Klaus Polkowski il­lus­trates the human ex­per­i­ence – in a very hu­mane way, the way people truly are.

Without guile. Without aloof­ness. But al­ways with re­spect.

On every page and in every pic­ture you will no­tice how he lets people be who they are – wheth­er as a com­mis­sioned work or free work, wheth­er politi­cians, en­tre­pren­eurs, artists, or people like you and me.Per­haps the fol­low­ing quote from Klaus Polkowski from 2001 says it best: “In the be­gin­ning, I was al­ways search­ing for pic­tures. Now, more than ever, they have star­ted find­ing me.“

Born in Bad Säckin­gen/Ger­many in 1965, Klaus Polkowski began cap­tur­ing life through his cam­era lens at the age of 12. He lived and worked in Ber­lin from 1987 until 1992 dur­ing which time he taught him­self the art of pho­to­graphy. He has lived in Freiburg as a photo artist with a focus on por­traits and travel pho­to­graphy since 1992.

A year later Polkowski dis­covered black & white pho­to­graphy, which has be­come his char­ac­ter­ist­ic art form. In 1988 Polkowski met Gary Woods, a Brit­ish pho­to­graph­er who was work­ing on a pro­ject about Moth­er Teresa in Cal­cutta. He in­vited Polkowski to work with him on it, which later turned into a black & white doc­u­ment­ary about an In­di­an clin­ic for the ter­min­ally ill. Some of Polkowski’s most im­press­ive, grip­ping pho­tos later be­came part of Woods’ pub­lished book, Moth­er Teresa – A Life in Pic­tures.

Polkowski con­siders the pic­tures that he “gath­ers“ dur­ing his travels to be a trav­el­ler’s visu­al diary. He doc­u­ments his own per­son­al view of the coun­tries and the vari­ous people he meets through his ex­pans­ive black & white photo series. The sens­it­ive, in­tim­ate po­traits he cre­ates are the res­ult of his gentle, gradu­al ap­proach to­ward the people in his pic­tures. His tech­nique in­ev­it­ably in­vites the ob­serv­er to in­ter­act with the sub­jects he sees. For Polkowski it is about both cap­tur­ing life in pic­tures and breath­ing life into them through his own in­ter­pret­a­tion.

An­a­logue or di­git­al? That’s a mat­ter of philo­sophy. In the end the cam­era is merely a tool in the hands of the pho­to­graph­er him­self.For over 25 years Klaus Polkowski has been work­ing with an ana­logue, me­di­um format cam­era Has­sel­blad 503 CXi/CW (6×6), a Mam­iya (6×7) and a Rol­leiflex 2.8GX, all of which stem from the pre-di­git­al era. Using a DURST Mod­u­lar 70 Vario mag­ni­fi­er in his photo labor­at­ory, Polkowski de­vel­ops high-qual­ity sil­ver gelat­ine prints, also known as Ba­ryta prints. His Fine Art Prints stem from di­git­al­ized black and white neg­at­ives.