Barbara and Maciej Noskowski

2023 Professional Nature Photographer of the Year

Q: Can you briefly tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue photography?
Both me and my wife, who is also the co-author of the winning series, have completed studies unrelated to photography. However, photography has interested us since childhood. My father taught me photography. It was his hobby. Later, I took photos for magazines and newspapers and worked as a photojournalist. As a private pilot, I took aerial photos long before drones were invented. In 2010, my wife decided to quit her job as a design engineer and project manager at a leading electric company and join my photography business. It gave us complete freedom and independence in our lives and work. We started traveling and photographing together.

Q: What drove you to submit your work to the IPA competition and your thoughts on how winning this competition impacted your artistic journey?
We were always very busy with our photographic work and traveling. There was not much time for anything else. Only during the Covid pandemic, when it was impossible to travel, we finally found time to participate in IPA 2021, TIFA 2021, PX3 2022. We achieved Silver, Bronze and two Honorable Mentions. This encouraged us.

This year is a real bomb! First place, Category Winner, and the title of Nature Photographer of the Year 2023!

It is difficult to evaluate our own photos, their artistic level.

Therefore, such official and objective assessments are extremely important for our development. They give us confirmation that we are going in the right direction, that our photographic taste is shared by the jury. In practice, it increases the reputation of the photographer and acts as a quality mark. This really helps the client decide to choose your work. Such successes can also help open some new doors.

Q: Could you describe any challenges you faced while capturing this moment (winning image/s)? 
As usual in photography, the right moment is decisive. In this case, this moment lasted about a day. The rest of the snow created additional, beautiful white patterns on ice. They looked like outlines of powdered sugar, contrasting with dark star shapes, which in themselves are quite a rare phenomenon. This one day was decisive. Previously, the ice was completely covered with snow, nothing interesting. The day after the photos were taken, the white patterns were no longer there. After a few days, the ice completely disappeared from the lake. That day, the weather was windy, and the light conditions were changeable. We often had to wait. To make things more difficult, everything was visible only from above. We had to do a lot of drone flights these days, taking a lot of photos. It was cold, the fingers in the gloves were numb on the sticks of the drone controller.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important factors in creating great images? 
I think it is a combination of perceptivity, visual sensitivity and aesthetic sense. And also, something like your general aesthetic experience, based on images, paintings, photographs in various styles and techniques, visually outstanding films, that you have seen in your life, can be of great importance.

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of photography?
I guess the hardest thing is to make something really original, and at the same time authentic. In times when everything has already been photographed, it is increasingly difficult to make something new, fresh, something we have not seen before, or at least in a new, innovative way.

Q: What motivates and drives your photography?
It is still the same fun to hunt for visual treasures! It’s the pleasure of creating. It is some indescribable drug, it is the content and the meaning of life, our most important field of activity, our greatest freedom.

Q: What’s next for you in your career as a photographer?
This will, among others, be in cooperation with a new online art gallery.

We will continue to search for (not only aerial) abstracts. We have many wonderful places to photograph on our list. There are also some new challenges and a lot of work waiting for us. And of course, in the coming days, we are flying to New York for the award ceremony, the opening of the exhibition of winning works, the Lucie gala in Carnegie Hall, and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of IPA!