WiesÅaw Rakowski (1903-1948) was a paleontologist, zoologist and the curator of the natural history museum in PoznaÅ. He prepared, described and catalogued objects that were collected during excavations, expeditions and in PoznaÅ zoo, and subsequently photographed them. Only a small part of Rakowski’s glass plate negatives remains from this period from 1924 to 1939, and was rediscovered in the archives of the Polish Academy of Sciences. They show stuffed animals, limbs and skulls, trophies of travels to Africa, anatomical deformities and other subjects that are relevant to a scientific collection. However, without context – Rakowski’s archiving and the scientific articles he illustrated with his photographs – the negatives merely remain a pile of surreal curiosities. MichaÅ Sita compiled THE ZOOLOGICAL ARCHIVE from Rakowski’s photographs, and together with editor Maria Szyszkiewicz-Golis he created the book WiesÅaw Rakowski – Photographs 1924-1939. The archive is managed by The Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment (IAFE) at the Polish Academy of Sciences in PoznaÅ.
MichaÅ Sita (Poland, 1985) completed his Photography studies at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic in 2008, and his Cultural Anthropology studies at the Adam Mickiewicz-University in PoznaÅ in 2011. As a freelance documentary photographer, he has worked on long-running projects such as tribalism in Iraqi Kurdistan, small Finnish museums and daily life in Sudan.