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Council workers star in photography exhibition in Cromer

16:51 04 October 2012

Photographer Stefan Bojanowski.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Photographer Stefan Bojanowski. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

Council workers are the stars of a photography exhibition being staged in Cromer.

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Photographer and retired teacher Stefan Bojanowski has taken black and white portraits of at least 23 North Norfolk District Council staff for his Private Faces in Public Places exhibition.

They include everyone from the chief executive and a catering supervisor to a lifeguard and a pair of property maintenance men.

The images are being displayed in the 1st Floor Gallery at the council offices in Holt Road until November 19.

Mr Bojanowski, known by former pupils as “Mr BJ” in his days as an English and media studies teacher at Cromer, Aylsham, North Walsham and Earlham high schools, said: “ I wanted to show the range of people involved in north Norfolk. We have an idea that all they do is sit in the office staring at a computer but they are also outside doing lots of other things.

“The whole process was interesting. I got to meet a lot of people who were kind enough to volunteer their time to help me.”

Mr Bojanowski, of Plumstead Green, near Holt, took up photography three years ago after his wife Helen bought him a digital camera. He became hooked on the hobby, took a City and Guilds course in photography and invested in a professional camera.

In January this year, he made an appeal in the North Norfolk News asking for people to suggest a project for him to do. North Norfolk District Council got in touch and, after viewing Mr Bojanowski’s portfolio, commissioned him to do the exhibition.

The portraits are taken in natural light while the staff are working. Mr Bojanowski explained he chose black and white to avoid the distraction of colour.

Mr Bojanowski took hundreds of pictures and returned to his subjects several times before he was happy with the images.

He said: “My way of working is to go in, take a picture and then go away. People don’t have time to become self conscious. It wasn’t a studio situation.

“It is hard to pick a favourite image because they are all different.

“There are two property maintenance men called Billy and Dick. When I met them they were doing maintenance on the Marrams Shelter with BBC Countryfile. I got pictures of them individually but I had to use the one where they are together and laughing their heads off. Everybody in North Norfolk council knows them as Billy and Dick and they seemed like a double act so I wanted to show that.

“With the chief executive Sheila Oxtoby, I tried to get something of her status and authority but at the same time make it an informal picture.”

Mr Bojanowski is also interested in photographing people in working environments which reflect Norfolk’s heritage, and he has already done a shoot of a farmer and his family, a horticulturalist and with a group of artists near Mundesley. He is also working on a project with a traditional butcher.

Email stefanbojanowski@rocketmail.com for more details or visit northnorfolk.org/arts.

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