Biography

Czesław Czaplińskiworld-renowned artist photographer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker, born in 1953 in Lodz (Poland). Since 1979, he lives in New York and Warsaw.

He is the author of 40 albums and books, among others: „The Styka Family Saga” (1988), „Face to Face” (1991), „Jerzy Kosinski's Face and Masks” (1992), „Jerzy Kosiński and His Passions” (1993), „Life After the Death of Jerzy Kosinski” (1993), „American Careers” (1994), „PORTRAITS 1980-1995” (1995), „My HIStory - How I Photographed the King” (1999), „Creators End of the Century” (2000), „Death & Life” (2001), „New York - Before and After September 11, 2001” (2002), „Doctors in the Fight for Health” (Vol.1/2002, vol.2/2003, vol.3/2004), „Father Jan Twardowski Universe” (2002), „Wizytki – Hortus Conclusus” (2003), „Attorneys in the Fight for Justice” (2004), „Art Photography - Portrait Photography” (2004), „ Photographs True, Because I Unlike” (2005), „Polish Art Collections in America” (2005), „Artists” (2007), „Michael Jackson” (2009), „Chopin's Steps in Warsaw and the Mazovia” (2010), „There Is No Transition” (2010), „Collector” (2010), „J.B.Dorys - Kazimierz nad Wisłą 1931-32”, “Poles in America – 400 Years” (2010), "Eugeniusz Gerlach 1959-2009 Paintings" (2011) "Artists for Europe " (2011 e-Book), "Battle of Warsaw 1920" (2011), "People of Łazienki" (2012 e-Book), "The Royal Lazienki in Warsaw - Four Seasons " (2012), "FANGOR The First 90 Years" (2012), "Portraits With History" (2012), "Górecki, Lutosławski, Penderecki" (2013 e-Book), "Wojciech Fibak - Chronicle Sports Life " (2013 e-Book), "You can go on forever, to always be close" Father Jan Twardowski (2015) and "Close to the ground, close to heaven," Father Jan Twardowski (2015) some of which were bestsellers.

Throughout 40 years of his career, he photographed some of the most well known celebrities of business, culture, politics, and sport. Among others: Muhammad Ali, Maurice Bejart, Leonard Bernstein, Bernardo Bertolucci, Cindy Crawford, Oscar de la Renta, Guy de Rothschild, Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Placido Domingo, Umberto Eco, Jane Fonda, Malcolm Forbes, Joseph Heller, Charlton Heston, David Hockney, Vladimir Horowitz, Lee Iacocca, Michael Jackson, Henry Kissinger, Calvin Klein, Jerzy Kosiński, Estée Lauder, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Norman Mailer, Liza Minnelli, Roger Moore, Alberto Moravia, Willie Nelson, Richard Nixon, Luciano Pavarotti, Gregory Peck, Paloma Picasso, Roman Polański, Isabella Rossellini, Omar Sharif, Brooke Shields, Isaac Singer, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Tina Turner, John Updike, Peter Ustinov, Diane von Furstenberg, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Andy Warhol.

Czesław Czapliński’s work was published all over the world, among others: „The New York Times”, „TIME”, „Vanity Fair”, „The Washington Post”, „Newsweek”, „Twój Styl”, „Viva”, „Rzeczpospolita”, “Polityka”, „Wprost”, „FOTO”. Apart from being a photographer, he has also been for many years a journalist, and he’s the author of a couple hundred articles and reportages printed in America and Poland.

He had more than 100 photographic exhibitions, among others: in the National Art Gallery Zacheta in Warsaw (1989, 1991), Art Museum in Lodz (1992), National Museum in Warsaw (1995, 2002, 2007), Mazovian Museum in Plock (2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2016), National Library in Warsaw (2000, 2001, 2005), The Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016), Museum in Schafstall Neuenstadt (2009, 2013), Stalowa Gallery in Warsaw (2014, 2015, 2016) and also in New York (1981, 2002, 2003, 2010, 2012), Chicago (1998), Nice (2000), Moscow (1997), London (2003), Munich (2010), Lizbon (2013), Vilnius (2014) and EU Brussels (2011, 2017).

There are several films about Czesław Czapliński and his work: „Opening by Czeslaw Czaplinski in National Gallery Zacheta in Warsaw” (TVP, 1989 dir. Nina Terentiew), „ Photographer” (TVP, 2007), „Faces”, „Face to Face” (TVP 1993, dir. Natalia Koryncka), „ The Aristocrat of Flowers”, „Black and White in Color” (TVP, dir. Filip Chodzewicz).

Today, he makes documentary films which include: „Collector” (Copernicus Award - Gold 2012), "Artists of business: prof. Henryk Skarzynski" (Studio Autograf, 2004), „ Life as a fairy tale”, „The optimist in spite of himself”. "FANGOR The First 90 Years" (2012), "40 Years Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw " (2012), "Chinese Avenue and Chinese Garden at The Royal Lazienki in Warsaw" (2014), "Wizard of The Royal Lazienki in Warsaw" (Copernicus Award - Gold 2014), "The growth of the Lord God" (2015), "Prof. Marek Kwiatkowski - How I joined together Royal Baths in Warsaw" (2015), "MY STORY remembers Father Nagórski Witold" (2016), "ANDRZEJ WAWRZYNIAK creator Asia and Pacific Museum" (2016) and "Ecole de Paris COLLECTOR Marek Roefler" (Copernicus Award - Gold 2016).

The originator and organizer of the international photo contest "The Royal Łazienki - The Four Seasons ", invited as a juror in photographic competitions: "Mazovian close to the heart", "Gdynia Sailing"(2009), "Chopin" (2010), " Salt in the world of photography" (2013) Cracow Saltworks Museum Wieliczka.

Czapliński’s work can be found in the Library of Congress collection in Washington, D.C., New York Public Library, National Museum in Warsaw and Breslau, Art Museum in Lodz, National Library in Warsaw and in many private collections all over the world.

He was repeatedly awarded, among others: the Medal "Merit to Culture Gloria Artists", Gold Medal of Association of Photography in Lodz, "Gold Poster" Pomeranian Library in Szczecin, Ring of "Honorary Award of Polish Collectioners Hetman", Gold Medal "For Photographic Work" Polish Republic Photoclub, Badge of Honour "Bene Merito" for strengthening the position of Polish activities in the international arena, winner of the statuette „Remarkable Personality 2014” from the European Integration Club and the Order of Saint Stanislaus (2015).

 

 

Excerpts from an essay by Jerzy Kosinski from the album „Face to Face“, Warsaw 1991.

Is photography the Art?

In his art of photographic portrait Czaplinski offers grandest testimony to man’s creative mind, the presence of which he finds upon scanning the human face: the sole place where self and  soul manifest themselves. Like Avedon’s or Snowdon’s, Czaplinski’s studies have for over a decade rescued the photographic portrait from the invasion of soul snatching photography. The current leader of this invasion is Robert Maplethorpe, once one of this country’s foremost form-searching photographers to whom, sadly, judging from his 1988 one-man exposition at New York’s Whitney Museum, Man’s fate can be traced primarily to the exposition of his genitalia (reducing in the process, photographic process to the basest form of photographic images until now most commonly found in the photographically recorded pornography).

They are aristocrats...

The great photographer lays upon us one layer upon another a whole new way of seeing. See Avedon’s work. See the work of Czaplinski. Like any great art dealing with life and death, light-filled photography is great at summoning shadows – shadows of life or uncertainty of death. Another high proof of its art.

Visionary Artist – photographer

In youth-conscious America treating old age as one of photography, can tell a great deal about the artist photographer. In the photographs of Czaplinski he asks of himself, then of his camera, to think of human face aged by life as a setting of the ageless spirit dwelling there – spirit, not facial expression. His photographs of this world’s most worldly senior citizens preserve with dignity, not restore.

Who is an artist photographer? What are the forces which propel him toward great art — art, not a mere making of yet another artifact. First and foremost, he is, like Czaplinski, one who can tell the difference between real depth and  sheer glamor; between Who’s Who in spiritual life as opposed to a mere who’s who in the world of the most worldly VIP’s most of whom he photographed  at spiritually closest range. He is the one who, regardless whether he still takes pictures with an old-fashioned mental camera, or the latest electronic 35 mm gear used only by a super pro, knows that true art concerns itself only with what is natural in life, as well as in form.

Every artist has a resume, and so has an artist photographer. If his name is Avedon, Snowdon or Czaplinski, it reads as follows: Artist photographer. A visionary who first envisions what to see looking through and the film, subsequently contributes to the photography, the supreme art of mechanically Fixed Image — an image which had first originated in the photographer’s own inner darkroom, where the mental image was first developed, had from there proceeded all the way to reality on the way passing through the very same viewfinder.

— Jerzy Kosinski

 In Czesław Czapliński’s work I value his focused, concentrated and reflexive seriouseness. Art need to be taken seriously and have its rules followed: Czapliński’s extraordinary and original work is a confirmation of this eternal truth… He is a painter and psychologist, a careful and sensitive artist and is a talent whose fruits bear the feature of genuine of our earth – freshness, succulence and color.

    — Ryszard Kapuściński, March 1988 National Gallery Zachęta in Warsaw

 The photograph which you have taken of me with my hands under my chin is one of the best photographs ever taken, because it suggests that its object is a man who gives a lot of thought to his work and the movements of his heroes in their surroundings. I would be happy if it became the main photographic statement about myself and my work.

— James A. Michener

 The best picture ever taken of me and one which mirrors me in the most favorable light.

— William Styron

 You have accomplished the skill of photographing simplicity. It is the most difficult thing. Your portraits are completely devoid of any effects. This I esteem the most and it takes years to achieve that.

— Benedykt Jerzy Dorys

 The [portraits] show us the strength of your individuality, interpretation and dedication.

— Yousuf Karsh

 Thank you for what seems to be a very good photograph.

— Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I'm hopping from city to city right at the moment, but did want to thank you for sending the wonderful picture.

—Joseph Brodsky, Dec.13, 1987