Karol Gustavv Małecki
From a blood-splattered crime scene to a disco ball party of one.
Words by Tom Disalvo September 15, 2022

This week’s Frames are wonderfully weird, in very the best sense of the word.

There’s a cinematic quality to Karol Gustavv Małecki’s work. One end of the Poland photographer’s portfolio tells the story of a sunbather in a park, while the other greets you with the blood stains of a seemingly unconscious subject. This diversity of photos, be it a joyous disco ball party or a flaming singular rose, contributes to Karol’s storytelling, to the point where his shots read like stills from an A24 film. 

Free from a specific focus (the only word he uses to describe his style is “minimalistic”), Karol’s work is able to focus on the dozens of stories to be told from any given subject. “Each frame shows a piece of the story,” Karol explains, “it doesn’t matter if it’s a shot from your aunt’s birthday or a photo from a trip around the world. I mix styles because I don’t like sticking to one topic.”

As a result, Karol’s scenes are expansive, even for a photographer unbound by a single style. One shot places him above what appears to be a crime scene, spattered with blood, while another has him mingling with a tattooed man wielding a shotgun. But the more rousing moments found in Karol’s work are equally matched by the happier one, like a pair of children jumping from a wharf into crystal waters. 

“My grandfather was always interested in photography,” Karol recalls of his start in the game, “I have always been fascinated by the darkroom process that he did.” It was with that piqued interest, and later a borrowed Canon from his mother, that Karol’s photography “adventure began.” The adventure has evidently led Karol to some eye-popping locations (pictured below), but Karol recalls the one moment at a music festival that might be the most amazing. 

“Some time ago I was taking a photo of Burning Man with a large format camera,” he says. See some of Karol’s wonderfully unique scenes with his full Frames portfolio below, and head here to follow him on Instagram.     

Editors Pick
Michael Park
Nat Geo-ready.
Aleksander Małachowski
Organised chaos.