Behind the lens of a wildlife photographer
Covent Garden Piazza
WC2E 8HD GEO:51.512,-0.122813
He’s snapped penguins in Antarctica, World Cup fans in South Africa and the Northern Lights in Iceland. Now award-winning photographer Andrew Scriven is selling his vivid, jaw dropping prints in WC2’s Apple Market. We spoke to the Sony World Photography awards finalist about his awe-inspiring work.
What’s been your most exciting photography trip?
Last year I flew to Vancouver, cycled down the west coast of the US, island hopped around Hawaii, spent a bit of time in Colombia, bussed down through South America and then sailed from Argentina to Antarctica on a three-mast tea clipper.
Antarctica was the pinnacle of the trip. I knew the photography would be incredible. Still, the blues and the scale of it were a huge surprise. You’d expect it all to be white, but the oxygen is sucked out of the ice through the cold and the pressure, which gives it a real vibrant blue tint – it almost looks like it’s alight.
You’re also an explorer. Have you had any scary experiences?
After Antarctica. I went trekking on my own for two and a half months in the
I wandered off the track where there was no path and then the snow came down. The sky was white, the ground was white and there were no reference points. It was silly really because I had seen a lot of missing posters on the track and if you leave the track there’s no reason anyone should find you. Luckily, after two and a half hours I managed to gauge where I was using the sound of the river.
If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
I’d be off to Alaska exploring the Arctic. I really like cold places. I love the views and the wildlife and the wilderness.
Why did you choose to sell in Covent Garden’s Apple Market?
There’s a great atmosphere. With all the performers and the sheer number of people who come here everyday, it’s just a fun place to be. And of course, it’s centrality.
When did you realise you had a unique skill with the camera?
I’ve always been into photography but at the end of last year I entered a picture into a National Geographic competition and it got into the top 10. That encouraged me to sell my work at art fairs. I just found out that I’m in the final stages of the BBC World Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award at the National History Museum. It’s all happened really quickly.
Being a finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards 2011 was incredible because of its sheer size. There were 105,000 entries, ending with the selected work showing in Somerset house, then touring to New York and Sao Paulo. The entry piece is a magical landscape scene in Antarctica.
Tell us how you took that picture
I sailed onboard the tea clipper. Then took a small Zodiac onto the mainland – a Zodiac being a motorised, inflatable dinghy. We then trekked up a glacier, which took a few hours. And from the top of the glacier I took the picture looking down.To see the image click here
What one tip would you give to a budding amateur wildlife photographer to improve the quality of their images?
Have your camera on you all the time and take pictures. And if you don’t have it on you think about what settings you would be using. Also think about things from a different angle. If you see that everyone is taking a photograph, think how you could take it differently. You also need a real determination to stick it out. You might want to go inside and escape the cold but if you get a nice picture it is worth the wait.
Does your photography have a message?
I think we can often forget or choose to ignore the impact we individually have on the planet, and seeing the beauty and fragility of ecosystems like Antarctica can remind us of what is at stake out there beyond our towns and cities.
Andrew Scriven Photography
The Apple Market, North Hall, The Market Building
Tuesdays and Wednesdays