Gara Mountain, Northern Iraq

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 AwardsThe Delhi Photo FestivalBerlin Fotofestival - The BrowseDarmstädter 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.


2018/19 Multimedia Storytelling - FH Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts
2018/19   Photography & Moving Images -  Leipzig School of Media
2017         Photo Studio Manager & Lecturer - KISD Köln International School of Design


2018 Masterclass Reportage workshop with Michael Obert, Reporter Academy Berlin, Germany
2015   NOOR-Nikon 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


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



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



2013 - The Inge Morath Foundation/Magnum Photos feat. 'Inside Geneva Camp' film
2012 -  'Inside Geneva Camp' film



2014   New York Photo Journal,  Vol. 1 - powerHouse Books/New York Photo Festival -
2013   This Side That Side: Restorying Partition with Graphic Narratives from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. Published by Yoda Press and Goethe Institut New Delhi, India -
2012   Bildspuren Unruhige Gegenwarten - Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie e. V.



Michael Horbach Foundation