Ilona Szwarc was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. In 2008, she immigrated to New York City, where she currently lives and works. Prior to moving to US Ilona was working in film industry. Her credits include working with directors: Jonathan Glazer, Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda. Ilona has worked for photographers Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz.
Szwarc’s photographs have been exhibited internationally – in Paris, London, Bilbao and New York. Her work has been published by numerous publications worldwide including The Telegraph Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Surface China, PDN. Szwarc’s work has also received significant exposure online, having been featured in The New York Times Lens Blog, The Huffington Post, MSNBC Today.com, Feature Shoot and Le Journal de la Photographie.
American Girls is a series of portraits of girls in America who own American Girl dolls. American Girl dolls are extremely popular toys for girls in America. Their design embodies contemporary cultural values. They were conceived as “anti-Barbie” toys modeled after the body of a nine year old.
Each doll can be customized to look exactly like its owner, yet all of them really look the same. American Girl dolls offer an illusion of choice therefore an illusion of individuality. The dolls become sculptural representations of the girls themselves, they become their twins, their avatars. With a wide variety of miniature accessories, a doll hospital, a doll hair salon with personal stylists, they are perhaps the most luxurious toys ever invented.