Hanna Jarzabek

Photographer & Photojournalist
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Location: Madrid /Spain
Nationality: Polish
Biography: Hanna Jarzabek (1976, Poland). She finished a Master degree in Political Science and worked on refugee reports for UN agencies such as UNRWA and UNCTA. She developed her passion for photography while travelling (the Gaza Strip, Iran,... read on
Public Story
Lesbians & much more (Poland)
Credits: hanna jarzabek
Date of Work: 04/01/09 - 06/30/10
Updated: 07/25/18
Location: Warsaw/Poland

(Poland 2009 - 2010)

Poland is a country characterized by its very traditional society, in which the question of homosexual people and their rights provoke often strong homophobic reactions. On one hand, the government refuses to recognize some of the basic rights of sexual minorities; on the other hand, the majority of the society perceives homosexual people only through their sexual orientation.

In a society that strongly promotes a traditional family model, the situation of lesbian women is even more complex. Frequently they suffer a double discrimination: first, because of their "ill sexual orientation" and second, because they do not fulfill their "natural role" within the frame of a traditional family. Put in the margins of society, they are often ignored and practically invisible in the public space.

The objective of this project is to tell the stories of these women. To show their life and what - in their own opinion - defines them beyond their sexual orientation. My objective was to document not only the private side, but also the more public context; starting from the professional life and going through the different activities and involvement in associations fighting homophobia in Poland.

12 lesbian couples, living mainly in Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk and Gdynia, participated in the project. However it is worth mentioning that some people, who at first showed their interest in the project, finally stood down, mainly due to the fear of "coming out" and the consequences it could have on their professional and family life.

In the documenting process, I was trying to cover with the same relevance all aspects of everyday life. However, those situations related to public and work spaces where much more difficult to present. In most of "public" situations, friends or relatives of the participants did not want to be photographed. Additionally, as many of the participants have not yet "come out" at work, they did not allow the documentation of this part of their life.

The photographic documentation took place between April and June 2009, and in February, May and June 2010.


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