J.W.: Can you love the city?
B.M.: I think you can.
J.W.: Just like that? Or maybe it’s because of the people in it, atmosphere, culture? I don’t know about photography, never been one.
B.M.: You can love yourself in the city.
J.W.: The way you are when you interfuse with city atmosphere?
B.M.: It’s a special kind of love. Special kind of intimacy. Freedom. I am a living tissue of the city, I create it. I am the city, but I am simultaneously an outsider, behind the glass and camera. Like a witness. Looking through the windshield. I don’t get involved, I’m just looking, I am an observer. I capture the picture. So maybe I’m not there. This is that freedom. Cap of invisibility. I can do more, I touch the world and no one sees it.
J.W.: I guess you can’t differentiate between being “in” and “out”. It’s like in quantum mechanics, just observing changes the value of perceived thing.
B.M.: That’s why, as a said before – I am and I am not there.
J.W.: Or maybe you just think that you have this cap of invisibility, but in reality the cap is a fluorescent suit. When you put it on, people act differently and space shapes otherwise as well.
B.M.: I don’t think so. And even when someone notices my lens, the picture is taken a fraction of a second before that. Plus, I am not really interested in attacking people on the street and showing their surprised faces. Human is a part of the city, part of the illustration, addition, often unseen, sometimes a blur or a shadow. People on the street never pose, they don’t change they behavior when confronted with my luminance, because I try to be grey and invisible when being on the streets.
J.W.: Are you telling the truth or is this a creation of some kind? You never know with another human being. Are you a quiet ghosts or maybe you just think you are? Maybe it’s some kind of a pose? I like to contemplate whether the world presented to me by someone is really his world or something created or for a certain usage.
B.M.: Being a ghost on the street is a very practical and only (to my knowledge) way to see and capture anything. There is no autocreation. The street is what it is. You are either invisible or you creating some kind of response and sell this artificial situation. You sell something. It’s different with portraits. There is some kind of interaction there. There is time and place to grapple with someone’s personality, tempting them, provoking, titillating their ego. Pictures of the street are acts of a different nature, other intimacy and specificity. So no, Kuba, I don’t lie (laughter).
J.W.: So, the city lives independently of people in it?
B.M.: Of course not. Look at the vision of New York’s decay in I am Legend by Francis Lawrence. Look at the story of Chernobyl or Danny Boyle’s 28 days later apocalypse.
J.W.: Maybe it’s the way the things should be? Wild, inconquerable, like an unfettered Schopenhauer’s will? Or maybe you like pictures of the conquered nature?
B.M.: Living in metropolis is wild and inconquerable without the mythos of apocalypse. There does not have to be grass growing from asphalt and antelopes wondering on the streets instead of cars. Living in the city is a struggle. At Savior Square in Warsaw, right next to jolly youth, there are homeless people being fought off. Sometimes, the municipal police with restaurant owners, and even guests will chase off dirty and clumsy man. In Harlem, a drug addict will clean a needle in the puddle and then put on the lipstick looking in the window of the cafeteria where she was previously chased off. You don’t need doom, catastrophe or tsunami to see the wildness of the city. Werewolves and superheroes are in movies. In life – there is loneliness and dirt.
J.W.: And this is what you see in your cap of invisibility?
B.M.: Sometimes. But I don’t like to photograph these scenes. I don’t like to shock.
J.W.: You think it’s too harsh?
B.M.: I like to show what is between the words. Silence. Loneliness. Not when it’s visible and orders someone to move closer to the edge, but when it’s inevitable. Where, if not in the city, it is most likely to find.