Boryslav through the Photos of Stanisław Rachfał

Boryslav through the Photos of Stanisław Rachfał

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June - July 2011

Exhibition Hall, Center for Urban History

The exhibition is a visual project based on a recently rediscovered photo album depicting Boryslav. These photographs of Boryslav were taken in the 1920s-30s by Stanisław Rachfał. Stanisław Rachfał’s collection of glass negatives were completely ruined after laying nearly 20 years, exposed to the elements behind a barn. The only thing that remains of them is the album of photographs made from those negatives. The Center for Urban History of East-Central Europe will have enlargements of these photographs on display.

The photographs taken by Stanisław Rachfał show a village which has since, been completely transformed. Oilfield labourers and the masterminds behind this industry lived in the village of Boryslav (it obtained the designation of city in 1933). Stanisław Rachfał' was among these inhabitants. He graduated from the Lviv Polytechnic, held a Doctorate in Chemical Sciences, and was the Senior Specialist of the Boryslav oilfields in the 1930s.

The exhibition will display the photographs from Rachfał’s album. They capture the pre-war industrial landscapes. From these photographs, much can be learned about the old technology that was used to extract black gold in the Galicia region. The people in these photographs also illustrate how much contemporary Boryslav has evolved since that time. The series of photographs, taken during Rachfal’s vacations in the Carpathian Mountains, details the daily life of local inhabitants.

This project also hopes to popularize amateur documentary photography, whose value greatly increases with time. A representative from the Museum of History of Photography in Krakow will come to Lviv to lecture on the documentary value of the photographs.

Authors: Oles Kachmar (photographer), and Yulia Kysla (historian)

Curator: Andriy Linik, Exhibition Coordinator for the Center

Partner: Polish Institute in Kyiv

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