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Tags:   Skills,   Outdoors,   Cameras,   Travel,   Jobs

By Colin Fitz   -  August 01, 2014

The Swedish wildlife photography specialist has been living in Malta since 2002, but island life has not stopped him from seeking adventure and that perfect shot in exotic locations around the world.


Tell us a bit about how you ended up where you are today.


I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Informatics from a university in Sweden. Digital information production was my major subject which meant a lot of graphic design, website creation, 3d-graphics and photography. In the past I had my own business creating websites and doing graphic design, so the creative spirit has always been there in one way or another. But I have always been crazy about animals and used to watch nature shows on Swedish state television when I was younger. This was before cable TV came in. We had two channels at that time and Discovery, Animal Planet and National Geographic were unheard of, so I used to be glued to the weekly one hour animal and nature program. And it’s my interest in both creativity and animals that has led me to where I am today – a wildlife photographer. I also teach photography courses and act as a photography guide on dedicated photography tours to Europe and Africa, for now.

Do you make a good living out of your photography?


Nature and wildlife photography is probably the hardest genre of photography to make a serious income in. Nowadays you definitely need to supplement your image licensing income with print sales, courses, guiding, workshops or whatever you feel is necessary to make a decent income. This said, I am not into this for the big bucks but because I love what I do: travel, animals, visiting exciting places and photography is the perfect combination for me.

Are there any photographers that have inspired you and who you try to emulate?


There are many! Some are inspirational because they create great art, for example Nick Brandt. I Just love the images he creates, but they are not the type of images I do. For my type of images I regularly look at other photographers for inspiration, such as Marina Cano and David Lloyd. Wildlife photography for me is very often to simplify the scene in front of me, which I think these two photographers do very well. Less is more.

What is your current project?

I am currently working on a private, long-term project here in Malta that involves chameleons. Contrary to popular belief, wildlife in Malta is relatively abundant if you look for it. What is missing is maybe the big mammals that exist in other countries, but we do have the birds, the insects, reptiles and so on.


I just came back from guiding a tour in the Shetland Islands north of Scotland where, apart from helping the participants on the tour, I also managed to get some decent snaps.

What I am currently looking forward to is one of the biggest achievements in my career so far: an awards ceremony in October. Unfortunately the details are secret so far and I cannot tell you more. But I can tell you some of my recent highlights: Finalist in the BBC Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 and this year; Finalist – Travel Photographer of the Year 2013; 2 Highly Commended twice in the Birdlife SOS Festival 2013 in South Africa; a Photo of the Day chosen for National Geographic and three for EarthShots.org; and a Finalist position in the Getaway Gallery Awards 2014 in South Africa.

What’s your advice to aspiring photographers, especially regarding equipment?


My best advice regarding gear is not to focus on the gear at all. Get the best gear you can afford and then focus on taking pictures. It is far more important to take loads of photos with what you have, than dreaming about new gadgets that you probably cannot afford. I have seen many amazing images taken with normal compacts. You need to adapt to your gear not the other way around. If you shoot with your compact which is not great in low light, the solution is to shoot in good light. Adapt!



See more of Johan's work at www.johansiggesson.com and www.facebook.com/johansiggessonphotgraphy, where you can also contact him to purchase prints and to discuss wildlife photography trip options.




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