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2010 Best EID, German Open

Welcome to the fairy tale world of Magdalena Wasiczek

The International Garden Photographer of the Year explains how she creates magical scenes wherever she goes

'Weaver of light'

Magdalena Wasiczek has received the overall International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) award for the third time, in Competition 15 of the event. Announced in February 2022, the honour caps a career that first began with an IGPOTY award in 2012 – another followed in 2015.

For Wasiczek, the recognition is even more special as she has always tried to avoid the conventions of classical garden photography.

“My problem has always been the fact that I never wanted to take ‘ordinary’ photos of flowers and nature,” she says. “I created my own unreal, fairy tale style. Everyone likes this style very much, but it also created problems in the case of commercial activity because in magazines about gardens they need classic photos.”

Winner IGPOTY 5 UPSIDE DOWND

'Upside down'

Certainly, Wasiczek can produce those images when needed, but it is finding the magical twist in everyday nature that brings her the most joy.

“Photography has raised my awareness of the beauty of nature,” she says. “I’ve learned to see things that are invisible and to enjoy a million small details to which I previously did not pay attention.”

Those small details can be everything from jewelled drops of dew hanging precariously on blades of grass, tiny beetles and ladybugs conquering mushrooms and flowers – the Everests of their landscapes – or glowing spiderwebs caught in the early morning light. Recognisable creatures and plants are transformed into fantastical beasts through the prism of Wasiczek’s lens.

7Th AC FOTO German PSA Best Of Show Gold Medal Best Entrant

'The ballerinas'

“It is not my priority to show the world exactly the way it is,” she says. “There are many other photographers who do that better than I can. I hope that looking at my pictures for a while wakes up the child inside of my audience, because the world in the eyes of children is always more colourful, fascinating, mysterious and full of surprises.”

So, how does she capture this magical quality?

“Everything you see in each of my photos is one shot – it’s not the magic of Photoshop – taken in the right place and time with properly selected EW optics, using additives such as spray water. What makes the photos magical are mainly the light and optics.

“I also want my photos to have a story in them, to be like illustrations for fairy tales,” Wasiczek adds. “This has always distinguished me in the world of macro photography, which, especially those 16 years ago when I started my adventure with photography, was completely different. Back then, macro photography was an encyclopaedic documentation of the natural world. Its task was to show what a given insect or plant looks like in close-up and down to the smallest detail.

Autumnlight

'Full moon'

“There was also no mention of bokeh in macro photos – it was considered a mistake. Everyone wanted the background to be extremely smooth and the photographed object very sharp. I turned it all upside down.”

As for the International Garden Photographer of the Year awards, well, Wasiczek says that in some ways they have evolved alongside her.

“When I look at the photos on the competition pages and in the albums that are published after each edition, I can see that over the years there has been a big revolution. My fairy tale style has also been taken over by other photographers.

“In most cases, I am glad my view of the world has caught on. On the other hand, I cannot accept it when someone tries to take shortcuts and puts such photos together in Photoshop from various, often absurd, incompatible elements, and then says that he encountered such a scene in the forest while going for a walk with his dog. This is unfair play.

White Poppy

'Just poppies'

“I don't mind digital art. But let’s be honest about it and no longer call such manipulated photos nature photos, but put them in the appropriate drawer with the inscription, digital art.

“When I look at the photos on the competition pages and in the albums that are published after each edition, I can see that over the years there has been a big revolution. My fairy tale style has also been taken over by other photographers.

“In most cases, I am glad my view of the world has caught on. On the other hand, I cannot accept it when someone tries to take shortcuts and puts such photos together in Photoshop from various, often absurd, incompatible elements, and then says that he encountered such a scene in the forest while going for a walk with his dog. This is unfair play.

“I don't mind digital art. But let’s be honest about it and no longer call such manipulated photos nature photos, but put them in the appropriate drawer with the inscription, digital art.

Winner IGPOTY8 Magdalena Wasiczek The Ballerinas

'Autumn light'

All images by Magdalena Wasiczek

See more highlights from International Garden Competition of the Year Competition 15 in the March/April 2022 issue of the RPS Journal.

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