The beginnings of photography in Poland date back to 1839 when the news of the daguerreotype reached the country. Photography quickly got popular, and near the end of the 19th century professional photography salons grew in numbers fast. In some towns there were even several of them. It is worthwhile to pay attention to the fact, that the photographer's profession was usually taken up by Jews. The activity of itinerant photographers was an extraordinary social phenomenon of the break of the 19th and 20th century in Poland. They travelled the province and offered their services as photographers. No documents on the topic remain, which is why their photos are the only evidence of their activity. Currently the memory of these photographers is being brought back, but many of them remain unknown or forgotten. Because of the aura of mystery and uniqueness surrounding the black-and-white prewar photographs, it is worth it to learn something about them. We kindly invite you for a journey in the footsteps of local photographers.
In the footsteps of painters route aims to teach about a rich and diverse culture of shtetls by presenting the painters that lived there, as well as their body of work.
The route painters presents the changes in art which took place on the break of the 19th and 20th century. For a large group of painters the descent was hardly irrelevant, and throughout their artistically active years they referenced the places and circles in which they grew up. They painted townships, and alleys of Jewish streets, praying Jews and other scenes depicting the life of Jewish population. It was not a dominant theme, however. Painters conducted their own artistic searches, and many of them were influenced by various European styles and movements, especially the École de Paris circles. The majority of this artistic group came from shtetls, and some of them, thanks to their talent, hard work and determination became world-class artists contributing to the artistic environments in Paris, London or New York.