The COVID-19 outbreak has imposed restrictions in movement. As part of an ongoing initiative, photographers of Magnum Photo are sharing information and new work made in these strange and difficult times.
Tomasz Liboska lives in Chorzow in Upper-Silesia, Poland. He graduated from Anthropology of Culture at Silesian University in Cieszyn, Poland, and Institute for Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic. He’s been working on his projects on Silesia for over 10 years. In his works he tries to find how people exist in society. That is why anthropological background is a clue for him. In his personal work the visual language is based on his own memories and experiences. Most important exhibitions were presented during Photomonth in Krakow, Hereford Photography Festival, New York Photo Festival, Athens Photo Festival, Belfast Photo Festival. His photographs were published in The New York Magazine, GEO, Newsweek, LaRepublica, Polityka, Duży Format, VICE, Feature Shoot, LensCulture, among others. He is a winner and finalist of many internationally recognized awards and grants such as LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards, Leica Oscar Barnack Award, Photo District News, Photo Annual, Photolucida Critical Mass, among others.
Upper Silesia is the largest industrial region in Poland. After World War II, during the communist era, the region turned into a local El Dorado – a land of mineral riches. Tens of thousands of people were hoping for work and better lives here. Alas, the socialist economy turned out to be a hidden time bomb for the region. When communism collapsed and Poland become a free market economy, it was Upper Silesia that suffered the harshest consequences. Many coal mines and steel plants were shut down, and people faced unemployment and lack of prospects. The smoking chimneys quickly disappeared from the horizon, and with them, many residents. Today, the region still exists as the industrial hub of our country yet it is also intensely searching for a new identity. Dynamic socioeconomic changes are giving Upper Silesia a new character. And yet not everybody benefits equally from these changes. If you turn around for a moment, you can still see the past prowling right behind you.