Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
My name is Agnieszka Plata. I am a 17-year artistically inclined free-thinker with a love for photography. I am originally from Poland and I have been living in Northern Ireland since I was three years old.
Congratulations on winning the Arts Award photography competition! How did you find out about it?
Thank you! I found out about the competition through the Void Visionaries group organised by the Void Gallery in Derry/Londonderry. Through the group, I signed up for Arts Award which I am very excited about.
Tell us about your entry?
My entry was a photograph I took of my good friend on an art trip to Belfast Museum. We probably looked quite strange holding our cameras facing each other while being surrounded by impressive historical artefacts. However, I recognise photography as a way to capture the inconspicuous moments in life which are not noticed by many, and my entry reflects that.
When did you first get into photography?
As a little girl, my love for photography started with the blurry shots I took on my parent's digital camera. When I turned 8 years old I was gifted my very own digital camera by my grandparents. Nearly 10 years later I am still shooting photographs (some still blurry) on the DSLR camera which allowed me to capture some of my best photographs yet.
What sort of camera equipment do you use?
I currently use the DSLR Canon camera which I dreamed of for as long as I can remember. As I am still in the process of discovering the ins and outs of operating a DSLR camera I resort to using mainly the macro starter lens. I hope in the near future I will be able to experiment with different cameras but I will never forget my first professional camera.
Have you had any formal education in photography?
No, as an amateur photographer I have resorted to learning about photography on my own or from beginners just like me. Through the Void Visionaries group, I met Carly Campbell who was running various programmes on photography. I picked up many tips and learned more about the functions of my camera. This experience had definitely led me to consider applying for a formal education in photography.
Are there any photographers who particularly inspire you?
Recently I was introduced to the wonderful photography of Vivian Maier. I felt extremely inspired by her photographs as they possess the same effect which I strive to achieve with my photographs. The idea of capturing everyday life is something I feel passionately about and what makes Maier such an inspiring photographer.
Is photography a career path you would like to pursue? If not, do you know what you might like to do?
Photography has always been a key element in my life and I do not see a future without it. As I'm in the second year of preparing for my A-levels the idea of choosing a career path already is a terrifying thought. While I don't have a specific career in mind, I definitely hope for one which will allow me to work independently and express my creativity to the fullest.
What is a top tip you would give to somebody who wants to try out photography?
My top tip would be to take inspiration from my 8-year-old self; take photos of anything and everything. Over the years I learnt so much just by capturing what I saw around me and I've found a real interest in normal people living their normal everyday lives. While it's not something everyone may find interesting, I think the key to enjoying photography is to not limit yourself to what you think will look traditionally good and instead capture what you as an individual find happiness in.
Do you have any work you would like to promote?
As my photography is very relaxed I often post it on my casual Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/agnieszka1750/ and I also share my work on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/agnieszkaplata2576/_created/.
Find out more about the winners of the Arts Award photography competition by following this link to the announcement post.