This New Zine Is a Love Letter to Summer in Poland

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Summer, Farewell
Summer, FarewellPhotography by Joanna Wzorek

Photographer Joanna Wzorek talks to AnOther about her publication, Summer Farewell, an ode to the beauty of the Polish countryside

Poland-born, London-based Joanna Wzorek’s photography is characterised by three things: emotion, spontaneity and colour. “I wanted to be a painter but I’m extremely impatient,” Wzorek admits over the phone, laughing self-effacingly. “So that’s why I started taking pictures using these bold colours.” When looking at Wzorek’s lively images though, it’s clear that her photographic world is first and foremost shaped by feeling: “I try to put my emotions into my work,” she says. “My main goal is to make people feel something.”

Formerly studio manager to artist Steve Harries and photographer Mel Bles, this past year Wzorek has had the opportunity to work on her own personal project, a zine titled Summer, Farewell. A love letter to summer in Poland and the country’s outstanding natural beauty, the publication brings together portraits of friends, farmyard animals, and unposed nudes. Wzorek describes it as a “postcard from Poland.”

“When lockdown happened I really didn’t know what to do,” the photographer says on the origins of the zine. “You couldn’t leave the house, we didn’t know what [Covid-19] was … and so I was sort of returning to this safe space in my head of all these childhood memories of summers in Poland. And that’s how I began thinking that once I’m able to go there, I could take all these feelings and put it into some sort of body of work.”

So, last summer, once the lockdown lifted and borders opened once more, Wzorek flew back to Poland to document the verdant landscapes she spent isolation longing for. “At the start I didn’t know what I would produce out of it,” Wzorek says. “Most of it was shot in the countryside. I just visited friends … and we did a little road trip in the car, going through and noticing things through the windows. It was quite spontaneous and actually a very joyful experience.” 

This joy is evident in the zine’s sun-soaked pages, something Wzorek is aware is at odds with much of the reality of everyday life in Poland, where the ruling right-wing party Law and Justice continues to tear away women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, and where the news is distorted through censorship. “It’s very frightening,” says Wzorek. “The culture here is great, the people here are great, all of my friends and the younger generation are fighting for rights and going into marches – it’s so great to see. But on the other hand, you’re just really afraid of what’s going to happen.”

“I don’t want to be extremely political in my art or my photography, but I also don’t want to forget about it – you need to make statements as well,” Wzorek continues. “This zine definitely is not political, it’s more a form of escapism because we were bombarded with all this news about Poland, first of all, and then the pandemic hit so that’s the second thing … I really wanted to create something that could sort of help with dealing with those emotions, that could be a soothing experience while looking at it.”

The specific kind of escapism presented in the zine is a feeling Wzorek describes as being akin to the fleeting bliss of the season itself. “I tried to capture this spirit of lost summer, hence the title Summer, Farewell,” she explains. “Sort of like when you go somewhere on holiday; you are there, you meet new people, you’re living in the moment, and then you have to say goodbye to this space and the landscape, and to all the people that you’ve met. It’s sort of like this short period of time, this moment that you need to say goodbye to.”

Summer, Farewell is available now. If you would like to purchase a copy, email