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Ilona Szwarc New York City, NY, United States

  • New York City, NY, United States
  • School of Visual Arts
For upscale consumers, an American Girl doll can be customized to look exactly like its owner. Ilona Szwarc explores this phenomenon in a series of portraits of real girls with their avatars.

In her ongoing portrait project about young girls from Texas who compete in rodeos, Ilona Szwarc captures the confidence and vitality of her subjects, while pondering ideas about femininity and traditional gender roles in society.

About Ilona Szwarc

Ilona Szwarc is an award winning photographer, who lives and works in New York City. She was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland.

Her work examines gender, identity and beauty in the context of American culture.

She has had solo exhibitions at Foley Gallery in New York City, Claude Samuel gallery in Paris and Maison de la Photographie in Lille, France. She has been shown in group shows internationally – in London, Bilbao, Lodz, Chicago and New York.

Her work has been featured in numerous publications worldwide including The New York Times Magazine, TIME, The New Yorker,
The UK Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Surface China, Blink, PDN.

Szwarc has won World Press Photo 2013, PDN Annual 2012, and Grand Prize PDNedu 2013. 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.

AWARDS
2013 World Press Photo, Third Prize in Observed Portraits Category
2013 Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographer
2013 PDNedu Contest, Grand Prize Winner, Fine Art Category
2013 Hey, Hot Shot Winner, Jen Bekman Gallery
2013 5th Year Award, School of Visual Arts
2013 SVA Alumni Scholarhip Award, The Alumni Society of School of Visual Arts
2012 PDN Annual Winner, Personal Category
2012 PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch 2013, Nomination
2012 People’s Choice Award, Photoville
2012 Ian Parry Scholarship Finalist
2012 Critical Mass Top 50 Finalist, Photolucida
2012 Special Presidential Grant, School of Visual Arts
2011 Hub Scholarship, School of Visual Arts
2010 Chairman’s Merit Scholarship, School of Visual Arts

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2013 American Girls, Foley Gallery, New York, NY
2013 American Girls, Maison de la Photographie, Lille, France
2012 American Girls, Galerie Claude Samuel, Paris, France

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2013 ICP Triennial, Self-published section, New York, NY
2013 Photography Now, Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY
2013 THE FENCE at Photoville, Brooklyn, NY
2013 THE FENCE at Flash Forward Festival, Boston, MA
2013 Exploitation, Glorification, Objectitificiaton, Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
2013 Hey, Hot Shot!, Second Edition, Jen Bekman Gallery, New York, NY
2013 Mentors, School of Visual Arts
2012 CCNY Benefit Auction, Gallery 25CPW, NY, NY
2012 Getxo Photo, Bilbao, Spain
2012 THE FENCE Photoville, Brooklyn, NY
2012 Ian Parry Scholarship Finalists Show, MOTHER, London, UK
2012 Souls, School of Visual Arts, NY, NY
2012 Young American Bodies, Vari(able)s, Brooklyn, NY
2012 Hub Scholarship Winners Show, School of Visual Arts, NY, NY
2011 Condition X, School of Visual Arts, NY, NY
2009 SVA Summer Residency Show, NY, NY

PUBLICATIONS
2013 The Telegraph Magazine, Rhinestone Cowgirls, UK
2013 The New York Times Magazine, Cowgirl Way, USA
2013 BLINK, Issue 22, South Korea
2013 MARIE CLAIRE, UK
2013 RARA, Guatemala
2013 Twoj Styl, Zapozuj mi swiecie, Poland
2013 Wysokie Obcasy, Gazeta Wyborcza, Swiat po Barbie, Poland
2013 Popular Photography, My Project, USA
2013 Doc! Magazine, Poland
2012 PDN Emerging Photographer, The New Americans, USA
2012 The Telegraph Magazine, Me and My Girl, London, UK
2012 SURFACE, Ilona Szwarc: Better version of her, China
2012 Sunday Times Magazine, Ian Parry Scholarship Finalists, London, UK
2012 American Photography 28, USA
2012 F-Stop Magazine, Issue #53, USA
2012 Io Donna, Datemi Una Bambola Diventero Grande, Italy
2012 IL, La Fine Degli Uomini, Italy
2012 South Reviews, China
2012 South Weekly, China
2012 Image Magazine, Finland
2011 MATTE Magazine, issue #6, USA

SELECTED PRESS
2013 The New Yorker Photo Booth
2013 TIME LightBox
2013 Newsweek The Daily Beast
2013 Daily Mail
2013 Huffington Post UK
2013 CCNY blog, essay by Matthew Leifheit
2013 Slate Behold
2013 Lens Culture
2013 Le Journal de la Photographie
2012 The New York Times Lens Blog
2012 MSNBC Today.com
2012 Huffington Post
2012 Le Journal de la Photographie
2012 Flavorwire

COLLECTIONS
Cathy Kaplan Collection
Center for Photography at Woodstock
Museum of Modern Art Library
Joy of Giving Something Foundation

EDITORIAL CLIENTS
The New York Times Magazine, TIME, The New Yorker, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, OUT Magazine

EDUCATION
2015 MFA Photography Candidate, Yale University, New Haven, CT
2013 BFA Photography, honors, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY

Read more
Ilona Szwarc's Projects on LensCulture