the masses, it would give them an identity and allow her to capture a moment, a particular emotion, one gesture, or the things in between.
“For me, the magic of photography is you can catch a person’s face and this person will never be forgotten.”
The title for the series, Short Flashes, came from one of the artists favorite books — Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski.
An excerpt from the book is below:
“There are infinitely many of these faces I carry inside myself. Conceived in short flashes. I don’t know whose, where, or when. I know nothing about them. But they live in me. Thoughtfulness, gazes, sorrows, pallor, grimaces, bitterness — they live in me, detained like on photographies.”