AboutMAREK A. KAREWICZ
THIS IS JAZZ
In his archives almost the entire history of jazz in Poland is hidden and the pantheon of the greatest jazz stars. Probably no one in Europe has taken so many jazz pictures as Marek Karewicz. He is a living jazz legend himself. He's been taking pictures from the very outset, i.e. from the moment when jazz surfaced in the post-WWII Poland. He was in the enthusiastic crowd that marched through the town in the New Orleans parade inaugurating the first Jazz Festival in Sopot in 1956. He didn't have his camera on him, but instead he carried his trumpet hoping for an opportunity to sit in at a jam session. Six months later he played with Six Boys Stompers at the opening of Hybrydy club in Warsaw. It was then that Leopold Tyrmand heard him play and advised to focus on photography instead. This was the last time that Marek blew the trumpet. He quickly learned that with a camera in his hand he would be surely admitted to all gigs anyway. Ever since he's never missed a Jazz Jamboree festival in Warsaw nor a Jazz on Odra festival in WrocŠ âaw, wherever they play jazz he ever was and still is virtually omnipresent. His way of taking pictures is well known to all concert regulars. When a band starts playing the crowd with cameras runs blindfold towards the stage. Marek stays apart. He's listening to the music and waiting for the right moment. Easy and relaxed he moves forward with firm steps and coolly aims at a previously selected object. He releases the shutter a few times and disappears. A silhouette of a musician with an instrument remains recorded on his film, as well as his face, expression, grimace, gesture, and feeling that tells more about the music than thousand words of a detailed critical account. Marek Karewicz's exhibition This Is Jazz is one of the most complete collections of jazz celebrities ever compiled. It was on display throughout the world from the Ural Mountains to Chicago. Even if he visited the jazz homeland USA only recently, yet Marek carried the American jazz in his heart for all his life. As he said at the opening of his exhibition Willis Conover in Poland, it was just Conover, who taught him what freedom meant. Jazz and photography are not only his profession, hobby, and passion; they are the way of his life.
Individual and collective exhibitions:
... and here we are deep in trouble, since Marek Karewicz never cared much for documenting his work. Whoever knows him, knows also that collecting exhibition catalogues, press clippings, or other memorabilia, if only backstage passes from gigs he photographed, has never entered his mind.
All we know is that his first exhibition was in 1960 at MPiK International Press and Books Club, Warsaw's most popular, at the junction of Aleje Jerozolimskie and Nowy Swiat. And ever since he exhibited, as Jazz Forum's editor in chief Pawel Brodowski has rightly put it:' from Chicago up to the Ural Mountains, in hundreds of galleries and clubs, and at countless jazz festivals in Europe' and not only there.
Despite his age and ailing health Marek still actively participates in exhibition activities, and in the last year alone he himself opened his exhibitions in Berlin, Sopot, Lodz, Warsaw, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Naleczow and Vienna. Equally underdocumented is his work as graphic designer of over 2,000 record covers. As many as five of these were featured in recently published anthology Jazz Covers A Collection of Over 650 of the Most Celebrated and Rarest Jazz Album Covers from the 1940s Through the Early 1990s (Tachen 2008).