Press Release

Slovak Photographer Captures Heart of European Lifestyle from Years' Past

(ARA) — Travel for many people is about the sense of adventure and excitement that comes along with being in a new or foreign place. But upon arriving at their destination, many realize that an even deeper adventure lies in the search and discovery of the region's history, which has helped shape and form the characteristics and personality they are seeing today.

Dr. Igor Grossman, an artist from the small town of Rajec in the Slovak countryside, has managed to bring history and the culture of his homeland alive in a new book of photographs, "Images Gone With Time." "In the mid-fifties the little town of Rajec became my workplace and my home . . . I came across beauty unknown to me, in wood, colours and cloth. I discovered the values of the simple, unsophisticated life, enchanted by this world, I tried to capture it in photographs," writes Grossman. The compilation of black and white photographs not only reflects the images of Grossman's heritage, but a way of life in all of Europe that has faded in modern times and exists only in memories and photographs.

His images represent the resilient lifestyle of the Slovak villagers who lived their lives in the mountainous terrain of Central Europe, a terrain that dictated the agricultural cycle of life for the inhabitants. He captures the splendor of the sloping landscape and those of the mothers, fathers and children in it. These photographs speak to viewers about the cultural background of many Americans' European ancestors. They relay a universal language to not only people of Central or Eastern European heritage but also encourage viewers of all backgrounds to take heart in the cultural history of their own ancestors throughout the world.

Contributing his articulate, descriptive words to Grossman's collection is Milan Rufus, a renowned Slovak poet, professor of literature and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Rufus writes, "Duty was first and foremost. Nature ruled it - sometimes kindly, sometimes sternly, and occasionally cruelly." Through the eye of his camera, Grossman pays homage to the labor that guided villager's hands as Rufus' words evoke even deeper emotion from the faces and actions of the people and the magnificent land that surrounds them.

Grossman's photographs also offer a distinct interpretation of the beauty that is prevalent in the everyday lives of the Slovak villagers; a beauty he describes as being "sad and happy at the same time." Images of decorated village houses remind the viewer of the joyous times once spent in the abodes, but also the sadness that now exists with the extinction of such buildings and their inhabitants.

From harvesting potatoes, transporting wood in the deep snow and washing clothes in freezing creeks, Grossman's ability to incorporate his lens invisibly gives his photographs and his subjects an air of true sincerity. The photographer not only concentrates on the everyday noblesse of his subjects, but also captures the light-hearted moments of celebration that speckled the lives of the Slovak villagers. With images of festivals, such as Shrovetide, he is able to transfer the emotions of his subjects and the beauty of their expressions using his artistic documentary style.

Through these striking images, Grossman reveals documentation of a region in Europe and of a people who are little known to western society. But with this collection, he continues to relay the same human values that are present in today's world. With help from Bolchazy-Carducci Publishing who pioneered the decision to print the text in English and Slovak, both are helping to bring the world's attention to a period of history that holds extensive beauty and memories that are able to touch people worldwide. 

Examining the landscape of the countryside, the farms that grace the terrain and the people who lived in this beautiful part of the world, evokes the viewer's own memories of days past. Whether or not you have been fortunate enough to visit this beautiful and unique area of Europe, Grossman's photographs offer willing adventurers the opportunity to take away more from Central Europe than what they see there today.

"Images Gone With Time" is available as Barnes & Noble bookstores. For more information on Igor Grossman's photographs and his book, visit the Bolchazy-Carducci Web site

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