Dworzec Gościnny with Awit Szubert’s Atelier

Drewniana, przeszklona szafka ze zdjęciami.

    Dworzec Gościnny was the centre of the cultural life in the spa. Its official opening took place in 1884. The building had a ballroom for 500 people with a gallery for spectators and musicians around it. Next to it was an auditorium with a stage, an eatery, a patisserie, a piano room, photographer Avit Szubert’s atelier, a hairdressing salon, a reading room, two shops, dressing rooms, a billiard room, a card room and a veranda with arcades in the front.

    The Krakowski Theatre had performances there three times a week during the season. Performers included Helena Modrzejewska, Aleksander Zelwerowicz, Ludwik Solski and Stefan Jaracz who debuted here in 1904. There were numerous concerts, lectures and charity balls with raffles. The meeting that established the Pieniny Branch of the Tatra Society was held here in 1893.

    Awit Szubert (1837–1919) was one of the most renowned Polish professional photographers of the 19th century, the pioneer of photography in the Pieniny, Szczawnica and the Tatra Mountains, a great portraitist, the first photographer of the mine in Wieliczka, a painter and landscape artist. His works were awarded medals at international exhibitions. He received a congratulatory letter with thanks and a brilliant pin from King Umberto I of Italy for an album about the Pieniny and the Tatras.

    He visited Szczawnica for the first time in 1865 due to health issues. This was when he took the first photographs of the Pieniny mountains. His first atelier in Szczawnica probably opened in 1867 and another one was established in Dworzec Gościnny in 1884. Awit Szubert’s photography shop in Dworzec Gościnny had five rooms: the workshop, darkroom, storage room, waiting room and a retouch shop. It also served as a scientific laboratory where Szubert with his wife Amalia worked in 1890–1891 to achieve the highest sensitivity of dry plate emulsions. He worked there to perfect the magnesium powder for photographs taken with a flashlight, thanks to which he could later take photos in a mine.


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