Power’s research for The Sound of Two Songs was developed from the 2005 Magnum exhibition ‘Eurovisions’, expanding and refining Power’s examination of Polish urban and rural landscapes and the people that inhabit them. The project began as an investigation of the impact of new European funding on Poland, but subsequently addressed a much larger question of how to capture, document, and represent Poland’s complex past within the present and for the future. This historical photographic document is the result of over 20 sustained visits over a period of five years (2005–10). It presents a humane, distilled visual narrative of Poland and the changes taking place at the start of the twenty-first century, as seen and experienced by a resolute ‘outsider’. The Sound of Two Songs visualises and reshapes cultural imaginations initially explored in The Shipping Forecast (RAE1996) and subsequently in A System of Edges (RAE2008). Focusing specifically on the peripheral and ‘everyday’ landscapes, photographing and framing the undefined, formless, and apparently meaningless landscapes of Poland, Power avoids presenting clichéd or romanticised aspects of Polish history, its people or its landscapes, choosing instead to allude to, rather than depict, the iconic symbols of Poland’s turbulent past.
Power uses a large-format camera and colour film to create a series of images that are intricately detailed yet remarkably still. Having produced over 2,200 negatives, he undertook the lengthy process of evaluation and editing to select a series of 70 images that effectively captured the histories, uncertainties, potentiality and experience of Poland, and which blur the concrete with the fantastic.
The photographs were exhibited as 50" x 50" framed prints at the International Cultural Centre (Krakow, Poland, 2010); Impressions Gallery (Bradford, 2012); Palazzo Martuzzi, Savignano sul Rubicone (Italy, 2012), and the ArtScience Museum (Singapore, 2012). They were also published in a book of the same name, published in 2010.