There is much more than meets the eye on this magical planet that we call home and Italian photographer, Andrea Pozzi, is on a quest to discover the secrets buried underneath.
This landscape photographer, writer and adventurer has dedicated his life to exploring the world on his photographic journey to understand himself and the nature that surrounds him. This month, we sat down with Andrea to discuss the process of becoming a professional landscape photographer, personal vision and his perspective on life.
Hello Andrea! Thank you for chatting with Iceland Photo Tours today. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you developed an interest in photography.
I was born in Bormio, an alpine jewel of Italy, in the autumn of 1984. Since an early age, I have always been fascinated by distant lands, places where contact with nature is fundamental and where civilisation has been unable to take root. The excitement behind a new experience, a new landscape or a new encounter is what gives me life; the growing desire for discovery, which becomes stronger with every new journey, has given birth to my own personal photographic (but not only) project: “forgotten lands”.
I have always been a very curious child and already around 12-13 years old, I manifested my attraction to photography and art in general traveling with my parents all over Europe.
During the last 15 years, my camera has taken me to the wild and remote corners of the world, witnessing the huge glaciers of Alaska and Yukon, the peaks of Patagonia and Asia, the tropical paradises of Polynesia, the desolate moorlands of Scotland, the tangled forests of New Zealand, the unbelievable Japanese winter, the wild Siberian taiga, the vast Andean plateau, the frozen wonderlands of Lapland and so on. I have visited more than 60 countries.
Every journey has been with the attempt to portray the beauty and the magic around me, trying to know myself better and getting in touch with the soul of adventure and exploration.
Patagonia and South America in general are now my second home, where I spend every year for several months, leading photo tours and exploring intensely.
I have been awarded in many international competitions of nature photography in Spain, Russia, Germany, Italy, France and United Kingdom.
In 2015 I published my first autobiographical book, entitled "30". I graduated with a degree in Architecture in 2009 and since 2005, I have been a ski instructor – a skill that often allows me to reach unspoiled places.
Every journey is an attempt to portray the beauty that surrounds us. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
Can you describe a bit of the process you went through in your early years as a photographer to get noticed? How did you start building your portfolio?
Over the years, I honestly never thought so much about how to get myself noticed. My goal has always been to maintain my own identity and consistency in my work. In the last years, I have made myself known through many public speeches rather than on social networks, which in any case are an indispensable tool for gaining visibility and keeping alive this dream.
After years of traveling around the world and many different experiences that have strengthened me as a man, I had the fortune and the desire to return to many of the places I had visited, now able to interpret them from a photographic and personal point of view.
However, a portfolio often represents a vision, a feeling, not just a place.
A portfolio is a page of our life and inside of it we can find the messages of the author.
Wild nature is our inspiration.
Wild nature is our inspiration. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
What’s the most important thing that people should understand about learning landscape photography?
That landscape photography is a feeling, not just an aesthetic representation of a place.
Research is essential, photographing beautiful things is not enough, it is necessary to photograph the beauty that each of us, as people with feelings, is able to see.
Research is essential when planning a photography trip. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
Are there any images that you’ve chosen not to take in the past for personal or other reasons?
There are many images, and there will always be. I didn't used to take many pictures, I consider edmyself an "analog" photographer in the digital age. I am a very introspective person and I like to immerse myself in the nature, observing all its details before photographing it. Sometimes, photography can distract you, because due to it, we simply look through the viewfinder and no longer feel the nature with all five senses.
Where do you find inspiration besides nature?
I find daily inspiration in paintings, music, books, cinema and all my youthful experiences that have shaped me as a man. I observe much more painting than photography and I find that music is absolutely indispensable for entering subconscious states that can unleash our artistic soul through a profound inspiration.
Andrea finds inspiration in paintings. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
Which photo shoot have you undertaken that has been the most memorable for you?
I was wandering through the virgin forests of South America in the morning. As a child, I had a passion for prehistory and dinosaurs and have always been attracted to primordial landscapes.
That misty morning, I managed to create the image that encompasses everything I've always dreamed of as a child: an almost drawn and not iconic landscape, an intimate habitat of ephemeral creatures (a flock of birds). I had finally heard the beat of the primevals.
Cracked ice in Lake Baikal. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
How important do you think post-processing is in photography today? Can someone succeed without processing his or her images?
I believe that post-processing is fundamental and it has always been. People often talk about post-processing as an alteration of the image but it is not correct. Post-processing is the continuation of an artistic process and without it, our works are incomplete. I am rather conservative and I like the natural feeling of my images, which is why I limit myself to the basic adjustments, although very personal and careful, in the finalisation of my works.
Can someone succeed without post production? I’d say yes, it is always the photographer's eye that makes the difference and “speaks”. Landscape photography is a very vast and complex photographic genre, not limited to the classic view of the great landscape.
Andrea believes that post-processing is fundamental to photography today. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
How important is social media to your success?
Social media is very important but not the only way to spread a message and to get known. I prefer to spend my time in the wilderness (this is the real success to me) rather than looking at a screen too much.
Out of all of your world travels, which places have captivated you the most, or were the most challenging to photograph? Were there any locations that left you a bit disappointed?
No destination I have visited has left me disappointed. I never leave with expectations, I prefer to let myself be surprised and I think this is the key to not being disappointed. Nature is magnificent, how can it leave us indifferent or upset?
Many places have left their mark on me, especially in extreme latitudes, both north and south.
One of the most difficult places I've ever photographed (and approached) is Siberia, especially for logistical reasons and for the geomorphological characteristics of a completely wild area that I visited 5 years ago.
Many places have left their mark on Andrea. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
Some photographers say that they see the world differently, and that they have a different perspective on life. What is your perspective on the world and on life?
For me, every day represents a blank page on which to write. The goal is to finish the available space every single day to be able to take advantage of the great gift that has been given to us.
Photography teaches us to see, stimulates us, allows us to do things that we would not even imagine without it. Who would wake up a month in a row at dawn to experience an emotion? Few people.
Photography makes us more determined, gives us chills, and we must find the right balance to be able to cohabit with it. Thanks to photography, every detail, every nuance in nature makes more sense. We become more sensitive, possibly better people and we also have a great mission – to show the beauty of nature with a focus on preserving it, which unfortunately, doesn't always happen.
Get experimental with your photography. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
What would be some tips you would give to a beginning photographer?
Be yourself, take inspiration (not only from photography) and above all, get experimental. Do not try to imitate a style or forcibly “create” one, it doesn’t work like that. Have patience – the journey into the world of photography is long and torturous and goes hand in hand with our daily life and our experiences. As we grow as people, we grow as photographers. Photography speaks of ourselves, not of others.
Once again: be yourself! And feel...
Is there really a need to take every picture? Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
Is there something you always ask yourself or think just before you push the shutter button?
Sometimes in the past, I have happened to ask myself: is there really a need?
Your social media often shows you going to some of the most beautiful places on Earth. How do you manage to juggle the demand on your time for photography, work and home life?
Surely, mine was a choice that I made many years ago. I had a secure future with a good job but I wanted to follow my dream at all costs and here I am. I am away from home for several months every year but now all my loved ones are used to seeing me look “like a ghost”. But when the ghost comes home, he really does! I’ve plenty of time to spend with my family when I’m home and I often link my business trips with the photographic projects I'm working on.
Andrea is following his dream at all costs. Photo by: 'Andrea Pozzi'.
Once we finish this interview, you step outside and you find a lottery ticket that ends up winning you $10 million. What do you do?
Thanks for the offer but I believe that without a struggle and without building step by step your dreams, there will be no satisfaction.
I can travel, explore, love, be loved and as long as the health will grant me, I will not stop to follow my dreams and live well in my contact with nature and people I love. The $10 million wouldn't serve me and any of us, lucky as we are.
Capture the beauty of our planet, just like Andrea! Check out our range of international photo tours and photography workshops.