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Ilona Szwarc joins Institute

  • Rodeo Girls is a series of portraits of young girls from Texas who compete in rodeos. These individuals are engaged in activities that traditionally were reserved for men, they posses great physical strength and demonstrate their dominance over animals. These girls face limitations in expressing their femininity and they transfer of it onto animals, which are very well groomed and pampered. They grow up according to a male archetype and I am examining how their lives and identities are shaped by their surroundings. Image © Ilona Szwarc/INSTITUTE

    Rodeo Girls is a series of portraits of young girls from Texas who compete in rodeos. These individuals are engaged in activities that traditionally were reserved for men, they posses great physical strength and demonstrate their dominance over animals. These girls face limitations in expressing their femininity and they transfer of it onto animals, which are very well groomed and pampered. They grow up according to a male archetype and I am examining how their lives and identities are shaped by their surroundings. Image © Ilona Szwarc/INSTITUTE

  • American Girls is a series of portraits of girls in the United States who own American Girl dolls. American Girl dolls are very popular toys for girls in the United States. Each doll can be customised to look exactly like its owner. The doll is iconic of contemporary American culture. Image © Ilona Szwarc/INSTITUTE

    American Girls is a series of portraits of girls in the United States who own American Girl dolls. American Girl dolls are very popular toys for girls in the United States. Each doll can be customised to look exactly like its owner. The doll is iconic of contemporary American culture. Image © Ilona Szwarc/INSTITUTE

The Polish-American photographer Ilona Szwarc is Institute's newest member

Ilona Szwarc is the latest addition to the roster of the Institute agency.

The photographer contributes to publications such as The New York Times Magazine, The Telegraph and Time magazine, among others. She was born in Warsaw in 1984, but is currently based in New York City.

Her projects American Girls and Rodeo Girls caught the eye of Institute executive director, Matt Shonfeld.

“I saw Ilona’s work a while ago, and we’ve been in talks for some time,” Shonfeld says. “Both projects are beautifully executed. When I asked her to show me what else she had done, she hit out of the park again. Ilona is already very strong for a young artist but she has a great eye and is likely to only get better and better.”

In terms of what Institute looks for in a potential member, Shonfeld says a strong visual style is key. “We’re looking for poeple who are great storytellers but who have a fine art aesthetic. We feel we can open doors to opportunities that would not otherwise arise. We always have our eyes open.”

Last September, Institute appointed Israel-born photographer Elinor Carucci to its roster.

“We have a lot of female photographers and like to help strong female storytellers,” says Shonfeld. “Women have a different perspective and it’s nice for us as a business to have a mix of both men and women.

“The industry has changed radically in the last few years so you have to work in more clever, different ways,” he adds. “We have lots of connections forged over many years so it’s a case of bringing these in for the right projects and tapping into new markets.”

For more details, visit the Institute website.