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Identity is a secondary thing

Anna Hartman Ksycinska | Poland


„Identity is a secondary thing” is a documentary project about young people from Rzeszow, the town in south-eastern Poland. I have been accompanying this group since 2019 year. It was not easy for me to be accepted, but, step by step, I gained their trust. As young people do, they spend time together - talking, seeking inspirations, experimenting with their external appearance and sexual preferences. Sometimes, they are full of joy. Sometimes, under the superficial colors and bravado, I could find deep layers of vulnerability, fears, loneliness and suffering of lack an acceptation and support. They try to compensate these feelings creating strong bonds inside the group, which gives them the opportunity to innocent hug, but also to look for first sexual relations, not necessarily heterosexual.

In the conservative town these young people clearly are crossing social boundaries, either in teacher’s or parent’s eyes.

How much freedom do young people have? Do we try to make easier their step into adulthood? Does an identity has to be the subject of political discussion? I ask these questions every day.

My photography focuses on human experience. I am looking for images which reflect fragility, fear, loneliness. I am attracted to individuals who lack social acceptance, or have difficulties in defining their place in the society. I have been trying to depict how often in contact with other people we are ruled by stereotypes and we are seeing exactly what we expect to see.

For me photography is a constant act of seeking. Simultaneously, it is an act of acceptance and understanding, never the act of judging. It is also an act of creation - for my protagonist and for myself. Our relationship has to be built on mutual trust.




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