The crew of the film “We are drifting with the wood” on a raft


Title: “River Rafting with Timber”
Author: Wiesław Tomaszkiewicz (1924 – 2009)
Year taken: 1947
Kept at: Walery Rzewuski Museum of History of Photography in Krakow

The photograph has the shape of a horizontal rectangle sized 8.6 x 13.1 cm. The white margin is uneven – narrow at the left and upper edges and wider at the right and bottom. There is a postcard imprint on the reverse side.

The image depicts the crew of the documentary film “River Rafting with Timber”.

In the foreground, shown diagonally from the bottom of the photo toward the middle, is a raft apparently floating on a river. The flat, primitive river vessel is made of bound tree trunks. The trunks are similar in size, placed tightly against one another, bark missing in some places. At the far end of the raft, one of the trunks has been sharpened like a pencil and is being used as a rudder. Its sharp end is turned to the left and upwards while its opposite end is submerged in the water.

On the front of the raft is a film camera set up on a wooden tripod. The camera is turned right, the lens pointing down, towards a young man sitting just behind it. The man, most likely Henryk Hermanowicz, is sitting on a small metal box. His arms are bent at the elbows and in his hands is an open issue of the Film biweekly magazine. The man’s torso is obscured by the magazine. We can only see his head, shoulders with the straps of a white tank top, and bare legs. The man’s right knee is also obscured by the magazine and his right foot is hidden behind the leg of the tripod. He is wearing a light cork hat. His head is leaning over the text, as he reads.

Farther behind, in the rear of the raft, another man is standing. He is shown from his left side, with his arms bent at the elbows and hands on his hips. He is wearing a white short-sleeved shirt, wide dark trousers with outside pockets, and a light hat on his head. He is looking down, at the tree trunks the raft is made of. The vessel is floating on water that is calm, only mildly ruffled in places.

The upper section of the photo shows a steep river bank, overgrown with thick vegetation and with stones at the river’s edge. Some hills can be seen in the background. The sky is light and cloudless.

“River Rafting with Timber” is the title of a black-and-white, 1947 documentary directed by Wiesław Tomaszkiewicz with photography by Henryk Hermanowicz. The 35-minute film was produced by Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych in Łódź.

Wiesław Tomaszkiewicz (1924 – 2009) was a film director and camera operator as well as an Orientalist, and privately also an active climber in the Tatra Mountains. He was a graduate of the so called Prafilmówka Krakowska, or the Krakow Film Institute, which operated between 1945 and 1947 in a villa located at 16 Józefitów St., the very building currently housing the Walery Rzewuski Museum of History of Photography in Krakow.

Henryk Hermanowicz (1912 – 1992) was an art photographer, a student of Jan Bułhak. He lived in Krakow since 1945, where he worked at Józef Rosner’s photo lab. Also since 1945 he was a member of the Association of Polish Art Photographers. He created landscape photographs, portraits and photomontages.