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SWPA Award winner reveals the trade secrets behind his photographic success

WPO interview photographer Antoine Weis, winner of the Nature & Wildlife category in the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. theprintspace are once again the official printer partner for the 2016 #SWPA, which is now open for entry! 


“Although it is the photographer who shoots the image, the role of the camera and, more importantly its mastery should not be underestimated.” - Antoine Weis

Tell us more about this extraordinary image

I was waiting for my wife outside a temple in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, when my eye was caught by this pelican cleaning its plumage. Because of the unfavorable perspective the photograph required some post-processing perspective correction. The result is an uncommon, somewhat apocalyptic wildlife & nature (or shall I say wildlife & man-life) impression that results from the interplay of the animal with the rusty, stained lamp-post and the blurred background skyline in front of a grey sky. The combination of organic (round) and artificial (straight) shapes contributes to the overall esthetics.

What is your background? How did you get into photography?

I have been taking photos from a young age, starting with black and white photography (around age 13) with an Agfa Isolette III followed by a Zeiss Contaflex offered to me at age 9. Around age 16, I switched to shooting mainly slides, my Contaflex documenting my overland trips to Afghanistan in 1972 (age 19) and to India/Nepal in 1975 (age 22). I entered the world of DSLR photography much later with several versions of the Minolta Dynax. Recently I have moved to more advanced digital gear that is my fair companion on my yearly trips to the tropics.

What does photography mean to you?

Being a university researcher and teacher in atomic/laser physics and quantum optics, light is at the focus of my professional life. I am fascinated by all aspects of light, from the understanding of its nature and properties at the fundamental quantum level, its production, and its scientific applications up to light being a main mediator for our perception of the outside world. Photography touches the latter aspect and thus forms a natural bridge between my professional and private life.

Do you have a photographic philosophy?

Catching the futility of the moment and the esthetics of our beautiful world. Although it is the photographer who shoots the image, the role of the camera and, more importantly its mastery should not be underestimated.

Can you tell us about a current or future photographic project you have planned?

Encouraged by the WPO Award I definitely want to develop further skills within wildlife & nature photography. On the other hand, I plan to do more street photography and I am thrilled to explore the potentials of the Sony Alpha 7 II in this field.

Passionate as I may be for my straining science job, I must admit that the expectation of a not too far away retirement excites me. Experience has taught me that the freer your brain is, the better images you will shoot.


Enter the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards for free today: worldphoto.org/swpa

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