The photographer recorded a resuscitating life in the capital destroyed by war.
Zofia Chomętowska was one of the most active Polish photographers in the inter-war period. She came from an aristocratic family, and was brought up in Polesie near Pinsk, on the territory which is now outside Poland. The first photographs she took using a Kodak camera, and from 1928 mainly worked with Leica. For the very start, she saw the advantages of a compact camera – the new, light-weight equipment. After a couple of years working with it, she was comparing it with the classical art tools. She wrote in the Świat magazine:
The rules of the picture composition in photography demand as much studies and work from its adepts as in any other creative art. In incompetent hands, a lens, the same as a brush, will not help creating a masterpiece.
In the second half of the 1930s she moved to Warsaw and started earning an income from photography. She documented Varsovian architecture, and opened her own photographic studio after a couple of years. Along with the works aesthecising reality, she was attracted to documentary photography without adornments. Right before the World War II she took a series of such photographs at the request of the city mayor Stefan Starzyński – she pointed her camera at things that were about to change – wooden houses in Wola district, landfills and dogcatchers. The exhibition had a record-high turnout. She used her honorarium to buy a car – a stylish Simca.
Chomętowska’s career was interrupted by the war, but she didn’t stop photographing. Unfortunately, the majority of her works from the war period was lost. From the spring 1945, Chomętowska was taking portraits of the residents of the destroyed city and the signs of returning normality – among which was the makeshift beauty salon.