Current BFA Photography Department student Ilona Szwarc recently took third prize in the Observed Portraits category of the 56th World Press Photo Contest for her American Girls photography project. Born and raised in Poland, Szwarc’s work addresses patriotic branding through the popular American Girl dolls.
Szwarc photographed young women across the country, each with their own American Girl lookalike doll. The girls choose the outfit for themselves and their doll, and photos were taken at their own homes. Through this project, Szwarc explores the idea of growing up in the United States, while also examining gender and identity construction.
The World Press Photo organization holds its annual contest to support high standards in photojournalism and documentary photography. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession. Szwarc’s photographs will be included in the World Press Photo Exhibition in 45 countries and published in its yearbook. For more information, visit World Press Photo.
Photo: Kayla, Boston, MA by Ilona Szwarc.