Over the past 40 years Boleslaw Lutoslawski has photographed many of the greatest figures in the arts in Europe, spanning the worlds of music, literature, dance and theatre. Arriving in London from his native Poland in 1980, he was immediately absorbed into the capital’s fast-moving cultural scene, taking portraits of the likes of Glenda Jackson, Tom Stoppard, Bill Brandt, Philip King, Ernst Gombrich, Peter Hall, Tambimuttu, George Martin, Marina Warner and on assignments for The Independent, Newsweek, The Illustrated London News, BBC and Harper’s & Queen among others. His work, however, is not constrained by time or place. And it has absolutely nothing to do with fashion. Instead, it results from a moment of special affinity, a kind of spiritual kinship, between two different personalities – the photographer and sitter.
As Sir John Tusa puts it, Bo Lutoslawski is a ‘photographer with a deep insight into people and character, an extraordinary honesty and a capacity to reveal the identity of his sitters’.
Richard Avedon put it even more succinctly: these are ‘beautiful and strange photographs … full of deep feeling’.
In 2013 a new coin was minted in Poland to commemorate a year celebrating the work of Witold Lutoslawski. The coin design was based on a portrait Boleslaw took in Warsaw just before his first UK exhibition, London 1980