Gazes of Resistance
Rafał Milach’s “Strike” is a powerful visual documentation of the Polish protests against a nearly total abortion ban in the country.
In 2019 Rafał Milach and other 16 photographers created the Archive of Public Protests (APP), a platform that gathers visual documentation of social actions in opposition to political decisions that violate the values of democracy and human rights. Part of this archive, “Strike” focuses on the protests that began across Poland in 2020, when the Constitutional Court declared abortion in cases of severe foetal abnormalities unconstitutional, restricting it to cases of rape, or incest, or when there is a threat to the mother’s life.
The photographer largely avoids showing the crowd, focusing on people’s gazes. Reactions of anger, defiance, fear, surprise, surface as the portraits of protesters in the streets alternate with photographs of people observing or supporting the movement from their windows, in a context where the Covid-19 pandemic made the choice of coming down to the street even more radical.