Introducing The Chicago Project Artist, Katarzyna Derda!

We are excited to introduce The Chicago Project artist, Katarzyna Derda.

Katarzyna Derda was born and raised in small town in Poland.  She decided to move to the United States in her early 20’s, and that is where she discovered her passion for photography.  In 2006, Katarzyna was accepted to the Daily Herald’s Newspaper Internship.  During this time, photojournalism became a dynamic way of gaining experience and polishing her skills.  After an inspiring year, Katarzyna decided to go back to school to develop her technical skills and look for a new medium of expression.

Photograph #2, 2014
Photograph #2, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda

Katarzyna began photographing and experimenting with different types of prints when she discovered the process of lith printing.  She began her work using dolls and figurines that she felt she had a connection with. Using inanimate objects in her work has been difficult, but at the same time extremely gratifying.  Katarzyna is able to pour her emotions into these images using these dolls to tell the story.

Photograph #2, 2014 in the making

Since 2012, her works have been exhibited in various group exhibitions across the United States and Europe.  In 2014, she was a finalist for her work in some of the most prestigious competitions, such as The Royal Photographic Society 157th International Print Exhibition, the 6th Julia Cameron Award, and the Photographer’s Forum Magazine.  She has received first place in the MIFA; Moscow International Foto Award and Honorable Mention in the IPA; International Photography Award.

Select images from Katarzyna’s Neverdoll series are on view in our current exhibition, The Chicago Project VI: Selections from our Online Gallery running through August 29th.


Neverdoll is a cinematic narrative that uses storytelling as a way to confront emotional states such as melancholy, loneliness and fear. The photographs represent pivotal moments in life’s journey, which is often a mysterious and romantic voyage. With the use of a small doll, with large eyes as the subject, the viewer is encouraged to immerse in themselves into these moments and to view the world differently. The artist, Fantoche, created the doll.

 Neverdoll is ongoing project photographed with a medium format camera and printed in a darkroom using lith process. This process provides me the opportunity to create one of kind photographs that are as delicate and gritty as life itself. The lith prints are then scanned and printed as mounted pigment prints.

Photograph #8, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda
Photograph #8, 2014 © Katarzyna Derda

I think that in some way my projects bring out my inner demons and some emotions buried deep may surface through some photographs.  The projects are not autobiographical and they have their own stories, but some of my feelings and emotions do come through.  I have been told that my work is like ‘painting photographs’.  It was one of the greatest things I’ve heard about my work to this day.

– Katarzyna Derda