© 2024 KUNR
Celebrating 60 years in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Poland's boogeyman, Bebok, is reimagined through a photographer's collaboration with local teenagers

Karolina Jonderko

Every child in Silesia (Poland) knows it. Who is Bebok? Is it good or bad? Should we be afraid of it? Does it visit you too? Is it one of us? What are you scared of? What is your Bebok?

When I was a child, I was frightened by the monsters hiding under my bed. Later, my mum used to scare me with another one hiding in the darkness of our basement. In my teenage years, I felt I didn't belong. But the list of my fears was very long. There is always Bebok waiting for us or hiding within us.

/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko

This project, and now book, tells a contemporary story about a group of friends. The young people from the small town of Września playing themselves in Bebok, therefore some of the photographs are typically documentary, although the audience can only guess which ones. Everything in this world seems fictionalized and real at the same time. Almost all the characters play the role of teenagers spending a carefree holiday together. Except for one. The title role. Bebok. Bebok is made of fear. The fear that is not fabricated, is truly real and can affect all of us.

/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko

What do we know about Bebok? Not much. It appears as a secretive observer of the pleasant events in the lives of the young people. It stands in the street and looks through the window of a flat where a party is taking place, it peeps at a kissing couple or secretly observes a group of friends spending time together in a summer house. For all intents and purposes, we do not know whether Bebok actually — physically — appears in the situations depicted. Perhaps even these events do not take place at all and only happen in its imagination?

/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
.
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
.
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko

Bebok could be the story of any of us. The project and the book are about taming anxiety and fear, as well as a lack of belonging and seeking acceptance by the group. It is also about growing up and facing the unknown.

See to what extent Bebok is also your story. Don't be afraid. You will not be alone.

/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko
/ Karolina Jonderko
/
Karolina Jonderko

Karolina Jonderko is a documentary photographer based in Poland. You can see more of her work on her website, KarolinaJonderko.com, or on Instagram, at @karolinajonderko.

Photos edited by: Virginia Lozano

Text edited by: Zach Thompson

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Karolina Jonderko