'I grew up in a small industrial district in communist Poland under the Soviet Union dictatorship. I turned 7 years old when the fall of the Berlin Wall ended 40 years of the Cold War. In midst of this human misery, political hypocrisy, environmental industrial dirt and ugliness, I became particularly sensitive for all signs of beauty and transcendence.'
Arek Rataj (b. 1983) is a Qatar-based Polish journalist, contemporary situational photographer, educator. He studied sociology and journalism. Attended The Poznan School of Social Sciences in Poland and earned his Master's Degree in Journalism and Social Communication. From 2011 to 2016, he taught languages in England's Peterborough, Honduras's San Pedro Sula and Villanueva, and China's Shijiazhuang.
He was born in Poland's Upper Silesian Industrial Region to parents who ran a small variety store. His home town, Chorzow, hosted a steel factory, coal mines and chemistry factory and was dirty, ecologically devastated and with a lot of socioeconomic issues. Despite of the fact that gradually democratic changes came into play, among young people like him there was a lot of hopelessness, and even despair. It is his belief that these circumstances are a key for his later vocation to become a photographer.
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