Kacper's Feed
Jun 5, 2013
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Food Bank SOS

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Bronisze, Poland

By Kacper Pempel

When I started working on a story about food waste, I was shocked by the estimates provided by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization that 1.3 billion tonnes of food – equivalent to the amount produced by the whole of sub-Saharan Africa – is wasted every year.

That is why I started thinking of ways to prevent such waste and it’s what led me to a food bank organization and to a volunteer who works for them in Bronisze agricultural market, not far from Warsaw.

Feb 19, 2013
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An island of religion in a sea of secularism

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Warsaw, Poland

By Kacper Pempel

When Pope Benedict XVI announced last week that he was stepping down, the mood in my country, Poland, was overwhelming. This is one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in Europe, which still proudly identifies itself as the birthplace of Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II. On the day of the announcement my colleagues went to the church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw. The worshipers coming out of the church were in a state of shock. “It’s so sad. It’s such a shame. But what can we do? I can’t believe it,” said one woman as she left the Holy Cross church in the Polish capital, who gave her name as Maria. “I am very sorry because I really like the Pope. He is continuing the teachings of our Pope (John Paul II).” Janusz, another worshiper, said: “I don’t think it’s true. In my opinion it would not be a good solution. It would definitely be a huge pity for Poles and Catholics.”

I spent the last few months traveling around Poland taking photographs of Polish people demonstrating their Catholic faith: going on pilgrimages, attending mass, children having religious lessons in schools. I photographed the statue of Jesus in Swiebodzin, near the Polish-German border, which stands 33 meters tall. I visited a huge church built since the fall of Communism in farmland in Lichen, in central Poland. As I drove towards the church, its gold-colored dome, 98 meters high, looked incongruous surrounded by cows grazing in a pasture.

Jun 26, 2012
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Faces of football

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By Kacper Pempel

Three weeks of the Euro 2012 adventure are already behind us. Three weeks of hard work, meeting thousands of people, driving thousands of miles and shooting thousands of pictures.

As a photographer based in Poland, I was assigned to cover not only matches but also news stories in Polish cities like Wroclaw, Poznan and Gdansk. So I had a chance to meet people from many different parts of Europe who made the journey here for the soccer fiesta. They were genuine football lovers and real soccer fans.

Feb 15, 2012
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An old-fashioned horse race

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By Kacper Pempel

Last weekend I was in the Polish Tatra Mountains to cover traditional horse racing, which marks the end of the annual Highlanders’ Festival, known as the Goralski Karnawal. The race is a competition involving riders; two on every sledge, pulled by horses, referred to in Polish highlander’s dialect as kumoterska gonba, or more commonly “Kumoterki.” The name comes from the type of small sledge used, from past till now, to transport godparents for religious occasions in the area of Podhale.

I wanted to find out how they make komuterki sledges, so I met with folk artist Jan Bieniek who still produces them by hand in a traditional way from a special kind of wood. He is also a judge on the jury of the Kumoterki race. This year, he offered a hand-made sledge especially made for this occasion as one of the prizes. It took him two weeks to make.

Feb 1, 2012
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The view from Auschwitz

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By Kacper Pempel

Each year we cover at least two main stories from Auschwitz. The first story is at the end of January when there are ceremonies to commemorate the liberation of the death camp by Soviet troops in 1945, and the second story, which happens around May, is called the “March of Living”.

This year the 27th of January marked the 67th anniversary of the death camp liberation by Soviet troops. The ceremonies were subdued, with fewer officials coming than I was used to. So I decided to cover this time in a different way. Not only as a document from the anniversary but from a more emotional point of view.

May 10, 2011
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How I became a pilgrim

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I grew up in a country with deep Catholic traditions. I was just a year old in 1978 when Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II. It was a huge surprise in the then‐communist country, a satellite of the Soviet Union, that a son of Polish soil could become the head of the Catholic Church – which was painfully divided by the Iron Curtain.

Over the years, it became a natural feeling that the pope was Polish. The words ‘pope’ and ‘Pole’ becoming synonyms in my mind. John Paul II visited Poland eight times as the pontiff but I only had one chance to see him live when his papa‐mobile passed my home in 1991. I was 14 years old and took a picture of the event.