Wild River Valley. Biebrza National Park
Author (text and photographs): Jan Walencik
Album concept: Jan Walencik
Proofreading: Czesław Okołów, Ph.D.
Consultation on the merits: Jan Raczyński, Ph.D.
Graphic design: Maciej Sadowski, Jan Walencik
Cartography: Elżbieta Dobrzyńska, Elżbieta Rosiak
Editor: Krystyna Wysocka
Additional text: Jan Raczyński, Ph.D.
Translation: Jan K. Milencki
Volume: 288 pages (including 7 double-fold wing spreads)
Format: 23, 5 x 31, 5 cm
Maps on the liners: 2
Binding: hard full-paper with printed together with printed wrapper
Prepared for print: JML s. c., Warsaw
Print: ZRINSKI, Čakovec (Croatia)
Publisher: Sport i Turystyka – MUZA S.A., Warsaw
Publication partly finances by National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management
Year of release: 1998
QUOTE. Album front cover – Jan Walencik: Wild River Valley. Biebrza National Park. Sport i Turystyka – MUZA S.A., 1998.
Moose, wolf, beaver, otter, northern birch mouse, crane, curlew, ruff, dunlin, great snipe, jack snipe, aquatic warbler, white-winged black tern, black stork, white-backed woodpecker, hen and Montagu’s harriers, spotted and lesser spotted eagles, white-tailed eagle, eagle owl, short-eared owl, Jacob’s ladder, moor-king, shrubby birch downy willow marsh saxifrage – this list of the Biebrza Mashes rare species can be continued further on. Large expanses of inaccessible marshlands have been their habitat for centuries. Nowadays their survival is is threatened. There are few original marshlands and marsh forests in Europe where they can still be encountered eye-to-eye.
THE BIEBRZA VALLEY is central Europe’s largest natural bog area: it embraces nearly ninety thousand hectares of marshlands in north-eastern Poland. Fortunately for rare species of plants and animals here the time seems to have stopped. The nature would not give the way to man…
QUOTE. Excerpt of album – Jan Walencik: Wild River Valley. Biebrza National Park. Page 68 (verso) and 69 (recto). 1998. Source: Sport i Turystyka – MUZA S.A.
QUOTE. Excerpt of album – Jan Walencik: Wild River Valley. Biebrza National Park. Page 132 (verso) and 133 (recto). 1998. Source: Sport i Turystyka – MUZA S.A.
QUOTE. Excerpt of album – Jan Walencik: Wild River Valley. Biebrza National Park. Page 214 (verso) and 215 (recto). 1998. Source: Sport i Turystyka – MUZA S.A.
The album Wild River Valley. Biebrza National Park is an original idea and work of Jan Walencik, including the concept of layout and graphic solutions. As with his first album Heartbeat of the Primeval Forest. Białowieża National Park, it can be said to be a kind of specific photo exhibition with hints from a knowledgeable narrator – a show to which the Reader is invited. Characteristic and at the same time innovative in this book is the weaving of a photographic and verbal story and the use for this purpose not of captions, but of extensive comments on the photographs, as well as a complex, but also very clear pagination, in the form of three-level titles (chapter – subsection – description), clearly and consistently leading the Reader from the first to the last page. Thus, he not only has a feast for the eyes in the form of the author’s original photographs from the Biebrza Valley – sophisticated color images, but also receives a huge portion of natural knowledge in the form of engaging storytelling by the same author. An additional attraction is the 7 spreads with fold-out wings on the outside of the book – forming a kind of panoramic galleries, an eye-catching long horizontal collage of photographs on a specific topic. This complexity of the 5-part album and the readability of the successive issues presented is well reflected in the table of contents of Wild River Valley below:
LARGE AND WILD MARSHES
REMAINS OF THE ORIGINAL EUROPEAN MARSHES
BIEBRA RIVER – A VITAL FORCE OF THE VALLEY
Along the river course – Upper Basin
Along the river course – Middle Basin
Along the river course – Lower Basin
Three different worlds of the Biebrza Marshes
WORLD OF WATERS AND WATER EDGES
MEANDERING BIEBRZA RIVER COURSE
Rushes and hosiery scrubs
Admist floating leaves
WORLD OF OPEN MARSHLANDS
OMNIPOTENT WATER AND PEAT-BOG
Gigantic sponge – mystery of peat-bog
Boundless feeding grounds
Time for mating
BOUNDLESS OCEAN OF SEDGE FENS
Marked by marshy climate
Just like islands…
WORLD OF MARSHY FORESTS
OVERGROVN MARSHES – INEVITABLE TRANSFORMATION?
From open sedge fens to dense alder carrs
ELK’S MARSHY BIRCH FORESTS
Residents of the Red Swamp
DENSE AND DEEP ALDER CARRS
Dark and swampy
Home not only to mosquitoes
MAN IN THE MARSHLAND
IN THE BONDAGE OF THE MARSHES
Labouring on poor soil
Traces of history
”Correctors” and ”destroyers”
Can they really be tamed?
And then there’s the excerpt from the word from the author at the beginning of the album – about the… addictive effect of the marshes: