Why you won't want to miss the work of photographer Agata Pospieszynska

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Photo credit: Courtesy of Patricia McMahon Photography
Photo credit: Courtesy of Patricia McMahon Photography

Every month, in our new franchise Behind the Lens, we will be getting to know the women behind the beautiful images that fill the magazine's pages and illustrate our online storytelling at Harper's Bazaar. From celebrity cover stories to fairy-tale fashion editorials, every image is lovingly captured by one of our talented pool of visionary photographers, without whom the brand wouldn't be what it is today.

This month we're turning the spotlight on photographer Agata Pospieszynska, responsible for many of the dreamlike editorials that have filled our pages over the years - and most recently photographing Jodie Comer for one of this year's limited-edition December covers, celebrating our 2021 Women of the Year.

Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar

How did you get into photography, and did you always know that was what you wanted to do?

"I wish I was one of those people who always knew what they wanted to do. I spent my youth in the horse saddle, show jumping and being a stuntwoman. My family was horrified as it was not the future they wanted for me. I've been asked to be a lawyer, accountant and to work in a bank, but all of this sounded so boring to me. I studied horse breeding for three years just to discover it wasn't what I want to do.

"By the time I got an old camera from my grandad and took lots of pictures of my horse and dog, then pictures of my friends, it seemed I was quite good at it and enjoyed it a lot. I decided to drop my horse studies and join a photographic school. I started with reportage, but one day I was doing an internship in a studio and saw Italian Vogue with Paolo Roversi and Peter Lindberg's work. I was mesmerised; I wanted to shoot like this and I wanted to do fashion. So I stayed in the studio and learned as much as I could."

Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar

What was your first photography job or commission?

"Portraiting a horse. As for fashion, I'm pretty sure I started with some Polish independent magazines. I'll be always grateful to the former editor-in-chief Justine Picardie and Harper's Bazaar magazine for commissioning me for my first big editorial job in the UK."

What's the best piece of career advice you've ever been given?

"Funnily enough, it was Paolo Roversi who once told me at a workshop in Stockholm to 'leave Poland and try to make it in one of the big fashion cities'. I moved to London not much later and things kicked off pretty fast."

Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar

Which person or location you've shot stands out the most for you over your career, and why?

"I loved shooting in Korea as it felt so different and was so inspiring."

What has been your favourite Bazaar UK shoot and why?

"It’s a tough question since there have been so many of them. I loved the 'white' story with five girls (pictured above); that shoot brought me one of my favourite covers. Photographing Drake Burnette in Scotland also felt very special (below)."

Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar

Who or what do you find interesting subjects to photograph?

"I love epic locations and strong personalities."

What makes a good photo?

"It’s the moment. Sometimes a very imperfect one."

Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Agata Pospieszynska for Harper's Bazaar

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