Soft Spot


Selected from GETXOPHOTO 


Michalina Kacperak grew up with her sisters in a home marked by alcoholism and absence, “a constant battle against loneliness and lack of affection” in which, in her own words, adults behaved childishly and the girls had to act like adults ahead of their time. Soft Spot started as a photo documentation project of her little sister Zosia’s room, and became an emotional healing process for the whole family.

Childhood memories, shared experiences or questions that are difficult to answer are shown metaphorically in installations of dolls, balloon walls, drawings on the wall or dressing-up games in which, sometimes, the parents also participate. The series, made entirely in Zosia’s room over three years, is a visual chronicle of healing through play because, as the artist states, “there are times when fantasy is the only form of resistance”. And yet it is also a reflection on the situation of girls and boys in a society that overwhelms them with toys but does not always meet their emotional needs.

Michalina Kacperak was born in 1993 in Poland. She holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and is currently studying Photography at the National Film School in Łódź, Poland. She took part in the Canon Student Development Programme of Visa pour l’Image in 2019 and 2020 and in 2022 she won the 12th edition of the Circulation(s) festival in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at the Interphoto Festival in Bialystok (2021), Photomonth in Krakow (2022), Frames of Sopot Festival (2022) or Titanikas Exhibition Halls in Vilnius (2022). Her project Soft Spot has been exhibited at the NEXT Photography Biennial in Riga (2023) and has been published in the OVER Journal Magazine (2022). Her artistic practice focuses on complex personal storytelling that raises issues of childhood, memory, social exclusion and identity in a broad sense.

Getxophoto is an image festival created and managed by Begihandi, that has been taking place in Getxo—Basque Country, Euskadi—since 2007. This festival is part of a cultural ecosystem with the aim of being more participatory, hybrid, committed and sustainable. This thematic Festival is conceived as a platform that addresses contemporary challenges through different proposals, from visual storytellers around the world, in an attempt to create spaces for reflection and establish a collective conversation. Getxophoto is characterized by the radical defense of public space (both physical and online). For this reason, most of its programme is composed of outdoor installations, highlighting, on the one hand, the link between the image and the environment and, on the other, generating a more horizontal and participatory relationship with the public.

This year, the festival will take the theme of Play seriously as the multiplicity of its forms, approaches and potentialities will be explored. From the field of image and photography—and beyond—we’ll all be immersed in the idea of Play that is also presented as an initiation or activation.

María Ptqk is the curator of GETXOPHOTO 2024.

Copyright © Michalina Kacperak and Getxophoto, all rights reserved

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