Catching up with AYV multi-award winner Agata Mroczek from Poland

At an early age, Agata Mroczek of Niemce, Poland discovered her love for the art of photography. Despite never receiving formal training in her craft, Agata has won two Adobe Youth Voices Awards.  Her first win was in 2013 when she was awarded 1st place for her photo essay, Bowing to the Earth. At the time, she was only 15 years old. The following year, Agata was awarded 2nd place for her photo essay, Little Place on Earth, and was a finalist in the 2015 AYV Awards competition for her submission of My Little Planet. Her love for photography is rivaled only by her passion to convey the common message in her art; to stop to behold and respect our natural world. As Agata heightens her confidence through her earth-conscious work, she is inspired to pursue her dream of going to the capital of haute couture to be a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine. Some people tell her it’s impossible, but she is certain that it is, and that she will.

“People should connect themselves with the rhythm of nature, pause for a second to appreciate the beauty they are surrounded by.”

Q:  What problem are you trying to solve?

A: Through my project I would like people to become sensitive to the environment they are surrounded by. Today many people are busy with their day-to-day life and they tend to forget about the nature, they forget to take care of it, cherish it. I want to show these people that it’s a good idea to involve themselves into environment-friendly actions like “Earth Hour” or “Clean Up the World”.

Q:  What’s your vision? What is the impact you want to make?

A: I try to capture things that are invisible for “the naked eye”. I take pictures of people and I draw my attention to the facial expression, emotions they are accompanied by. I wish to seize fleeting moments and draw our attention to stunning sunsets, plants, tiny things that usually go unnoticed. Through my works I intend to inspire people, show them a different view point.

Q:  When do you first remember you wanted to take photographs?

A:  My adventure started in the summer when my cousins visited me. Girls want to look pretty and smile in front of the camera, so we started taking photos. It was just for fun. I had a closer look at the photos in magazines; I developed a bit of interest in fashion, its history.  I thought “I want to take photos like that; I want to see them in magazines!” I started doing everything to make my dream come true. My parents bought me a professional camera, as a gift, so I started taking photos of nature.

Q:  Tell us about your journey since then. How did you get to where you are today?

A:  Considering my young age I’m really satisfied with what I accomplished. I always wanted to learn and develop my skills. I know that the contests I participate in help me gain experience. I’m really grateful to my friends and family who always stand by my side, they are really supportive. I wouldn’t manage without them. I know they believe in me more than I do and they push me to achieve my goals. It’s crucial to have such people around you.

Q:  What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

A:  It was hard for me to show my pictures in public. I was afraid of critical remarks, opinions that my works are not interesting enough. I wanted to hide my photos deep in the drawer and show them to nobody. I had many moments of self-doubt, but I tried to convince myself that I cannot resign. I just love it too much. The loved ones helped me to overcome all the difficulties.

Q:  Who has helped you on your journey?

A: Family and friends helped me on my journey. I received huge support from the teachers in my school, they really believed in my success. I’m really grateful to Adobe people. Thanks to them I understood that photography plays a really important part in my life. Thanks to the AYV Aspire Awards I had a chance to spend a week in California. It was a crucial moment for my development as a young artist. I got to know a lot of fantastic people from all over the world. I could learn from them, gain experience and be inspired by their works.

Q:  What are your future goals?

A:  After finishing high school I would like to study photography. My dream is to study abroad. I have never attended any course or workshops so I’d like to start to gain professional experience. I believe that meeting new people and visiting many parts of the world can inspire me artistically. I am working on my language skills and photo techniques because I’d like to go to the capital of fashion in Europe – France, and work as a photographer in Vogue magazine. Some people say it’s impossible, but I strongly believe it.

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to pursue their ideas for solving an important social issue? What do they need to be successful?

A: It’s crucial to believe in yourself, think in a positive way, believe in your dreams. You need to be hardworking and determined to achieve what you need. Set your goals and take tiny steps to achieve them. Do not be afraid to stumble, you have to try to succeed. Take the risk, you cannot lose anything. And believe in what you do, if you love doing something, share it with the world.  Remember to listen to people who are close to you, take their advice and trust them – they will support you in what you do and help you to reach all your goals.

“There is one day in the year when we have a chance to unite and give the earth an hour of rest. “The Earth Hour” is when we are encouraged to rest for an hour together with the earth.”

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Patricia Cogley is manager, Adobe Youth Voices.