The Polish student photographer breaking into the fashion industry before she’s even graduated

Most fashion photography students dream of shooting with top agencies, but few can say they’ve achieved this while still at art college. Digital photography student Angelika Wierzbicka can, though. She is graduating from Ravensbourne this summer and has been photographing models from agencies including Next, IMG, Select, Models1, Storm and Premier, building up an impressive collection of editorial tearsheets in just a few years.

Originally from Poland, the 21-year-old has produced work for Coco Magazine, Hunger TV and Material Girl magazine. “Fashion is really important to me, not only in photography but also in my personal life,” she says. “I love shooting fashion because I get to create beautiful imagery that doesn’t exist in real life; it’s almost like a dream. Some images can look so simple and effortless that people don’t realise how much work has gone into making them.”

The shoot for Material Girl came about after Wierzbicka got in touch with stylist Savannah Baker. Together they created a series of images that riff on different shades of pink and other complementary pastel colours. “I couldn’t afford to rent an apartment for the shoot, so I found a set designer who could create the illusion of a room,” she says.

The composition of the images depended very much on their surroundings, so Wierzbicka worked closely with the set designer, adjusting the scene to ensure each shot worked well in camera. The “wet hair look” and paint strokes on the model’s face weren’t planned – they came about through trial and error, she says. “I created this shoot around the idea of femininity. I usually start the process by looking at other images that inspire me and take that inspiration into my own work – whether it’s the poses, the lighting or the overall mood. The team I worked with put a lot of effort into this shoot – everyone just clicked.”

Now settled in London, Wierzbicka sent the editorial to a number of fashion magazines and Material Girl, published by Austria-based Plastic Media, published it in a print issue, accompanied by an interview of the young photographer. With a few years’ worth of shooting under her belt already, Wierzbicka hopes to continue in a similar vein. “I don’t know what’s next for me yet, but I have few ideas. I will see what the next few months bring. I’m definitely going to carry on experimenting with models, and maybe do an internship. Of course, I would love to be signed to an agency and shoot fashion editorials or campaigns for a living.”

Angelika exhibited at the Free Range Graduates Showsthe UK’s number one showcase for new creative talent. Find more of her work here.

First published in the August 2015 issue – you can buy it here.