Michel is a precocious talent. At 22 years old only he already won 2 of the most prestigious wildlife photography prizes and is about to release his first book “A l’Affut” (“On The Lookout”) and yet still a student at a school of photography. iLHP is particularly honored to have him answer our questions and he has been kind enough to let us discover even more his world as a wildlife photographer.
iLHP: Hi Michel, I am very pleased and honored to be able to interview you for our online magazine. Indeed, as some might not know already, you just won at the end of 2014, two of the most prestigious wildlife photography prizes! (the Rising Star Award of the BBC Wildlife of London and the Fritz Polking Nachwuchspreis from the GDT of Lunen for photographers under 23). So I am very glad to showcase your photographs here! To start with, can you just tell us a little bit about you?
Michel: Hi, well thanks for inviting me in this magazine. What can I say ? I was born in 1992, in a very small village in the country side of Belgium drowned in a beautiful intact nature. I was very lucky to grow up among animals and little by little I became passionate about them.
As you’ve probably read the first part of “My Journey with a Wildlife and Macro Photographer” I will jump right away to the second part of this fabulous experience. If you have not read the first part, you can read it here. After reading this part, I also recommend going back to the first part to see the image samples again with their captions so that you can understand better the explanations.
The Creative Art Philosophy
I see eye to eye with Thomas’ photography philosophy, I mean, even before meeting him I’ve always loved and found the artistic
photographs appealing. It has just consolidated my vision. The purpose is not to take naturalistic pictures where you can identify the species, see how the insect’s eyes are made or it’s little hair. The purpose is more about artistic and fine art photographs. In order to reach this goal, the first thing is not to take big close-ups but on the contrary the environment where the subject evolves must have a bigger impact. Having the subject quite small in the photographs is not a problem, it’s actually the contrary.
Do you remember Thomas Delahaye? I interviewed him this past September and even spent two mornings with him shooting what he does best, butterflies. I wanted to understand how he could take those wonderful and very artistic pictures. Here I’m about to tell you my journey with a pro photographer.
The Meeting Spot
Thomas set the “rendez-vous” very early, he said “If we want the best possible light and quiet butterflies, we have to arrive at my spot at dawn”. I was ready to go, “Sure! Whatever we need to do, I want to discover how you work”.
Elena Shumilova takes intimate photographs of her 2 sons with their pets in their farm in Russia. Trivial ? Not so much actually. the quality of her shots made exclusively with natural light are breathtaking.
She used to be an architect but the success and the raise of her children took all of her time, she’s now completely devoted to her passion which is photography.
Ukrainian photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko documents tiny creatures in nature who often go unseen. He has an eye to take photos that bring small worlds up to our level, or in a way, how the world would be seen from an ant, lizard or snail’s eyes. In particular, he captures portraits of snails that are both magical and adorable. The photographer gets in close to snap macro shots of precious, surreal moments.
This passion started early in his childhood as he told the Dailymail: “As a child, my father taught me to hunt mushrooms near my home and we would always come across all manner of bugs and creatures. As I got older and my interest in photography grew, I decided I wanted to catch these magical scenes on camera.“ He took his first macro shot at the age of 10.