Maria Litwa is a German freelance photographer and filmmaker with Polish roots, born in 1982. Currently she is based in Cologne and is represented by the photo agency laif.
She is particularly interested in issues concerning migration and its psychological impact on people. Through her work she is raising questions about the complex correlation of place and identity. She perceives it as a huge benefit when through a project she can take the time to dig deeper and deeper into the history of a specific region and of its people. It helps her to connect with individuals while documenting contemporary conflicts, plights and migration issues.
Beyond her self-initiated stories she works for various editorial and corporate clients and NGOs mainly doing portraiture and reportage assignments. She has worked in Iraq, Bangladesh, Israel, Gaza, Yemen, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Maria Litwa's work has been exhibited internationally at noted art and photography festivals such as The New York Photo Awards, The Delhi Photo Festival, Berlin Fotofestival - The Browse, Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie and The International Festival Sarajevo Winter, amongst others.
In 2013 her short film 'Inside Geneva Camp' was broadcast on German TV and featured in the online magazine of The Inge Morath Foundation/Magnum Photos.
She studied photography and communication design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, FH Dortmund, and graduated in 2011. She expanded her visual storytelling skills into film editing, video post production and motion design at the Universidad Veritas in San José, Costa Rica.
In 2015 she was selected to take part in the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in The Netherlands, sponsored by the prestigious photo agency NOOR, and by Nikon.
Currently she is working on a long-term project about European Jews who are emigrating to Israel in rising numbers, with a present focus on France and Hungary. To accomplish this work she has received The Robert Bosch Foundation’s research grant ‘Reporters in the Field’ and a project grant from the German art foundation VG Bild-Kunst. Over and above LFI - Leica Fotografie International is supporting her work.
She speaks German, English, Polish, Spanish and is getting by in French.
2017 Martin Lagois Photo Award - Searching for shelter, Yazidis in Iraq - Munich, Germany
2016 Martin Lagois Photo Award - Searching for shelter, Yazidis in Iraq - Germany
2014 Kunsträume Michael Horbach Foundation - Water Gypsies - Cologne, Germany
2013 Delhi Photo Festival - 'Inside Geneva Camp' film - India
2013 Berlin Fotofestival - 'Inside Geneva Camp' film - Germany
2013 International Festival Sarajevo Winter - 'Inside Geneva Camp' film - Bosnia and Herzegovina
2012 New York Photo Awards - 'Inside Geneva Camp' film - US
2012 fx.Center Babelsberg - 'Wir sind die Medienstadt'- Germany
2012 Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie - 'Inside Geneva Camp' film - Germany
2012 Schauraum 6'Inside Geneva Camp' film - Dortmund, Germany
2012 Licher Photo Prize 'Man and Nature' - Travelling exhibition, Germany
2011 Wiesbadener Fototage - 'Inside Geneva Camp' - Germany
AWARDS / FELLOWSHIPS
2016 Martin Lagois Photo Award - Searching for shelter, Yazidis in Iraq - nominated
2016 Leica LFI magazine - Leica equipment loan pool
2015 NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in documentary photography & photojournalism
2015 VG Bildkunst grant
2014 Robert Bosch Foundation - grant 'Reporters in the Field'
2012 New York Photo Awards - Finalist Student Multimedia
2012 khm kurzundschön - international short film award for young creatives - nominated
2011 Chamber of Employment Saarland - Women's working spaces - 3rd prize
2011 Canon Profifoto Grant - nominated
2011 University scholarship for the diploma project ‘Inside Geneva Camp’
2011 Licher Photo Award - nominated
2009 Canon Profifoto Grant - nominated
2013 NDTV India Matters - Feature on 'This Side That Side: Restorying Partition' - start video at 11:50 min
New Delhi Television NDTV
2012 kurzundschön - short film night - 'Inside Geneva Camp' film - WDR Fernsehen + ARD EinsFestival
2014 New York Photo Journal, Vol. 1 - powerHouse Books/New York Photo Festival - powerhousebooks.com
2013 This Side That Side: Restorying Partition with Graphic Narratives from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. Published by Yoda Press and Goethe Institut New Delhi, India - yodapress.com
2012 Bildspuren Unruhige Gegenwarten - Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie e. V.
Michael Horbach Foundation
KISD Köln International School of Design – Lecturer & Photo Studio Manager
Leipzig School of Media – Lecturer for Photography & Moving Images
FH Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Lecturer for Multimedia
2015 NOOR masterclass in documentary photography & photojournalism, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2012 web documentary workshop with Bombay Flying Club, Academy for Journalism, Hamburg, Germany
2011 diploma degree majoring in photography, University of Applied Sciences and Art, FH Dortmund, Germany
2007 Universiad Veritas, San José, Costa Rica