Max Miechowski (b.1989) is a photographer based in London. Predominantly making images within his immediate community and across the United Kingdom, his work offers insight into overlooked yet everyday aspects of modern Britain. His practice, which is rooted in portraiture, is identifiable by its sensitivity and optimism. Miechowski’s images elevate his subjects, employing a strong graphic vision to explore the ways that people and space influence one another, and ultimately emphasise the reciprocal relationship between the individual, the local community and their unique culture.
Miechowski’s art practice largely involves exploring his chosen environment on foot, be that of his borough, the local park, or the length of the British east coast. Through his honest approach to photographing the people he encounters, Miechowski’s images are both a collaborative celebration of community and a reflection on his role within it. Using analogue techniques and a careful eye for composition, both his landscape and portrait photographs are rendered in rich and vivid colour, and a soft light that is rarely seen within the British documentary tradition.
His images have been exhibited internationally in places such as Paris Photo Fair, Photo London, and the The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. He was selected as one of LensCulture’s Emerging Talents for 2019, was included in the Creative Review Photography Annual in 2018 and 2020, and has had consecutive winning images in British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain. He has been featured in, and made work for, a wide selection of publications and clients including M Magazine, The New York Times, The Guardian, Royal Academy Of Art, The Guardian, British Journal of Photography and It’s Nice That.
About ‘‘A big fat sky’ – words by Max Miechowski:
Growing up in Britain, none of us were ever more than 70 miles from the sea; the quirky coastal towns, arcades and candy floss, naff looking rides and fish and chips. A brave swim in the cold and murky waters if we fancied it. When I was a kid we would always take trips to the east coast. Mostly to Skegness, but sometimes Norfolk or Yorkshire.
Recently, I have found myself going back. Taking long trips along the country’s edge, exploring the towns and landscapes overlooking the North Sea. Surprisingly, these trips have given me the same sense of fascination and wonder that I felt as a child – they have served as an escape from the city, and an opportunity to find beauty in scenes that seem so familiar to all of us. Often it has felt like stepping back in time, to an atmosphere and pace that feels different to what I’ve grown used to whilst living in London.
The seaside plays an important role in British leisure time, with many families and individuals relying on it for a break from stressful work routines and city life. This has recently been emphasised by the restrictions on international travel brought about by the global pandemic. Where many of us had grown used to finding our fun in warmer, more exotic destinations, we have now been left with the coastal towns and resorts that many of us left behind as children.
The stress and anxiety caused by the current global situation has us all looking for opportunities to unwind. Despite overlooking it for years, the British seaside has provided us with the space to do that – an opportunity to reconnect to the sea, and in many ways to ourselves.