Through muted, cool colors and dreamy soft lighting 20-year-old photographer Hania Komasińska has cultivated a special and recognizable style. She expresses her experiences growing up in Poland through fashion photography that captures youth culture from a genuine, intimate perspective. Many of her locations are places she frequents often and fond memories of her own childhood inspire many of her creative ideas. Her background is eclectic; she studied music for 13 years, played piano since age six and is a certified eurythmics instructor. Currently, she is also pursuing another passion in pharmaceutical studies. Despite these varied interests photography has been an exciting creative outlet for her since age 13 when her father taught her how to use a camera. She evokes tenderness and curiosity from her subjects and emulates a subtle nostalgia reminiscent of the carefree feeling of summers spent playing outside from dawn till dusk. Much of fashion imagery today is flashy and outrageous, Hania's work is refreshing in its quiet beauty and delicate simplicity.
In your work you reflect a variety of emotions from insecure, sad moments to playful and quirky yet still maintain your beautiful personal style. How did you find your voice as an artist?
When I started doing photography, I didn’t know which style I liked and I was trying everything without any consistency. It took me a while to find my own way and to start finding beauty through my art. Nowadays my shooting and editing process is finally at a place that I’m happy with – a little bit melancholic, nostalgic and sometimes romantic. I realized that telling stories through images is the best way to express myself. My goal is to reflect inspirations, emotions and personalities of photographed people by putting them into my own world, as if I give a sneak peek into my perception of the surroundings.
Your work has a very distinct color tone, what lighting choices and techniques do you use to achieve the desired effect in your final image?
The most important thing about gaining the desired mood, is the light. I want to achieve as natural final effect as possible, that’s why I mostly use daylight and minor editing in a graphic program. Perfect time for shooting is in the early morning or late afternoon , when the light is the most subtle and beautiful during the day. As I’m not an early bird type, I always choose the time right before the sunset.
How has your work changed since when you first started?
I was 13 years old when I first started, it took me a few years to find my own style after trying different things. First I was photographing my cat, objects and small plants, until I found out that portraits are the exact thing that I’m really passionate about. My early projects were spontaneous and without any specific plan or idea, but when I finally saved money for a DSLR, I started to pay attention to the light, models I choose, outfits, locations and details. I began to see beauty, personalities, emotions and characteristic features in people, which I wanted to symbolize in my works. My passion soon became something more serious and now it’s a large part of who I am.
Do you actively seek inspiration or wait until it finds you? What or who are some of your influences?
I would say both. My works are mostly influenced by experiences of my personal life, memories, histories heard from people I meet, faces, situations I witness, or generally everything that is occupying my mind at the time. My inspiration sources are also regular things like traveling, music, places with special atmosphere or vintage wardrobe pieces, but sometimes it can be something unexpected and weird as well, like an octopus from a supermarket freezer or a meal in a fast food restaurant.
Some of your locations reflect modern culture, such as subways and fast-food restaurants. What intrigues you about these types of places and how do you choose your locations?
These types of places are the ones I visit on a daily basis, where I can observe many people, their behavior, gestures, appearance, situations they’re in. It inspires me to create little stories, which I’d like to show on my photographs later. I usually find my locations by accident, while having a walk or by bumping into some interesting pictures on the internet, but more often than not I find these places while wandering on Google Street View. It’s sometimes funny and confusing when my friends ask me if I know where is some particular street and I say “Oh yes, I’ve already been there on Google Maps”.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
I think the most challenging aspect of being an artist is to make the most of what you have. Sometimes the kind of location you’re looking for is out of your reach or budget, the same with models, equipment, shooting crew, wardrobe etc. That taught me – the simpler, the better.
When & where do you feel most inspired?
There isn’t any specific place where I feel inspired, but I love this moment when I run into a great shooting location by accident or see an interesting person on a bus and hundreds of ideas and images are suddenly flashing in my mind. So many things inspire me, that I keep a running list of everything that pops into my head. Sometimes it can be simply a look someone gave me, lyrics or a face. I save it all and come back to it later. I hate any kind of pressure – I like to let my thoughts, plans and initial ideas wait for a good moment to turn them into art, little by little I put everything together that I need for this particular photo shoot. On the other hand, pressure is a huge self-motivator for me and it often helps me improve my organizing skills.
What excites you most about doing photography?
Photography gave me an amazing opportunity to experience and discover things that are a huge part of me right now. I’m very grateful that through my passion I meet so many valuable and talented people, who help me create something that is entirely my own. Creating something together and then sharing it with the rest of the world is one thing, but when you receive positive feedback and messages from people from all over the world, appreciating your art and saying your photographs have inspired them – this is the best compliment an artist can get and the most exciting thing about doing photography.