As you may or may not know, photography is one of my favourite hobbies. As soon as I heard that Marek Moi was working on a new app, I reached out to him to get me on the beta program. Thankfully, he obliged and provided me with some unique insight into the design process. My enthusiasm was based on his earlier project — Dearest Bialowieza Forest [App Store link] — which featured Jaroslaw Chyra’s photography from that beautiful region of Poland. Marek rewrote his entire engine for Bison bonasus and the results do not disappoint — it offers a truly immersive experience into the work of photographer Krzysztof Onikijuk.
Bison bonasus, in its app form, is based on the paper photography album which is currently being printed in limited quantities. It will be extremely hard to come buy and quite frankly, at this point and despite knowing Marek, I’m worried that I won’t be able to purchase my own copy. From what I’ve heard and seen, no expense has been spared to create it (including absurdly expensive paper which barely anyone ever uses), hence the quality is supposedly outstanding. I truly do hope I’ll get the chance to judge this for myself.
Krzysztof Onikijuk lives close to Bialowieza Forest — a truly amazing place which I have had the the opportunity to visit but once in my life. This allowed him to spend many years travelling through that region, taking photographs of European bison — magnificent beasts — pygmy owls and various other wildlife. I once met buffalo personally, in the wild — this happened a few years ago and I can still clearly remember the emotions that surged through my body at that moment. It was a breathtaking eternity, where we stared into each other’s eyes. I can only try to understand what Krzysztof felt when he looked at them through his viewfinder and I am not in the least surprised that he kept coming back. He has captioned a number of his photographs, describing his thoughts and emotions. Many of them were shot by pure luck, by being in the right place in the right time. The rest, through persistence and hard work.
Krzysztof is a wedding photographer by day — I haven’t seen his commercial work, but looking at the spirit emanating from his wildlife work, I’m sure his gift of capturing emotions is even more impressive while shooting couples on one of the happiest days of their lives.
I had dreamt about such a photo and tried for several years to achieve one: bison galloping straight at me, and not, as usual, in the opposite direction. I was unknowingly helped by a farmer’s small dog, whose barking drove the herd from the other end of the clearing. I was shooting film until the last moment, hidden in the tall grass, with the bison flashing past me. A real heart stopper…
I envy Krzysztof greatly. I envy his work, his talent and that he lives so close to one of the amazing forests on Earth. It is said that Bialowieza is the last of it’s kind…
The App & it’s Maker
Marek Moi strived to create a diaporama — a slide show often accompanied by music — to showcase the work of Krzysztof Onikijuk and I’m proud to have been able to offer some insight. His taste is outstanding (he is a photographer himself) and the same can be said of the final product.
The app is divided into four distinct sections — the foreword/introduction, the diaporama itself, an about section and information about the authors. Once you click on “Diaporama” you will have a hard time getting back to the other sections and that’s why I advise everyone to read them first — they help set the mood and get a feeling for what to expect from the photographs and slide show itself.
Please make sure to have the time to watch the whole slide show, consisting of over one hundred stunning shots. And if you have a good set of speakers and Apple TV I can heartily recommend mirroring it with AirPlay onto your TV, which I am doing now, while writing these words. The app also allows the user to pause the slide show and continue on manually, flicking through the photos left or right. The diaporama can also be sped up with left/right gestures to advance or return to the next or previous photography. Marek also included the ability to share your favourites via Twitter or Facebook. Every frame can also be saved to the Camera Roll.
This is the first app that has had such a strong effect on me — I could go down into the nitty and gritty technical details of it, but I choose not to. Those are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The attention to detail from Marek, the subtle parallax effect behind the menu and Krzysztof Onikijuk’s work is so much more important. Just thinking and writing about his photos, recalling my time spent in the app, imagining the music, cause me to well up inside. And this is coming from a guy who is rarely emotional…
If you care for the finer arts, have an affinity for wildlife and want to see who lives in one of the most amazing forests in the world, make sure to purchase Bison bonasus — you will not regret it. The app will be on sale for a limited time.
More information about Marek Moi and his apps can be found here.