American girls posing with their American Girl dolls.

When Polish-born Ilona Szwarc moved to New York City in 2008, she was captivated by the world of American Girl doll.   
“I realized that, the American Girl doll design embodies contemporary cultural values. They were conceived to be anti-Barbie toys
modeled after the body of a 9-year-old. Each doll can be customized to look exactly like its owner, yet all of them really look the same.
I think there is a natural need to relate to and carve out an identity, and these dolls play an important role for girls. Girls in the U.S. 
seem to all be raised as future stars and they feel very entitled - these dolls underscore that.
The projec portraits owners who customize the American Girl doll to look like themselves.



Work in progress

“When entering a new place I feel like going into somebody’s life or reading somebody’s diary”.
The idea of my project is to juxtapose ways of living in Polish and English countryside by showing their inhabitants
in their own interiors as well as outdoor surroundings. I try to capture the richness of differences and similarities
of these two places in a bigger detail, focusing on my own, personal vision. The topic came to me after moving 
to the UK from a tiny village of Palmowo in central Poland, where I spent most of my life, experiencing the rural 
aspects of life, and that is why perhaps I can see things, which others are not able to. On the other hand, however,
I have been living in the UK for the past five years and I feel that I have become a part of the local culture as well, 
what in a way obligates me to bring these two realities and people’s mentalities closer to each other by capturing 
and showing things, which can make, that we will know more about our two different worlds of the Western 
and former Eastern Europe and as a consequence about ourselves as well.



Aged between 14 and 15. Come from middle-class Polish families. Born after the overthrowing of communism. 
Raised in th eage of the Internet and consumption. By observing New Poles one can see what changes in Polish 
reality, and what remains constant.



The project consists of two parts: Gamers and Training Halls. Large-format portraits reflect a typological approach 
to the new image of a sportsman, whose physical representation is not known to his rival due to the electronic form 
of competition. In this project, the gamer is revealed to everyone. Yet, this is not about exposing or trying to match 
the reality with the mental or virtual images of individuals. This is a sort of analysis of the cyber environment 
and people who constitute it.(...)