Bulgarian photographer Veselin Atanasov is this year’s Open Photographer of the Year. He lives with his family in the small Bulgarian town of Kazanlak and works as an IT specialist. His favourite hobbies are traveling and photography.
He says: "Nowadays I can work from every corner of the world, so I have the opportunity to travel and take pictures of the most beautiful places in the world."
Hi Veselin. Please introduce your self and tell us about your journey in photography
I love traveling a lot and my love of journeys is at the core of my other passion for photography. After a series of unforgettable trips to many different and exotic destinations in the period 2013 – 2014, I decided to try photography, because I wanted to capture the scenes and share the impact these spots had on me. So, at the end of the summer of 2014, I purchased a semi-professional camera and started self-training in photography mainly through the Internet and also a friend of mine with more experience, who helped me at the beginning.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
I am not sure whether this is a matter of philosophy, but the pictures having the greatest impact on me are the ones in which I recognize the author's particular style. I think that it would be wonderful if all photographers, not only the professional ones, fervently seek their own personal style. I think that looking for recognizability is among the most vigorous motive powers for the development of photography.
A unique style of photography enables us not only to see the world presented, but also enjoy the rich variety of dreams we possess.
Tell us more about your successful image in this year's competition
The picture is from the beautiful forests of the Stara Planina Mountain that are near my home. This particular photo is one of few I managed to take in the forests in the autumn of 2017, because only a day after the shooting there was a climate anomaly; it started snowing and the forest was covered in snow and eventually frozen. After the melting of the snow the leaves of the trees had untimely fallen and the golden colours of autumn were lost for that year.
You have taken lots of images within forests - what draws you to this environment?
One word: nature. The forest is one of those special places with the most abundant and the most expressive elements of pure nature. The forest has no definiteness or commerciality. When nature covers the forest with fog, it is magic. And all this magic is just minutes away from home!
How did it feel find out you were a winner at the Sony World Photography Awards?
I felt as if in my sleep a dream has come true! Great joy and satisfaction! I wish it to everyone.
What are your top tips for creating beautiful landscape photography?
My top tip for photographers is to travel every time they can afford to, regardless of what the weather forecast is, because nature always finds a way to surprise us. Many of my favorite shots are made in weather commonly considered as inappropriate for image making.
Where in the world are you and what's next for you?
I am home with my family after a 10-day journey in rainy Scotland with plans to make a spring tour of the undulating fields of Tuscany in Italy.