She moved from Poland to the other side of the globe, where she still lives and works. Agnieszka Chabros is a photographer ready to take up any challenge. Actually, she studied biology and later pursued her career as an artist. A confessed greyhound lover, non-believer and activist, the Australian-based creative is focused on fashion photography but takes inspiration from the natural environment, especially plants. With such a mix of contrasts, we decided to discover more about her personality and artistic style.
For those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m a photographer and a greyhounds’ devotee.
You were born in Wroclaw (Poland) but you moved to Melbourne (Australia). How have these two cities influenced your work?
The two cities are quite different. I was brought up in Wroclaw, South-West of Poland, in a high-rise apartment block. Everyone was always wearing fake streetwear or had more self-invented style. People were very creative, often forced to improvise. I guess that’s what formed me. Melbourne, on the other hand, is an open, multicultural and artistic city that floods you with inspiration.
You studied biology. When and how did you realize that photography was your main interest?
I have been always interested in conservationism, saving the environment. I quickly realised activism was taking a heavy toll on me, so I decided to focus the majority of my time on photography as a vent for my emotions and as a way of self-expression. Since then, it became my driving force.
I would like to know what's the background of your photos and your inspiration.
My family was very religious, devoted Catholics attending church every Sunday. I think that, even though I’m a non-believer nowadays, Catholic religion ‘stained’ me for life, especially when it comes to its approach towards women and their representation, in which one can only be a saint or a promiscuous sinner. In consequence, I’m very much inspired by religious icons, old masters’ paintings and sculptures in general. The oddity and richness of regal surrounding fascinates me. I’m also mainly focused on portraying women. Apart from classical art I’ve been always fascinated by the perfection and resilience of nature, botanic life especially. The endless shapes and forms of trees, flowers, and shrubs are an integral backdrop for my works.
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Everything you know about photography you learned by yourself. How was this process?
I took a course of darkroom techniques so I had some basic formal training, but the majority of my learning process was just about shooting and trying not to repeat my mistakes (too often).
I’ve read that you are very attracted to sculptural and semi-surrealist practices, so in some ways you understand the body like a sculpture. Am I wrong?
You’re right. I like when models are positioned so the body takes an unexpected, odd form.
Your photography can be classified between fashion and art. How do you find the balance between these two?
I haven’t thought about it, to be honest. I guess I try to give life to my ideas as much as possible, even to the more commercial assignments.
One of the main characteristics of your work is that you decontextualize objects. A great example of that is your series Articles of Clothing, which pays tribute this series to two of your biggest passions: fashion and nature.
Yes, I really loved working on this project. My friend Annie Wu from Articles of Clothing wanted to capture her designs in a more unusual way, so as you can imagine, that was water to my mill.
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It’s obvious that the scenery is an elemental part in your photography. Do the places where you shoot transmit you something, or is just pure aesthetic?
I often build the story around a location that strikes me as inspirational.
Let's talk about Family matter. What is the main concept behind this series? 
I wanted to present a series of less straightforward and a bit uncanny everyday family portraits.
Was this project something that you had on your mind, or did it occur spontaneously?
My mum was an unexpected driving force behind this series. With her living in Poland and me being on the other side of the globe she kept complaining to me about not receiving enough of my everyday photos. And, since she was right, as photos of myself are virtually non-existing, I decided to take up a challenge.
What do you want to achieve with your photography?
Photography keeps me sane.
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