Anna Grzelewska is a photographer and director of documentary films. She was born in Warsaw in 1976 and she still lives there. A student of Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw, she also graduated at Warsaw School of Wajda, and attended the Institut Tviirti Fotografie (ITF) in Opava, Czech Republic. Her photographs have been published, among others, in the following magazines: The Guardian, Geo, Election, Politics, cross section, Newsweek Poland, Rzeczpospolita, Elle, Beauty of Life, Exklusiv, Kikimora and Gaga.
About ‘Julia Wannabe’:
“Julia Wannabe” is a project that shows Julia, Anna Grzelewska’s daughter, growing up.
The purpose of this project was to go in search of a woman’s identity, exploring in depth the moment of transition that leads a girl to become a woman. There is something ambiguous and perturbing in this transition. Popular culture pictures childhood as a land of happiness: sweet and innocent. Our memory also tends to wipe any flaws off this image.
While shooting Julia, Anna Grzelewska wanted to look at the process of growing up in a more complex way. It is not a reportage, a diary or a family album, but an attempt to capture the universality of this period. It is also a photographic reinterpretation of a psychological process of transferring — a photographic image is the result of Julia’s experience and Anna Grzelewska memory of it.
The title of the project is a reference to the “Madonna wannabe” phenomenon. Girls who listen to Madonna’s music dress up and use make-up to look exactly like her. With these external attributes they try to discover the essence of being Madonna, the essence of femininity she embodies. Paradoxically, it helps them to express themselves.