Kasimir Zgorecki (1904–1980) is known for his remarkable portraits of Polish immigrants in France during the 1920s and 1930s.
In September 1919, thousands of Polish workers arrived in Northern France to settle in the county’s mining region, following a migration agreement between Poland and France. Zgorecki was also part of the era’s Polish diaspora: a similar agreement between Poland and Germany had previously led his father to find work as a miner in Germany’s Ruhr Valley. In 1922, Zgorecki left Germany for France, where he took over his brother-in-law’s photo studio in Rouvroy.
During the interwar period, he captured documentary portraits of Polish émigrés who had left their country far behind, making their personal stories tangible and giving insight into their everyday lives. His sensitive black-and-white images – which have been rediscovered by new audiences over the past twenty years – bear witness to life in an expatriate community whose members were keen to integrate and succeed, whilst also maintaining their own heritage and traditions.
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