Space, light, color and the relationship of elements to each other are the key components of my photographs. Guided by an interest in urbanism and habitation, I focus my work on the built environment and its influence on global societies.
“Inhabited” is the result of my explorations into the world’s private and public spaces searching for differences and commonalities. Between 2007 and 2008 I spent a year traveling around the world, taking photographs across 17 countries.
The world’s cultures may be very different, but when seen through a consistent lens in terms of simple geometry, the complexities of cultural variation fall away. Here I turn my camera onto the ordinary details of everyday life, past the complexities of race, religion or cultural differences and onto the similarities of the mundane. I look into the quiet spaces where people sleep, wait, or work. My first priority was to examine the design and atmosphere of culturally diverse spaces and as I did so I saw beyond diversity to a consistency in the way we lead our lives.
The interiors of the rooms I’ve shot serve the same purpose no matter where they are found. Stripped of obvious cultural references and detached from their surroundings, they gain a kind of disorienting universality. The rooms are unoccupied but on closer inspection, items like a crumpled pillow or a half full bottle of water imply the human presence. By carefully composing each frame and eliminating the people who otherwise would help distinguish the place geographically, I wanted the spaces to become anonymous. This anonymity forces the viewer to imagine, “Who lives here? What do they do?” and most importantly, briefly switch places with the absent occupants and ask, “Could this be me?”
Magda Biernat was born in Poznan, Poland. She obtained a MA Degree in Marketing and Management from the Adam Mickiewicz University and a BA degree in Photography from Wielkopolska School of Photography. She spent a year abroad during college studying at the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven, Belgium.
She moved to the United States in 2002, first settling down in Seattle, WA, then moving to New York, NY two years later. She continued perusing her love of photography by working in different photography related positions.
After moving to New York, she started working for the worldwide photographers cooperative, Magnum Photos, where she acquired experience in running a photography business. In the meantime she continued working as a freelance photographer and on her personal projects.
Magda Biernat was introduced to the field of Architectural Photography when she took a workshop with Norman McGrath at the Maine Photographic Workshops. Not longer after, she started assisting Mr. McGrath on different architectural jobs.
To better understand the world of architecture and design in 2005 Magda began working at Metropolis Magazine as a Freelance Photo Editor. There she had the opportunity to meet and work with many great photographers working in this field.
Magda Biernat resides and works in New York. website.