Slawomir Milewski is an artist, photographer director, best known for his award winning films The Ecstasy of St. Agnes, and Poor People Must Die. His work has been screened in numerous important film festivals around the world, from Toronto and Barcelona to New York and Buenos Aires, to to critical acclaim.
Born in Poland, Milewski has also lived in Paris, and currently lives and works in London.
Here he tells Eluxe about the importance of water, corporate farming, and why he always ends up buying underwear.
What is the earliest memory you have of being in nature?
I come from Warmia, in the north-eastern part of Poland, so my earliest memories are from there. I mainly remember water: I am a ‘water’ person. I love it and every time I am traveling and I am close to any sea, river or lake I have to see it and feel it; then I can truly find balance and harmony. ‘Life’ comes from water.
Which natural features of your home town do you most miss?
It’s difficult for me to articulate which natural features I am missing. I think I am able to adapt very quickly to new circumstances and I can enjoy the natural features of any new place in which I can find myself.
What’s your favourite animal and why?
Which is my favourite animal? Humans, of course! Why? Because mankind separated itself from animals wanting to erase the fact that humans are still animals. But we are just one kind of animal which contradicts our own nature. It fascinates me–you can find this in the history of our civilisation, law, philosophy and religion. This separation from our natural world is also the reason we seem to be destroying it.
What’s the most positive thing you do for the environment in your daily life?
I think I am ‘green’ person. I am focused on that. For me, taking care of the environment is on par with personal grooming–it’s just something you have to be aware of every day.
What would be your eco-friendly dream travel destination?
I’m not sure if travelling can actually be ‘eco friendly. However I love places where people are not under so much pressure; it seems to me these people live closer to the environment and they are ‘greener’. It is of course quite relative, but in London where I live people are so stressed… and produce tons of waste.
What are your favourite ‘green’ fashion brands?
Generally, I haven’t got a lot of clothes. Firstly, I limit my possessions to a relative minimum. Secondly, even if I wanted to do some serious shopping, I can never can find things which I really like, so I end up buying socks or underwear! (laughs). But, yes, I do prefer to buy eco-friendly clothes when I can.
Which celeb spokesperson for the environment do you most admire, and why?
I don’t follow these types of ‘events’. I even don’t watch TV and I do not have a lot of time to read any magazines. I know what I myself am doing for the environment. But I do believe it is important to talk about it. It’s a matter of establishing common consciousness about it.
Which eco issues are most important to you?
As a ‘healthy’ person I care about food production. I admit I think proteins are important, so I eat meat as well as vegetables, which I think humans were naturally meant to do. However, whether it’s regarding meat or produce, corporate farming means so many toxins, from growth hormones to pesticides, go into our food. Related to that, globalised mass consumption and consumerism are destroying not only individuality and international cultures, but the planet, too.
How do you think governments can best act to help stop climate change?
Governments have the power to curb global warming, but it seems they not always happy to do that. The main reasons for that are career politics–if you make tough decisions that may cost the voter money, say, by imposing a ‘green’ tax, you probably won’t get re-elected, so no one will do it.
And people won’t demand such measures anyway, as there is still a very naïve approach to nature as being an endless source of natural resources, which is clearly not the case anymore, especially with so many billions of people living on the planet. Given that so much more money gets invested in military sector rather than on ecological issues, I am not very optimistic about the future of mankind.
All images but portrait are from the artist’s films. For more information, please click here.