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Finalists 2022, Tomasz Tomaszewski

“If his style is not strictly speaking humanist, his intention and his point of view are certainly guided by people, whom he considers above all else.

Tomasz Tomaszewski’s portrait

If in every photograph there is something to see, in Tomasz Tomaszewski’s photographs there is much more. For him, good photographs are those that make you think. Tomaszewski’s photographs are primarily appealing because of their style and composition, especially the metallic black and white. They are elusive at first glance but certainly attract attention, or rather capture it. They require time and scrutiny to understand their content and, ultimately, to contemplate them to appreciate their full depth.

However, Tomasz Tomaszewski only captures reality. A photojournalist since 1976 – he notably covered Solidarność’s Poland -, he has toured the planet and his images have been published worldwide: National Geographic, Stern, Paris Match, Time, Fortune, Vogue, etc.

What are his golden rules? “To spend time on the subjects, don’t look at people as objects but as subjects, be able to feel sorry for them.” If his style is not strictly speaking humanist, his intention and his point of view are certainly guided by people, whom he considers above all else. “I am not looking for the truth because objectivity does not exist. What matters is to be motivated, honest, sincere and committed.” Whether he is covering the Burning Man festival in the United States, religious rites in the Philippines, dancers in a New Orleans nightclub or a funeral in Poland, he brings the complexity of reality to life with his sharp style. Better still, he represents the invisible by integrating the emotional and spiritual dimensions.

As he says himself: “Photography is a great tool to get to know the world and the best way to discover who I am.”

Sophie Bernard

Show Biography

    Born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1953. 

    Tomasz Tomaszewski studied physics at the University of Warsaw and optics at the Warsaw University of Technology. 

    He made his debut as a photojournalist in 1976, and in the years 1977-80, he was a full-time photographer for leading Polish magazines.

    Raised in a family of the young Polish intelligentsia, in the spirit of anti-communism, Tomaszewski began cooperating with the weekly Solidarnosckia magazine in 1981. After 13th December 1981, when a ‘state of war’ was declared in Poland, he secretly documented the imposition of martial law and was threatened with several years of imprisonment. The photographs he took, and a conspiratorial diary written by his wife were smuggled into France. 

    During martial law, his name was blacklisted by the regime, and he could no longer work officially as a journalist. After 1983, he worked as head of the photo department of the Catholic Review and the news magazine Wprost

    In 1986, Tomaszewski left for the United States where he produced the project Discovering America, published in 1988 for the centenary of the National Geographic magazine. Since then, Tomaszewski has regularly collaborated with the magazine, in which he has published eighteen reports, and held numerous solo exhibitions internationally and in Poland.

    This will not prevent Tomasz Tomaszewski from continuing to be involved in the struggle for the demise of the communist system in Poland. 

    Considering it his duty, Tomaszewski now actively shares his experience and knowledge by conducting photography workshops in Poland, the United States, Germany and Italy.


    Gypsies working as beggars. Bucharest, Romania, 2004

    Gypsy’s mother in her home on wheels, Romania, 2004

    Orthodox funeral, Eastern Poland, 2005

    Farmer entering the barn after mowing the grain, Podlaskie Voivodship, Poland, 2007

    Country farm, The woman is waiting for her husband to help her move the ladder to a
    nearby barn, Southern Poland, 2008

    Street fish trader, Hong Kong, 2017

    Easter procession. Sicily, Italy, 2017

    Elephant head, Burma, 2018

    Fantasy Fist Festival, Key West. Florida, USA, 2018

    During Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, USA, 2018

    Burning Man Festival. USA, 2018

    New Orleans Street. USA, 2018

    They aren’t even dancers, but suddenly decided to feel total freedom and dance naked.
    Burning Man Festival. USA, 2018

    On the bank of the Ganges River, Varanasi, India, 2019

    Nightclub for fetishes. Berlin, Germany, 2019

    Feast of the Lord’s Passion. Philippines, 2019

    A police flare burned a man’s eyes during a demonstration against the rigging of the
    Dhaka elections. Bangladesh, 2020

    A woman in a trance while praying, Nepal, 2021

    Young man with a hormonal disorder, Poland, 2021

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