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Ilona Szwarc


From the “American Girl’s” project. Jenna Groveland, Massachusetts 2012

Ilona Szwarc (b.1984 Poland) has had a solo exhibition at Claude Samuel gallery in Paris and Maison de la Photographie in Lille, France. She has exhibited in  group shows internationally in London, Bilbao and New York. Her work has been featured in publications worldwide including The New York Times Magazine, TIME, The New Yorker, The UK Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Surface China, PDN. Ilona won a World Press Photo award in 2013 for the Observed Portraits category, 3rd Prize; PDN 2012 Annual in the Personal Category and has been awarded Grand Prize in the Fine Art category of the PDNedu 2013 contest. She has been selected for American Photography 28 and 29. Her project “American Girls” has received worldwide recognition, having been highlighted in The New York Times Lens Blog, MSNBC Today.com and The Huffington Post, among others.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph of Jenna and her horse Peter Pan was taken on her farm in Groveland, Massachussets. Jenna lived on a farm with sixty horses. Her parents raise horses and teach horseback riding classes. She owned several dolls and several horses for their dolls. Here she is portrayed with her look-alike doll, Kirstyn, who just like Jenna, is riding a miniature horse. The image is a part of American Girls, a series of large format portraits of girls in the United States who own customizable, mini-me dolls. American Girl dolls were conceived to be anti-Barbie toys, modeled after the body of a nine-year-old. Each doll can be customized to look exactly like its owner. With a wide variety of miniature accessories, they are perhaps the most luxurious toys ever invented. They play a crucial role for girls when they are forming their identities. Jenna talked about how these dolls allow her to fully embrace her personality. She says: I can be myself.”


[via Verve Photo- The New Breed of Documentary Photographers]

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