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“To give truth the colour and narrative force of fiction”, this was Truman Capote’s ambition when he wrote ‘In Cold Blood’, the true account of a quadruple homicide in 1960s Kansas. It is the starting point for Non Fiction, a work of lyrical documentary that explores the porous boundary between fact and fiction in photography.

The premise is simple: is it possible to photograph the world as it is – through chance encounters and local news stories – and create a series that feels like fiction?

Since its beginnings, photography has had a slippery relation to truth: even the most ‘objective’ portraits will necessarily involve decisions relating to location, light and pose. Indeed, even the authenticity of the very first photograph of a human being (Louis Daguerre’s Boulevard du Temple, 1838) is still in question nearly two centuries after its creation. In the current context, where the boundary between what is real and what isn’t is increasingly ambiguous (e.g. fake news, infotainment, AI generated imagery…), it seems more pertinent than ever to reflect on our relation to reality and how it is mediated through images.

Non Fiction plays on the tension between the real and the unreal through a variety of visual strategies deployed to blur the lines (props, off-camera flash, cinematic clichés…). Images made in the real world accumulate and coalesce, forming a narrative that is fluid and multidirectional, suggestive yet unfixed. Framed in this way, daily life is transformed: every window hides secrets, every stranger is a protagonist, every object becomes a clue or a piece of evidence.

Everything is real, everything is fake, but one thing is for certain: fact is at least as strange as fiction.

The project’s title makes reference to the fact that in literature, the dichotomy is between fiction and non-fiction – perhaps in photography as well, there is a tacit understanding that truth is always relative.

Non Fiction was made across Normandy in 2022/2023 during an extended residency hosted by the Planches Contact photography festival in Deauville, France. It was exhibited at Les Franciscaines museum (France), at inCadaqués International Photo Festival (Spain) and recently won the first prize of PhotoMarseille’s “Prix Maison Blanche”. Non Fiction will be published as my first book in September 2024 by Le Bec en L’Air editions, designed by Melanie Mues.


Henri Kisielewski is a self-taught French-British photographer based in London. Working on themes of memory, representation, and the boundary between fact and fiction, his work is regularly exhibited in museums, galleries, and festivals in the UK and internationally – including Les Franciscaines Museum (France), InCadaqués Festival (Spain), Averard Hotel (United Kingdom), Burlington Arcade (United Kingdom), Festival PhotoMarseille (France).

His work has been recognized through various grants and cultural awards, such as the Joan Wakelin Bursary awarded by The Guardian and the Royal Photographic Society (2019), Planches Contact Festival’s Young Talent Prize (2021), and PhotoMarseille’s Maison Blanche Prize (2023), among others. He has also been widely published online and in print in Fisheye, The Guardian, Fotofilmic, the British Journal of Photography and others. His work is part of several prestigious public and private collections.

Working with medium-format film and allowing space for serendipity, his practice is characterised by a documentary approach grounded in a conceptual framework. Informed by studies in Human Geography, his work lies at the intersection of real world issues and the ways in which they are represented.

Henri is currently developing his first book, Non Fiction, which will be released by Le Bec en L’Air editions in 2024.


Sostenere Ātman Journal vuol dire entrare a far parte di una comunità che crede, come noi, che internet possa mantenere le sue promesse originali: promuovere nella società il dibattito creativo, libero e indipendente e democratizzare la cultura. Di fronte alla prepotenza dei giganti digitali, la sua stessa presenza è un gesto di resistenza e di sfida.

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