Edward Hartwig took thousands of portrait photographs, but he’s far from being called a "portraitist". The features recognised as the qualities of portrait photography like, for example, presentation of "psychological depth" or the model's mood, was never the uttered goal of Hartwig, which does not imply, however, that his photos were deprived of them.

History of his portraits was very interesting. He began his professional career as a portrait photographer, working in his father's photographer's shop in Lublin. The work looked similar to how it looked in the 19th-century and consists in responding to demands of clients who were interested, first of all, in obtaining a typical, faithful and possibly the most representative portrait photograph. In a later period, Hartwig's portrait photos underwent a formal revolution – in the 1940s he was taking quite conventional portraits in the studio (including actor portraits). Portrait models include Danuta Szaflarska, young Lucyna Winnicka, Adolf Dymsza, Aleksandra Śląska, Kalina Jędrusik, Andrzej Łapicki… nearly all popular film and stage actors.

With the passage of time, photographs became expressive (the best example are dynamic photos of actors playing their roles), but were also characterised by the impressive skill of catching the model's psychology. Hartwig took fashion pictures, including pictures of models, of which probably the most famous example is a photographic session for Moda Polska (Polish Fashion), involving models in dresses designed by Henryk Berlewi, and Berlewi himself. The session took place in 1962 and may be compared with an event that happened three years later when in 1965 Yves Saint Laurent designed a cocktail dress as the tribute for Piet Mondrian, formally inspired by his images.

Whom Hartwig photographed most willingly? He would probably answer that his daughters. Danuta and Ewa were photographed from their early childhood. In the repository, you'll be able to find, for example, photos of Danuta Hartwig-Saulewicz taken during a trip with the father in the former Yugoslavia.

Hartwig photographed conventionally beautiful faces, but also searched for "unobvious" models. Particularly heartrending portraits are photographs of a blind's musician taken during holidays in Kazimierz Dolny – a place of his numerous visits.
Hartwig's portraits have penetrated our iconosphere and collective awareness in a way that we're sometimes not even aware of this. Meanwhile, pictures of faces of famous actors that we keep in memory are nothing else than just Hartwig's photographs.