Friday, 4 February 2011

Oldschool photochallenge

Left: A Trabant on ul. Fabryczna yesterday; note white-on-black numberplates and the Niewiadów N250 trailer behind the car.

What struck me about this view is the total absense of any element in the picture that could place it any time later than 1991 (when Trabant production came to an end).

Time, I think, to fish out more photos, where car and background hark back to another age. Worldwide, the Trabant is probably the most iconic vehicle of the communist era, even though in Poland it was relatively rare compared to the Fiat 126P Maluch. Yet the Fiat 126's more modern design, and the fact that it was a familiar shape in western Europe, deprives it of icon status outside of Poland.

Right: another Trabant in Warsaw (photo from February 2008). This is ul. Rzymowskiego in lower Mokotów, not too far from Galeria Mokotów. Everything is right in this picture, down to the fetching shade of orange for the waste bin and the pre-MSI signage on the entrance to the flats, built of course using wielka płyta (pre-fabricated units).

Left: FSM Syrena 105 in Saska Kępa. The Syrena, an indigenous Polish design (both body and engine) was built in smaller numbers than the Trabant (half a million vs. three million) and was built mainly for the domestic market, so its communist cult car status is reserved for Poland; sadly the Syrena is not widely known abroad.

The 105, unlike its predecessors, had front-hinged doors. Nicknamed skarpeta ('sock') because, well, it looked like one. Or indeed, as some wags put it - because it smelled like one.

Above: Zielona Góra, January 2009. Another photo where nothing gives away modernity; this could be 1991 or even 1981. The Trabant is a late-model 1.1 Universal, or estate car (kombi). Like the Trabants above the 1.1 was powered by a VW Polo engine rather than the original wheezy and polluting two-stroke unit originally fitted to the Trabant 601 from 1963 to 1990.

Above: W-wa Zachodnia, 2009. Or 1989? Can you see any signs of modernity in this, Warsaw's (if not Poland's) worst railway station?

And so: a challenge to my fellow bloggers: Can you post a photo from present-day Poland that still reeks of the atmosphere of the communist era? Extra points if you can do so in Warsaw, rather than some miasto powiatowe in the middle of nowhere. Photos will be rigorously scrutinised for signs of modern advertising, signage, decoration, fashions, mobile telephony etc.

Original posts are here (Mokotów), here (Saska Kępa) and here (Zielona Góra).

This time last year:
Warsaw's wonderful nooks and crannies

This time three years ago:
Viaduct to the airport

3 comments:

Kolin said...

Nice challenge and nice photos. I'll have a think about this and see what I can do. Modern advertising will be the toughest thing to avoid! I guess the blogger honour system applies: no photoshop!

Sigismundo said...

In the first Trabbie photo, the blushing pink paintwork on the block of flats in the background kinda gives away the game. Don't think such colours were generally available in communist Poland, and certainly not used in the way they are on this particular apartamentowiec.

Interesting challenge though, probably easier at this time of year when people are wearing heavy outdoor clothing rather than summer-wear, which is far more subject to fashion.

student SGH said...

I don't want to pick on details but on all photos some original windows are replaced with new plastic ones. The one with Syrenka could look like from late 1970s if it wasn't for a satellite dish. And the woman wearing a violet scarf, standing on the platform of W-wa Zachodnia is talking on her mobile phone.

Challenge is nice indeed. Let me be the first to pick up the gaunlet and go back to my post dated 12 September 2009. The last photo shows Zakłady Lniarskie Orzeł in Mysłakowice, powiat jeleniogórski. The linen plant, set up around 1839 by Germans, was still operational then, it was declared bankrupt on 16 July 2010, its shares were listed on Warsaw Stock Exchange until 14 January 2011.

Feel free to copy teh photo to your blog if you wish