Peter Svoboda is an accomplished landscape photographer from Slovakia, whose works have gained international recognition. When you look at Peter’s photos, you see the world with the eyes of a fine artist: smooth lines, curves and waves captured in a frame form an impressionistic picture with their elusive movements. What helps him understand nature so profoundly? We talked with Peter and tried to find out.
Please, tell us more about your background and creative path. How did you become a photographer?
My life has been connected with photography for more than 35 years. Since my youth I have been interested in art. As a child I studied at an art school, where we were focused on drawing and painting. Back then, I loved painting oils on canvas. After some time I decided to explore the magic of the dark room and started shooting on BW film. In a while, I started taking digital pictures. I soon realized that photography will be that wonderful and exciting journey for me.
Later on I became a professional photographer and have been awarded in many well-known international competitions. This year I have been honoured to receive an award which is very important for me, European Landscape Photographer 2017 Golden Camera. I also took first places in such competitions as Tokyo International Foto Awards, International Photography Awards, Moscow International Foto Awards, Prix de la Photographie Paris, and more.
How would you describe your style? Has your style changed or evolved over the years?
I consider myself a landscape photographer, striving to capture special moments of nature with their unique mood. I love to include a man’s figure into the frame to emphasize humans’ respect to the nature and to show how small we are in comparison with it. I appreciate minimalism in photography and often try to compose my shots within minimalistic concept. My intention is to create easy to read, atmospheric and impressive pictures – those are the shots I am usually satisfied with.
What is your attitude to discomfort during work? Have you ever put yourself at risk for good shots?
I am always thrilled and passionate when taking pictures. I can compare this feeling with the emotions hunters know very well. It doesn’t matter if I am taking pictures in rough weather conditions or in remote locations, skiing deep in the snow or climbing up for hours. There is always passion that warms me up and brings me positive energy.
Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?
Yes, of course. I would have never taken most of my shots without the support of my family, especially my wife, who is also a patient companion in my photography trips.
How often do you travel for photography? What trips or expeditions have been most memorable so far?
I travel quite a lot. If I add it all up together, there are few months spent in nature every year. For example, next week I‘m going on my fourth long photography trip this year. It’s not easy to say which expedition has been most memorable, as I had so many special moments and shots in many of them. I remember the fantastic moment during a shooting in Austrian Alps, when due to the rough weather conditions I was almost not able to stand, and because of the strong wind and grainy icy snow I couldn’t open my eyes and I had to take pictures with my both eyes closed. However, the results were really great. I remember the hurricane winds in the Lofoten, when I had to stand with my both feet on my tripod’s legs in order to take a long exposure pictures. These and many other spectacular scenes I witnessed are forever with me in my memory.
What gives you ideas and inspires you?
Nature itself is an endless inspiration for me, its beauty and all those breathtaking moments I saw with my own eyes keep me in constant search for the new rare and precious scenes.
Do you have a creative routine?
I try to be flexible and stay open-minded when taking pictures, as well as during the post-production. Nevertheless, I think that after all those years I have a kind of routine both in composing my pictures and during the processing, when I am often going through the same steps. I call it ‘my old good technique’, and it often brings me satisfying results.
What are your creative plans for the upcoming year?
I have several destination that I’m planning to visit with my camera: these are remote areas in Iceland, Norway, Swiss Alps, Dolomiten, and Patagonia. Besides, I am working on a secret project right now, and I need to collect special pictures for it. I am also preparing my works for a big exhibition that is going to take place in several of European cities.
What is your advice to young people who want to become travel and nature photographers?
There are so many things to advice that I would like to write a book about it... :) I am really willing to share my experience, tips and tricks with other photographers. Right now I am working as a Head Curator on one of the famous photography internet sites. I‘ve seen so many amazing artistic pictures of different genres, and this great experience is helping me improve my own photography, as the more I teach – the more I learn myself.
Number one attribute is to believe in what you are doing. Be patient, don’t rush for progress. It is waiting for you, but it doesn’t really come easy. Try to pre-visualize the scene you wish to capture. Be patient and give it as many attempts as necessary, until you get what you want. Travel and study the place carefully. And in the end – just go for it. It might sound easy, but it is not. It is the path for the patient ones, but the journey is beautiful indeed.
To see more work by Peter, visit his website: