Gerald Howson (b.1925) is a British historian, painter and photographer.
In 1959, the British photographer Gerald Howson makes a trip to Poland. His task is to document the reality of life under the communist regime. Together with his friend, Frank Toohey, they are to produce an article for the elitist publication "Queen". Frank works at the time for the British Council in Krakow. He is to help Gerald with the logistics.
Howson packs his cameras and a mobile darkroom into his rucksack and sets out on a journey to Poland. He visits Krakow, Lublin and Warsaw. Although not speaking a word of Polish, he comes very close to his subjects. His photographs are beautifully composed and perceptive. Howson trained as a painter, so he records the eerily exotic life in a very painterly fashion. His images become a historical document, but also a work of art.
Gerald's photographs had never been published. The editor of "Queen" decided they were too coarse for its elitist, aristocratic readership. Just as well, because Frank Toohey couldn't write an honest article about Poland without getting some of his friends back in communist Poland into very serious trouble. Subsequently, the project was shelved. Only a few images appeared in an edition of the Daily Telegraph.
All images © Gerald Howson