This collection consists mainly of photographs devoted to society and its customs and highlights changes that have affected the region due to industrialization. The collection is divided into several thematic sub-sets, including records of historic events such as World War I, the insurrections and the Plebiscite within Upper Silesia, and Poland’s systemic transformation of the 1980s.
The collection of photographs dedicated to society and its life depicts civilization and cultural changes that have occurred in many communities throughout the region. These photographs represent social and family events of the human life cycle, including christenings, baptisms, school years, weddings and funerals.
649 glass and celluloid negative films of M. Gładysz form a special element of the Museum’s ethnographic collection. The photographs were taken during a project researching the culture of the highlanders of Silesian Beskids. The diversity of landscape, the views of villages and towns, and old buildings are depicted by the collection of architectural and town-planning photographs. Another interesting body of photographs are portraits, the oldest dating back to 1850. Showing people of all corners of Poland, these pictures were taken in some of the oldest photographic studios in Poland. This is a rich source of knowledge about Polish society and its customs and a great opportunity to take a closer look at the very medium of photography.
The collection of fine art photography consists of images by some of the leading figures of the Silesian art scene, including: H. Holas-Idziakowa and L. Idziak, Z. Rydet, J. Lewczyński, A. Koniakowski, M. Cała, S. Gadomski, S. Jakubowski, M. Sowiński, J. Makal, J. Ligęza, J. Hlawsa-Hlawski, and A. Gola.
Muzeum Śląskie has also produced and compiled an extensive photographic documentation that comprises 25,000 pictures.
Head of the Photography Department: Mariusz Gąsior