by Marcia Ellett

Looking at the world through a camera lens sometimes reveals a perspective or a secret one doesn’t see with the naked eye. Discovering these gems, these visual stories, is a passion for artistic photographer Stanislaw Goc, otherwise known as Slawek, a native of Warsaw, Poland, turned Indianapolis resident. With a background of working in theater and film in Europe, Slawek followed his wife, Krystyna Goc-Szkutnicka, to the U.S. She was a biochemist working for the University of New York and eventually took a job with a company that was purchased by Roche Diagnostics, which brought the couple to Indianapolis. They’ve now been here 12 years. A friend of Slawek’s, Dr. Soto Kurylo, once wrote, “Although I have never learned how to read and write, I paint a picture residing in my mind.” Slawek has adopted this as his motto, and he has traveled the world to tell the stories he finds in his mind’s eye through photographs.

The couple travels as often as they can, said Krystyna. Some of the places they’ve been include Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Easter Island, Montreal and Patagonia, among others. Most of the photographs included in his current exhibit, “Reflections – Way Off Theater”, were taken in Europe and the U.S. Slawek and his wife have rented a space at the Art Bank, a gallery at 811 Massachusetts Avenue downtown, so he has a regular place to show his work. “I didn’t think I would show my photography in this way,” he said. He started out inviting people to his home once or twice a year to show them his current photographs. He has since lost his hesitation, because “I like to provoke thought,” he admitted.

“Reflections – Way Off Theater” is an exhibit featuring photographs printed on aluminum.

“People are curious about aluminum. More and more people are trying to use it. My wife used to say photographs must be on polished paper,” Slawek said, smiling. She smiled back and quickly replied, “I don’t think that anymore.” And looking at the finished products – striking photographs of reflections and optical illusions capturing glimpses of people, buildings, emotions and the passage of time – it’s easy to see why. This photo snapped by Slawek shows a cemetery in the foreground with the World Trade Center Towers in the distance. Slawek calls his photos “draft notes with a camera.” But he is an unobtrusive photographer, most often holding the camera at his waist when snapping shots. In this way, he catches life, “not subjects mugging for the camera,” he said. Slawek has lent his photography skills volunteering with IndyFringe and the Indianapolis International Film Festival in the past. He has dedicated his “Reflections – Way Off Theater” exhibit to the creators of IndyFringe.

“My camera interprets Pop Art,” he explained. “Which originated in America many years ago and is dominant today in our streets, stores and even our houses.”