First in this year "Faces of Opole" has taken place

On Thursday, 21 March, there took place a meeting, "For the love of photography", at the Museum’s Opole seat. Its protagonist was Jerzy Stemplewski, a photographer, long-time educationalist and social activist.

Dr. Violetta Rezler-Wasielewska, Director of the Museum, opened the meeting. She welcomed the attendees and introduced the event’s protagonist as well as Professor Stanisław Nicieja who moderated the further part of the meeting.

The starting point for the event was a reflection on the phenomenon of photography as a singular elixir of immortality, which enables men not only to capture and retain a moment in the life of the city and its inhabitants, but also to leave a vestige of themselves.

The conversation then moved back to the beginning of Jerzy Stemplewski's life path, who, together with his parents and siblings, settled in Opole in 1953. His fascination with photography dates back to his teenage years, but it did not immediately constitute his chosen life path, as at first he was educated as a civil engineer. From 1966, he started earning money by working for the "Opole Tribune" newspaper, for which he took photos of sports events. At that time he also joined the Opole Photographic Society and, as it turned out, became irrevocably focused on photography.

During the conversation, there was no shortage of stories about unique situations while taking photographs. Among numerous anecdotes, the attendees heard stories about successive Festivals of Polish Song, dramatic events during the flood in 1997 and the civic struggle to defend the Opole region’s status as a province at the end of the 1990s. There were also brought up memories of many well-known figures, whom the meeting’s guest had the opportunity to photograph. Among them were Ryszard Kaczorowski, Lech Wałęsa, Archbishop Alfons Nossol and Zbigniew Religa.

The meeting concluded a casual conversation, during which Jerzy Stemplewski was presented with an antique but working camera, of his much-loved Canon company, and loudly applauded.

Photos by Bogusław Szybkowski and Jerzy Tomczak.

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