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The photograph shows a big group of highlanders standing by a new parish church at Krupówki (the Church of Sacred Family). It is 1901. The picture can give you some idea about highlanders’ dress and customs, and shows a fragmentary view of the new church back then. A part of an album from a Kraków family of Pusłowscy, the picture is a great example of amateur toned black and white photography.

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The photograph shows a big group of highlanders standing by a new parish church at Krupówki (the Church of Sacred Family). It is 1901. The picture can give you some idea about highlanders’ dress and customs, and shows a fragmentary view of the new church back then. A part of an album from a Kraków family of Pusłowscy, the picture is a great example of amateur toned black and white photography. The picture could have been taken by Ksawery Pusłowski. The History of Photography Museum has three albums like this, which include images of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane, the Pieniny Mountains, the village of Frydman, the Mediterranean coast, Brittany, Kraków and other places. A few photographs show peasants from Kraków villages at a market at Kraków’s Szczepański Square.
Men clad in their Sunday best are standing by a stone church; a statue of St. Joseph is on the left, the slope of Gubałówka in the middle. A highlander is turned to the left, dressed in highland trousers and a cucha jacket on the right-hand side in the foreground; three boys wearing highland trousers, white shirts and highland waistcoats in the middle, all wearing highland hats. The highland boys make for the Barthesian punctum of this photograph, a detail drawing the viewer’s attention. There are other interesting details — another highlander on the right-hand side, stones in the church structure, St. Joseph’s sculpture on the base.
Reverend Józef Stolarczyk laid the stone foundation for the new church in 1877. The church was built slowly with highland stone by highlanders between 1879 and 1896 thanks to dedication on the part of the parishioners and the owner of the Zakopane lands — Count Władysław Zamoyski. The construction was managed by architect Józef Dziekoński. After Father Józef Stolarczyk died (on 6 July 1893), Zakopane’s second parish priest was Father Kazimierz Kaszelewski. The new parish priest completed the construction of the church and altars, built a new presbytery, established a new parish cemetery and successfully worked on setting up the cross on Giewont (19 August 1901). The new parish Church of Sacred Family was consecrated on 16 September 1899 by the Kraków bishop Jan Puzyna.
Maybe that is the moment the cross was brought to Giewont? One can infer so from the large number of men and the time of the year it was shot (summer). In the background you can see a grass-covered mountain pasture, in the foreground, thick grass. The cross on Giewont was put up in August 1901 and consecrated in that church.
Around Krupówki in Zakopane (the post office, the Tourist House, the Tatra Museum), and also in the Tatra Mountains (mountain shelters), besides the traditional wooden architecture highly appreciated today, structures erected at that time were made of stone. What is interesting about this photograph is the fact that it shows no women at all; there is just a group of men who traditionally gathered before the church. But was it just another Sunday gathering?

Elaborated by Małgorzata Kanikuła (Museum of Photography in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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“Zakopane. Highlanders in front of the church”

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