A huge well done on being awarded the Open Photographer of the Year title. How does it feel to be a winner in one of the world's most prestigious photography competitions?
I feel very honored to be the 2023 Open Photographer of the Year. This is a huge recognition, considering that more than 200,000 pictures from more than 200 countires and terriorities were submitted. The fact that my picture was chosen among all of them fills me with great joy.
Last year you won the Alpha Female Award. What is it about the Sony World Photography Awards that make you want to enter again and again?
The unique combination of inclusivity, variety and its travelling nature makes the Sony World Photography Awards one of a kind. Last year, after I won the Alpha Female Award, I was able to experience and confirm this first-hand. My Crowned Tree Frog picture was part of the travelling exhibition last year, which provided me with exposure, highlighting my work as a wildlife photographer, around the world. Given all of this and more, I wouldn’t want to miss it for anything.
Your winning image is a black & white photograph depicting a pair of crested caracara birds in Southern Texas. Can you tell us the story behind this image?
I traveled in June of last year to a very beautiful ranch in Southern Texas. I remember that we were shooting Crested Caracaras in flight that day. Suddenly I noticed these two, who were perched together upon a branch in a very similar way, probably 20 metres away from the place where we were shooting the other birds. As I only had one chance to capture this moment, I did not even change my shutter speed. They were staring fixedly in the same direction, not moving, it was almost as if they were posing for me. They sat motionless and in identical positions, gazing out beyond the frame. I was amazed by their powerful personalities. They were so beautiful as if they were not real. I decided to switch this picture to black & white to emphasize their majestic quality. I have always tried to show people the beauty I see in nature, including the personality of all the animals I capture in my images. I am absolutely certain that 'Mighty Pair' transmits the incredible feeling I had shooting these amazing and beautiful birds of prey.
Your image was recently displayed at Somerset House and will soon embark on a world-touring exhibition. How did it feel to see your image printed and hanging on the exhibition walls?
Before the exhibition was opened to the public I was given the opportunity to be alone in front of my picture. It was an amazing experience. It was as if I was able to turn back time and remember the exact moment when I captured the image; I still get goosebumps when I remember the first time I walked into the room and saw how it was displayed, all by itself. The best way to describe it is pure bliss.
It’s still early days since you received this award, but has anything particularly exciting happened since the announcement?
Yes. I have noticed several magazines and news organisations have published stories that have mentioned me. I have also been invited to give interviews.
Have you had any thoughts on what you'll use your prize money for?
Yes, I will use the prize money to invest in more photographic equipment.
How do you hope the Awards will elevate your career?
Given the prestige of the Sony World Photography Awards and its travelling nature, I am certain that this recognition will contribute to the international dissemination of my work as a wildlife photographer.
How do you think the Awards champions inclusivity in photography?
There are many examples of the great work that Sony and these Awards do to promote inclusivity such as the Latin America National Awards and the Latin America Professional Award. Alongside this, from first-hand experience, I can tell you that last year I received the Alpha Female Award, an award that places emphasis on the work women contribute to the medium.