Poland is a land dear to my heart. It is a beautiful country with a history as complex as it's people.
While spending a month there, I shot this footage. The narrative wasn't clear to me at first but as I filmed and visited everywhere from the capital in Warsaw, to their most sacred churches, and deep into the beautiful natural wilderness, an idea came to me.
I call it The Three Pillars of Poland. It's what I consider to be the three most powerful forces in this beautiful land: Religion, Nature and Politics.
Religion is a dominating force in Poland. Over 92% of the population is Catholic. It undoubtably plays a major role not only in the personal lives of most Poles, but the politics as well. Jasna Gora is one of their most famous churches. It houses the famous Black Madonna painting and was the breaking point of the Swedish invasion in 1655. Every year millions of people make a pilgrimage to the church walking hundreds of miles from all Poland.
The natural beauty of Poland in my opinion surpasses that of any other European country I've visited. From the mountains of Zakopane to the thousands of lakes in Mazury, all the way to the Polish sea, Poland has some of the largest and most pristine national parks in all of Europe.
Although beautiful in so many ways, Poland does have it's issues. Sadly, the country struggles with it's move into the 21st century regarding human rights. Poland could be compared to Russia, Iran and other extremely oppressive states when it comes to LGBT and racial rights. Fortunately it isn't illegal to be gay or of another race but there are politicians in power that would like to see it that way.
I had the honor of participating in the Warsaw Pride Parade and it was overwhelming to see so many people out in support of equality. Despite a record turn out, Poland has a long way to go before it's LGBT community will be given the respect it deserves. And tragically like the rest of Europe, there seems to be a growing movement towards radical conservatism not just from older generations, but young Polish as well.
Despite these issues, Poland remains one of my favorite countries and I have high hopes for it's future. I think through continued education and peaceful protest by it's progressive citizens, they will reach a place of equality and prosperity for all.
Gouttes - Hicham Chahidi
An Inch Away From The Window - Celadon City
Yann Tiersen - La Boulange