Landscapes, especially landscapes of the Lublin region or Mazovia, with inherent willows, are probably the most common motif of Edward Hartwig's oeuvre. As his sister Julia Hartwig said "(...) there are those days when Hartwig vanishes from the city and sets out on one of those familiar paths to which he returns so often. Taking pictures of nature is for him a spontaneous act in which, let’s say, knowledge and experience take a backseat".
The first Hartwig's photographs which were awarded at competitions were landscape photographs. As he later recalled: "Before the war I had my cabin near Lublin, and I used to wake up at 3-4 AM, leave through the window so as not to wake the family and go to peat bogs at the Bystrzyca river. There was fog every day. Like you wish it to be! I was entering a completely different world there. I sent those misty photos to all photographic exhibitions for two years or so. They even started to call me "a foglet". Then I had enough of this fog and left it to the others".
The same thing happened later: landscape motifs appeared with subsequent trips or journeys, almost obsessively, and then were replaced by a new motif. Hartwig was a photographer open to what he observed, and, at the same time, his working method was very close to the contemporary popularisation of taking pictures non-stop, using mobile phones – as if no sooner than we take picture of something we’re able to see it for real. Hartwig shared what he saw through his photos, constantly looking for newer forms. In his archive we can find "classic" early photos in the pictorial convention, with soft, mild tonal passages, but also posterised, contrasting photographs from the 1970s and the 1980s, and, finally, those taken in the last years of his life – colour photographs.
In spite of his characteristic diversity, as noticed by his sister Julia in the introduction to the album – "Edward Hartwig's Poland" containing a set of landscape photographs: "on the photographs taken before the war we can already recognise the type of artistic sensitivity, which will accompany Hartwig throughout his entire artistic life. It was the thing that makes all his works, regardless of the time they were created, unified, which allows them to be distinguished from works of other authors. And even considering that Hartwig's direction and techniques were changing as time went by, his attitude to landscapes remained full of directness to the very end. As if Hartwig allowed himself for a formal experiment, however, avoiding experimenting with the nature and violating its established order in his vision".