Michal Iwanowski’s photobook Clear of People retraces a journey, originally made in 1945 by the artist’s grandfather and uncle, through a politically charged and precarious landscape.
The 2,200 km fugitive odyssey began in Kaluga, Russia, where the two brothers had spent a year in a prisoner-of-war camp. Their daring escape was followed by a three month trek. Struggling against constant cold, hunger and exhaustion, they moved under the cover of the night, avoiding any contact with people. Driven by their longing to return home, and having escaped death on numerous occasions, they eventually made it to Wroclaw, Poland, where they were reunited with their family.
70 years later, Michal Iwanowski returned to Russia with a map and notes inherited from his uncle. He embarked on a similar journey, faithfully retracing every step, with a camera as his sole comrade. And just like Tolek and Wiktor had, he steered clear of people along the way.