I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has thrown the world for a giant loop. A lot of us feel stressed and overwhelmed by the events unfolding right before our eyes. Working at 500px during this time has been an interesting experience to say the least. I’ve watched many 500px community members use photography as an outlet by creating compelling photo series depicting how they view the world today. They’ve been a combination of sad, scary, hopeless, hopeful, beautiful, and inspiring but the one thing that unites them is how truly creative they are.
When photographer Agnieszka Pasko, reached out to me about her latest photo series titled “Lockdown” I knew I had to share it with the larger community. Having been a fan of Agnieszka’s work for years (her photo was featured on a beer can from the Collective Arts / 500px partnership last year), I was very excited to get the chance to interview her on this project. I’m so inspired by how she took her sadness and anxiety and channeled it into such beautiful and captivating photos, I hope you will be too.
So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Agnieszka Pasko and her project: Lockdown – 9 themes, 9 photos, and 9 square meters.
Hi Agnieszka, introduce yourself to the 500px community!
My name is Agnieszka Pasko, I’m a fine art photographer from Poland. My journey with photography started in high school when I got my first DSLR Nikon camera. I used to create very bright, clear, and white images—it was my own unique style. However, right now I’m focused on creating more colorful and eccentric stuff.
I try to focus on emotions and colors in my photography. I love to add some unusual elements to my pictures to tell an interesting story. In photography, I admire understatements and free interpretations in creative work.
I’m also a highly sensitive person and because of that, photography is a very important tool for understanding the world and dealing with my own emotions.
Tell us about your Lockdown project, and why it’s so important for you.
This photo project is very important to me. It helped me a lot during the COVID-19 lockdown. My big plan for 2020 was to travel around Europe, meet new people, create new photographs, find my place in the world. I wanted to take a gap year before finding a permanent job, before “real life”.
In March, I was with my younger brother on a workaway program near Girona – in northern Spain. Because of the coronavirus, we had to come home. It wasn’t so easy, because borders in Poland were already closed, we had to take a flight back to Berlin and then cross the border on foot. It was a really stressful and strange experience, followed by quarantine and lockdown in Poland. The government closed even the parks and woods. I was sitting in my room, a little bit anxious, thinking about the whole situation. Feeling helpless. So I decided that the only thing I can do right now is create.
Why THIS project?
I just had this urgent need to do something more. The whole situation was overwhelming. I needed to break the routine. I wanted to create something personal, just for me, from my emotions. It was some kind of a photo challenge. First I created nine themes. I started by looking for keywords in my inspiration on Pinterest and 500px. Then, from these keywords, I created nine sentences that became my themes for the photos.
How did you find your inspiration and creativity while on lockdown?
I started to meditate more often, I took a break from social media and explored some stuff from my childhood (toys, drawing, diaries, dream journal). It gave me a whole new perspective on creative work.
I also change my playlist to more peaceful music. When I could finally go for a walk I just enjoyed nature with my dog. It was really inspiring after a few weeks spent in a small room.
What were the biggest challenges in completing this project?
I think that my space was the biggest challenge for me. I took all the photographs in my room (nine square meters), which is quite small so I could only do a portrait. There is no space for a full body silhouette photoshoot. But it was the only available and safe place where I could just let go and transform my ideas into pictures. I didn’t have any additional light, just me and my DSLR camera and 50mm lens.
Are you working on anything new?
Yes! I’m going back to pastel tones and creating a new series for my online exhibition, which will be opening in December 2020. I want it to be the essence of this strange year. You are all invited!
If you’d like to learn more about Agnieszka Pasko, you can follow her on on 500px here!
Do you have a story you want us to share? Send us an email and let us know!