In FOLK, Aaron Schuman’s first monograph, he explores the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow—its collections and exhibits, as well as its own distinct customs and culture—via his own personal history. In one sense, the book focuses specifically on the regional and cultural heritage of Schuman’s forefathers, but equally considers the ways in which this heritage has been collected, preserved, archived, documented and represented via the field of ethnography, and within the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow itself. Bringing together Schuman’s own photographs of the museum’s collection and images from its vast archive, FOLK is an examination of the Ethnographic Museum’s own traditions, history, archives, artifacts and practices over the course of the last century; it represents a story of curiosity, self-discovery and the forging of both history and memory. Personal narrative is interwoven with preservation and documentation, as Schuman wholeheartedly embraces the museum’s stated mission of being a “centre of reflection and understanding, of both ourselves and others.”
Aaron Schuman is an American artist, writer and curator, currently based in the United Kingdom. His photographic work is exhibited and published internationally, and held in a number of public and private collections.