The Sound of Two Songs offers a contemplative view on contemporary Poland. Power has been continually visiting Poland for the last 5 years, documenting the bleak, beautiful, and often silent areas that exist in both the rural and urban parts of this country. Power also integrates a variety of portraits (the subjects often holding back any sense of real emotion) that I believe add a dimension of human involvement to a landscape otherwise operating in a grim, if not surreal, state. In a brief description of why he was compelled to photograph Poland, Power states that for him "Poland is exotic." By observing this body of work, I would agree.... Poland is exotic.
To be clear, The Sound of Two Songs is one of the most interesting bodies of work I have come across this year. Not only have I connected to the images in Power's monograph, this work has also created a deep sense of nostalgia for a landscape I have never personally traveled to. The barren landscape reminds me of growing up in the stripped and still plains of the central United States. The cold winters, muted colors, recurring crucifixes and inherent loners depicted in Power's monograph are all too familiar.
The Sound of Two Songs offers an oddly compelling visual tale of contemporary Poland. As Power states, "Poland is a land bursting with visual contradictions." This is a statement that could offer a whole topic of discussion unto itself, and flipping through the pages of Power's book, I completely understand what he is getting at.
Mark Power's The Treasury Project and Superstructure are available at photo-eye Auctions. Both titles are signed.