With the referendum for Britain to exit the European Union approaching, UK media is tireless of pointing fingers, giving facts or stories about new, Central and Eastern European, migrants; at the core of the discussion is more often than not – Polish migrants, who are a second biggest non-British community in the UK after Indians. And then again, most often Polish migrants are ‘analysed’ in the context of blue collar jobs.
No surprise, a 23-year-old photographer Hanna Puskarz, who moved to London from Poland after graduating from high school at the age of 19, at first couldn’t or wouldn’t associate with Polish migrants and even tried to diminish her identity. While studying Photography at London College of Fashion, Hanna started re-discovering Poland through her own eyes, or lenses, in this case. Her new photo project ‘PL-land’ explores Polish culture and identity. At the same time, it celebrates creativity and freedom of contemporary Polish artists:
‘PL-land’ is my personal project which operates on two levels: first one focuses on acknowledging the reasons that made me leave Poland and make me not identify myself with the Polish community in London, whereas the second one focuses on reassessing and rediscovering the potential of my generation…’
Saying that, Hanna admits that her view has changed throughout the time spent in London as well as her personal identity as a Polish migrant has changed – she discovered that there was so much more to Poland than what she thought she left behind.
The project, which will be featured in an upcoming book, is celebrating young Polish designers. The designs are styled and shot in the UK locations populated and popular with Polish migrants. Colours, style and aesthetics create the stereotypical Soviet feel – ‘exotic’ aesthetics of new democracies that is now becoming so attractive to the Western consumer.
Photographs, idea, concept and execution by Hanna Puskaz
Designers: Diligent, Olla Kowalska, Kombokolor, Lapidarium, Kamila Florczak, Jagoda Fryca, Pelin Isildak and traditional Polish folk costumes thanks to ZPIT Walbrzych
Styling (not in collaboration between each other): Stephanie Zaicew, Eva Santner, Egle Andrius
All make-up and hair by Rachel Freeman
Models: Zoë Thurbon, Francois Joos, Mila Melnik, Louis @ AMCK models
Assistant: Zachary Groves
Locations: (editorials) Miod Malina Acton, Żabka Acton, Kuznia SmakuSouth Ealing, POSK Hammersmith /(location research) Walbrzych and Stare Bogaczowice, both in South West Poland.