Michal Iwanowski

Clear Of People

(2012 - 2017)

My grandfather Tolek, and his brother Wiktor, escaped from soviet captivity and crossed over 2000 kilometres on their fugitive journey home in 1945.


This is not an unusual story. There are no heroes in it, and there is nothing glorious about the events. You have seen it happen before. And you will see it happen again.  


I followed his footsteps for personal reasons. Hoping that if I walked long enough I might find him. Tell him it mattered. Hoping that the landscape might connect me to a time and people long gone.


But what had started as a quiet tribute soon turned into a meditation on the strength of the human spirit. How do you carry on when your body gives up? What hope drives you blindly forward when your life is so obviously disposable?


I have no interest in judging history, nor am I interested in glorifying my relatives. But just what happens to all those people who one day wake up to a war? Who mourns the lost ones? Our landscape is crowded with ghosts on their way home. East. West. North. South. There is no room in history books to fit all those people.  


This book is theirs.  

book cover

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2018

nomination for 'Clear of People'

BEST of 2017


Top 5 of the year by Sean O'Hagan (The Guardian)


Photobook Store, Top 10 by Robin Thitchner


Best Books of 2017 by The Calvert Journal


The Best East European Photobook 2017 (FK Magazine)


Best Photobooks from Poland by Culture.pl