Martor No. 26 / Year 2021

How to Look Natural in Photos: An interview with Beata Bartecka and Łukasz Rusznica

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National College of Art and Design, Ireland

Pages: 173-180


Photography; Archives; Secret Police; Trauma; Memory; Photobook. 


In this interview with the authors of How to Look Natural In Photos, a 2021 photobook featuring images from archives containing secret police records from Poland before 1989, Beata Bartecka and Łukasz Rusznica outline their approach to the republication of this material. They reflect on the nature of images which represent violence or trauma alongside the seemingly banal photographs of mundane scenes and objects recorded by the security forces, as well as the ethics of reproducing portraits of secret police officers. The material on which the book is based is in the possession of Instytut Pamięci Narodowej (The Institute of National Remembrance), an organization created in 1998 by act of the Polish parliament that has been subject of heated debate in the country. Critics have accused it of producing an overly simple view of modern Polish history, one populated by heroes, victims and villains. Bartecka and Rusznica reflect on their relations with this institution and the potential for open interpretations of such material. 

How to cite this article:

Crowley, David. 2021. “How to Look Natural in Photos: An interview with Beata Bartecka and Łukasz Rusznica.” Martor 26: 173-180. 

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