Anna Hartman „This is a secondary thing”

Anna Hartman „This is a secondary thing”

“And then there is this moment, a really scary, breakthrough moment that really isn't a moment, just a process when you realise your “innocence card” is beginning to expire. And now the world is looking at you. [...] You have to create yourself again from scratch” writes Julia, 19 years old.

“This is a Secondary Thing” is a documentary project about young people from Rzeszów that started in spring 2019. A group of colourfully dressed youths from the last few years of high school put their trust in me and allowed themselves to be photographed. It wasn't a given. In this city in south-eastern Poland, provocative outfits, dyed hair, jewellery sported by both sexes, and attempts to define sexual preferences all amount to clear instances of exceeding social mores, both from the point of view of school and parents.


It sometimes happens that, in taking advantage of the privilege of youth, they play carelessly. Often, however, this ostentatious bravado hides a certain sadness, uncertainty, a feeling of lacking support. They compensate for this by creating strong bonds within their group, where they can have a tender, non-sexual hug, but also try out their first real relationships, not necessarily heterosexual ones.


Identity is a process of constant becoming, not a path to a destination. The way you dress, your views, and your sexual orientation are fluid, but at every step of the way one needs security and acceptance; the group’s support makes up for a lack of understanding at school or in someone’s family.


Being able to find your place in society means striking a balance between your own “self” and external expectations. In a world of boundless possibilities, loneliness and a lack of social support turn out to be the biggest problem.