I’ve always been a believer in coincidences, and how the most inspirational journeys encountered are the ones that occur spontaneously. Since this is my first piece written from a house away from home, this coincidence is special in its own being.

Inside the Galerie Treppenhaus situated in the heart of Erlangen, a university city in Bavaria, Germany, the work of Thomas Michalczyk welcomes visitors with a whiff of curiosity. Michalczyk is a photographer and media producer who revolved his current exhibition Cargo around his journey on a cargo ship, sailing across the Mediterranean all the way from Antwerp to Casablanca.

Combining his experience with CGI, his passion for photography and his perseverance to continue with his Design bachelor’s degree, Thomas Michalcyzk offers a heart-warming narration of the faces he meets across country borders. The trip is documented through a story series of five parts, chronologically and geographically arranged.

Thomas Michalczyk, “Industrie” (Industry) – 2018

His industrialisation-oriented visual rollercoaster starts with the conversations conducted with crew members of the ANDREA. Part one kicks off from meeting the hospitable and friendly Chico, known as the chef behind Thomas’s Guten Appetit piece; to an anonymous persona under the name of Bob, an enigmatic man with a courageous past of war and a harsh military lifestyle.

Thomas Michalczyk, Guten Appetit (Enjoy Your Meal) – 2018

The 134 meter ship’s route included a list of destinations across the sea, such as southern Spanish city Cartagena and Setúbal in Portugal.  Michalcyzk adapts a daily routine with the sea crewmen consisting of regularly timed breakfast, lunch and dinner; with an 8-hour round of maintenance and assistance of the cargo ship throughout the day. Whilst capturing unusual themes within the concept of human and industrial photography, Thomas accompanies viewers of his exhibition onto a cruise of odysseys told through the smiles of ANDREA’s raiders at sea. Though the route lines kept changing dynamically at sea and decisions were to be made speedily, the artist’s determination didn’t stop him from clipping the tales of strangers to his heart, that would later become a collection of landscape, abstract and portrait wonders. As Thomas and his new lifetime friends cross the Atlantic Ocean to the edge of Gibraltar’s borders, they’re faced with security obstacles; and eventually head back to Rotterdam as a transit to their final point; Rouen, France.

Thomas Michalczyk, Portraits of ANDREA crew members – 2018

Storytelling comes in endless forms and notions, and constantly evolves over time with the lush collision of culture, technology, art, design and human interaction. Thomas Michalcyzk fashions the latter in a way to show an unconventional communication model with the crew members that completely differs from the typical question-and-answer, interview-styled installations. To master the craft of a field of study, the respect of the subjects and participants involved must be accompanied.  To say the least, Cargo was merely a pictorial celebration of the efforts of the hidden, diligent heroes in our society.

Thomas Michalczyk, interior of ANDREA – 2018

Image courtesy of lifeinanalogue