When Czech photographer Marie Tomanova first came to New York six years ago, she fell in love with the city. Swept away by its vibrant spirit and diversity, she decided that she would do whatever she could to make it her home.
Armed with just her camera, Tomanova slowly began to make a living from her portrait work – building up, in the process, a community of like-minded young creatives who had converged in New York from all corners of the world.
“As a person who came to US and didn’t know a single person here, photography really was, and still is, very precious to me,” she explains. “Photography helped me overcome my shyness of meeting strangers and my anxiety and doubting of myself.”
For Tomanovac, photography became a way to connect with people. Her portraits – which are direct, raw and soulful – give an insight into the lives of her friends, and pay tribute to the diversity of modern metropolitan America. They urge viewers to stop problematising the idea of being young in the US, and to instead celebrate the dreams, hopes and opportunities that still exist in the country.
The images – which make up a series called Young Americans – are currently on display at New York’s Czech Center, where they will be exhibited until August 10.
“I love NYC,” Tomanova adds. “I love that it is way more than what I imagined. It is a place where I found amazing art community and had the honour to meet and photograph so many wonderful people. It is a special place that inspires me every day.”