About Rafal Milach
Rafal Milach’s work explores themes of history and transformation—particularly within the former Soviet bloc—using a myriad of mediums such as photography, conceptual art, books, video and curation. Though he initially tackled subjects through a traditional documentary perspective, his later projects draw on a more conceptual approach.
Milach was born in 1978 in Poland, and grew up during the collapse of the Soviet bloc. He studied graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland, before ‘falling in love’ with photography the first time he picked up a camera. He later studied at the ITF Institute of Creative Photography of the Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic, where he is currently a lecturer.
Milach’s earlier projects focus on smaller, intimate stories. In 7 Rooms (2004-2011), he captured daily life of generation caught up between the mentality of the old Soviet regime and the up-and-coming Russia of the Putin era. More recently he has become interested in larger themes such as propaganda, political manipulation and eroding democracy. His project Refusal (2010-ongoing) is a growing collection of various models and situations dealing with power structures.
Photo books are central to Milach’s practice; he sees them “not only as a way to display images, but as a complete gesture emphasizing the idea of the project”. His award-winning photo books include The Winners, 7 Rooms, and The First March of Gentlemen and most recently Nearly Every Rose on the Barriers in Front of the Parliament, published in 2018. Milach has received scholarships from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Magnum Foundation, European Cultural Foundation. He was the finalist of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018 and winner of the World Press Photo competition. Milach is the co-founder of Sputnik Photos collective.
His works have been widely exhibited in Poland and worldwide, and can be found in the collections of the MoMA Warsaw, CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, the ING Polish Art Foundation, Kiyosato, the Museum of Photographic Arts (Japan), and Brandts in Odense (Denmark).
Milach has been an associate member of Magnum since 2020.