Aleksander Bochenek is a documentary photographer born in Krakow who is currently a member of Babel Images (www.babelimages.com). He has lived and worked as a photographer in Poland, Japan, and Spain, where he graduated with a degree in photojournalism from GrisArt Escola in Barcelona. In his photography Aleksander is mostly interested in religion, social injustice and the moral condition of humanity.
KP: If you could live anywhere in Krakow, where would it be, and why?
AB: I would live somewhere in the countryside (preferably in the mountains) and my house would be connected with Krakow’s city centre with a private ultra fast vacuum tunnel train.
KP: If you were crowned king of Krakow, what would be your first move?
AB: The first decree of four points for the first day of my reign would be:
1. All the bald police officers are obliged to explain their lack of hair.
2. Neighbours met on the staircase who fail to reply to “Dzień dobry” would be penalised.
3. DNA of the dog poo found in public spaces would be examined, the owner determined and ticket granted.
4. Residents are forbidden to thank drivers for stopping at the pedestrian crossing.
KP: What’s one place tourists can’t miss when in Krakow?
AB: The prehistoric Krak Mound. Poles have their pyramids too!
KP: Is there anything that’s overrated about Krakow?
AB: The food. There are not many places where you can have tasty, healthy food at affordable prices.
KP: If you had to erect a statue to any Cracovian, dead or alive, who would it be?
AB: Fred Gijbels, a very good friend of mine and a source of inspiration. He moved here from Amsterdam a couple of years ago and now he’s a true Cracovian. He used to be a teacher, journalist, politician – now he’s a photographer and a newborn artist. Despite the fact that he’s a bit older than me (some 35 years), he still surprises me with his fresh observations, joviality and loads of energy.
I would erect the statue in front of Jazz Club Drukarnia, where he usually spends sunny afternoons sipping his red wine and looking at this beloved new pedestrian bridge connecting Kazimierz with Podgórze.
KP: What are some of your regular eating and drinking haunts in the city?
AB: Kolory or Drukarnia to meet friends, have a coffee during the day or a drink in the evening. Piękny Pies when I’m in a wild mood, want to be a bad boy and have the two following days off to get well. I usually eat at home but if I want to have something really good (I’m not the best cook) I have sushi at EDO restaurant. They have a good atmosphere and the best Japanese cuisine in town.
KP: What’s your biggest annoyance about living in Krakow?
AB: When it’s not me it’s the traffic. My friend once told me “you Poles love to wait in lines, it must be a genetic thing” – there is certainly something about it… Especially when it rains. I have the impression that drivers consider their vehicles just as umbrellas and won’t move before the weather gets better.
KP: Where do you go to escape for the weekend?
AB: I don’t escape the city for weekends. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are the best time for me to get on unfinished work.
KP: What’s the best place to enjoy the sun in Krakow?
AB: I would suggest a bicycle ride to Tyniec along the Vistula river bank. The best time to do it is Monday afternoon when the bicycle path is almost empty.
KP: Finally: pierogi or nalesniki?
AB: Zupa pomidorowa (Tomato soup)!