The institutional framework for the photographers' work during the period of the People's Republic of Poland has not hitherto been a matter of any in-depth research, despite the fact this framework significantly influenced the attitudes and social rôles of this creative group. In the years 1946-1947, the circles of photographers initiated the inception of institutions which redefined the place of photography in the field of artistic output. This redefinition took the form of a change of status and social rôle of its creators in the newly established Polish state. The institutions in question were the Polish Association of Art Photographers and the Polish Photographic Society. Thus, creators of photography conducted the formal division of their circle into the sub-groups of artists, professionals and amateurs and defined the status and functions of each sub-group. Inception of those institutions solidified the division both in the sphere of aesthetic programmes and in the competences of their members. The most significant changes concerned the tradition of amateur photography. The interwar years were a period of rapid development of this field of creativity, as photography was no longer accessible only to the small élite and became more widespread. After the war, in defining the rôles of a professional photographer and the artist, the creators in this field of art referred to this tradition. The art was often termed 'photographics' (fotografika in Polish); this word was coined by Jan Bulhak as an expression of his attachment to the aesthetic tradition found also in his theoretical texts.
Magdalena Wróblewska, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Historii Sztuki, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
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