Photographs by Tori Ferenc (Poland)
After presenting a very masculine exhibition with “Fragments of War”, which was rather cognitive, the current exhibition shows a very feminine view of the world. It opens up more emotionally without much text. Tori’s photography is not characterized by the big political throw; with her, the private becomes political. Her origins, her roots, the reflection of her family environment form the circle in which she actually has the possibility to change the world into a better one. This is a good way to escape the powerlessness that afflicts one when consuming the daily news. In this respect, this exhibition is a good “counterpart” – the motto of this year’s Portraits Award – to the exhibition before it. Tori Ferenc presents “Fragments of Peace”, so to speak.
Motherland is an intergenerational visual dialogue between photographers of the same family who never had the chance to meet. A photographic diary spanning centuries, it tells the story of a Polish family torn apart by conflict, personal trauma, addictions, and untimely deaths.
Torn out photos, ghost children, war heroes on flower beds, dead people and shaky scribbles become part of a narrative that comes from an old family album. It’s a treasured heirloom passed down from generation to generation, along with anecdotes about the people in the photos. The details are forgotten and replaced by confused narrators who reinvent the stories each time they tell them.
It is also the sentimental journey of an emigrant returning to the land she left behind. Family pictures mingle with images of apple orchards, misty fields and stork nests, transporting the viewer to a place with endless summer and a seemingly idyllic home – tensions bubble beneath the surface.
Photographs: Tori Ferenc
Photographs exhibition situation: Jan Oelker
Curation: Jan Oelker
Digital conversion: Simon Wolf, Aimée Deutschmann
Texts: Tori Ferenc, Jan Oelker
A digital supplement to the exhibition from 08.04. to 21.06.2022 of the Galerie nEUROPA
Tori Ferenc is a portrait and documentary photographer born in Gniezno, Poland in 1989. After completing her BA in English Literature and South African Studies at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, she moved to London to work in the photography industry. Specifically, Tori focuses on the themes of identity, community, and more recently, parenthood. She is interested in documenting the realities of communities that are often marginalized by society – from Orthodox Jews in North London to Irish Travellers who gather at horse markets to elderly dancers in English dance clubs. Her personal projects have been published in The Guardian, It’s Nice That, AnOther, Vice Poland, i-D UK, Pylot, Trip Magazine, Vogue Italia, Splash & Grab and other magazines.
Her experience in portrait photography has allowed her to work with a variety of magazines and commercial clients including The New York Times, Nike, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Telegraph, Time, Bloomberg and many others.
She was shortlisted for the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Awards (2017 and 2019) and her work has been shown at the Royal Photographic Society International Exhibition (2017), Portrait Salon (2018) and the Palm* Photo Prize (2020). Her most recent project, In Waiting, which explores her own motherhood, was part of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2021 exhibition and is currently being presented as part of the PORTRAITS Hellerau Photography Award 2022 at the Technische Sammlungen Dresden. Tori Ferenc lives and works in London.