In September 1919, following the signing of an agreement between France and Poland, numerous Polish workers arrived in the mining region in northern France. Kasimir Zgorecki was part of the Polish diaspora. In 1922, he left the Ruhr where his father worked as a miner, and settled in Rouvroy in the Pas-de-Calais. A boilermaker by training, he only worked in the mines for six months, before becoming a professional photographer. In 1924, he took over his brother-in-law’s workshop and bookshop, and the latter taught him the rudiments of the medium.
During the inter-war period, Kasimir Zgorecki’s activity flourished. He took portraits of Polish émigrés who had left their country far behind, immortalising their personal success, making their personal stories and personalities tangible, and revealing their everyday lives. His work, which is simultaneously sensitive, simple and touching, and was the product of impeccable technique, has been rediscovered over the past twenty years.
The exhibition features around twenty black and white photographs, most of which are new prints made for the exhibition.
They bear witness to life in this émigré Polish community, whose members were keen to demonstrate their ability to integrate and succeed, and their commitment to keeping alive its traditions. They also demonstrate the photographer’s originality.