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Ain, Tsway, Police: Interview With Travel Photographer Michael Police
Ain, Tsway, Police: Interview With Travel Photographer Michael Police

Video: Ain, Tsway, Police: Interview With Travel Photographer Michael Police

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Video: Photographer Interview: Michael Foyle 2023, February
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Michael Politsa has two passions in his life: photography and travel. From their symbiosis, the third was born - shooting in African hot spots, which in the track record of a charming German is so much that is enough for a hundred books. Actually, it all started with the book - the first and most successful in his almost 20-year career as a photographer. The first album Africa, released by teNeues, to the great surprise of the author, received a brilliant review in the New York Times and became the number one coffee table book in the USA and Germany. The policeman seriously thought that it was time to turn his hobby into a profession: today Michael is the star of travel photography, the author of almost a dozen bestsellers and the owner of his own agency specializing in organizing photo tours.

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Album cover "Africa", Michael Politsa

Was the idea of ​​taking up photography a sudden insight or a deliberate decision that you've been carrying out for years?

To be honest, I never thought about living my life without letting go of my camera. In my youth I acted in films and for the first money I earned in this way I bought myself a Canon A-1, which was my favorite toy for a long time. Then I got bored with the games, I created my own IT company, focused on business and became the youngest millionaire in Germany. After the dot-com crash and the bankruptcy of hundreds of IT companies spawned by Silicon Valley's "information economy", there was nothing to lose. The rest of the money I invested in a boat called Starship and sailed around the world - away from the harsh reality. It was not just a round-the-world tour: the members of the expedition had to go to places that neither tourists nor even tour operators had heard of. So the camera fell into my hands againand for three years - this is how much time we spent on the voyage - a ton of personnel has accumulated. Am I talking too much?

No, no, what are you

So: then I sold the Starship boat to Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman and settled in Cape Town, where I met Colin Bell, one of the founders of Wilderness Safaris, the world's largest ecotourism company. We immediately became friends, and Colin invited me to ride on his lodges and shoot in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia. The careless voyage lasted two years and led to my total bankruptcy: when I returned to Cape Town, I realized that urgent action was needed. And then I suddenly remembered that I knew the publisher teNeues. “Okay, bring the pictures,” he said without much enthusiasm, since the teNeues portfolio then did not have any books about travel, nor was there any interest in them. When I showed the photographs and announced my intention to contact Taschen, he forbade me to get up, and we instantly signed a contract. Fuh, I hopeI answered your question, how it all started.

Paddock House Lodge at Segera Retreat, Kenya. Photographer: David Crookes.

Is it true that you once spent eight days in the air, traveling from Hamburg to Cape Town by helicopter?

Yes, it was a serious challenge! This is how my other book, Eyes Over Africa, appeared, which included photographs taken from the air. I hadn’t used drones for filming yet, and the idea of ​​a helicopter that belonged to a friend of mine seemed very interesting. When you look at everything from above, familiar outlines form into bizarre patterns, unexpected images appear.

Why do you think your books have become so successful?

Probably because everyone can release the shutter, but only a few do it at the right moment in a split second. For me, travel photography is not so much about the static beauty of a place as about elusive beauty. And about the fact that the modern visual language is changing, becoming less straightforward.

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Lodge at Linkwasha Camp, Zimbabwe. Photographer: Dana Allen.

Can I organize a trip to Africa on my own?

This is a big risk. And it’s not so much about safety (although it’s also about it), but about banal comfort, logistics and the fact that you need to clearly know what and where to fly for. This is not a circus where the show with animals starts on schedule. You can come and not see absolutely nothing simply because you are in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Take, for example, the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania: it is very important to get there during the migration of animals, otherwise the experience will be limited to exploring the interiors of the lodge. When I was returning from my endless African trips, my friends and acquaintances constantly attacked me with requests to surrender their secret addresses. I willingly shared, and then they came disappointed and said that in most of the places where I managed to go on a photo hunt, the way for ordinary tourists is closed.To avoid this, it is better to immediately suppress the ambitions of the discoverer.

Lodge at Mombo Camp, Botswana. Photographer: Dana Allen.

Where would you advise those who have never been to Africa to go? Where to start?

From South Africa. First, spend a couple of days in Cape Town. Of course, you will not be met by the Africa that you can see in my books, but there are excellent restaurants, beaches, and in general the atmosphere is pleasant, relaxed. Then go to the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve - this is a kind of soft version of the safari. “Soft” is not because there are fewer impressions - there will be enough of them, since the “big five” (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard) live there, but because sometimes twenty jeeps circle around one lion. There is an established infrastructure, a large flow of tourists - and this, in fact, also has its advantages. At least for the first time.

What exactly shouldn't you expect from your trip?

Black caviar, champagne baths and carefully whipped featherbeds. Just kidding. However, according to my own observations, it is precisely those who are tired of marble suites with gilded columns that go to Africa. They want to get out of their comfort zone, they want stunning experiences. And yes, such an experience costs no less than the above-mentioned suites, but you always understand what you are paying several tens, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars for. Not because hoteliers once decided to bring expensive furniture and works of art to your room, but for your own memories, which you will keep as a family treasure.

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Serra Cafema Guest Lodge, Namibia. Photographer: Dana Allen.

What camera and how many lenses do you usually take with you on safari?

I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and carry seven lenses with me. But it's hard work to carry so much equipment! Amateurs can limit themselves to one TV set.

Are there still African countries on the map that you haven't been to?

Sure! I have long dreamed of Mali and Sudan. I think I will be able to bring a couple of dozen nice shots from there for the next exhibition.

Speaking of the exhibition: what would you personally like to convey to visitors? With what thoughts should they leave the CHA?

It seems to me that for some it may be a discovery that Africa generally exists as a direction. Just kidding. But seriously, to share what I and other photographers managed to see during our adventures is already a great happiness. You know, when my first book came out, I got a lot of letters from strangers. Some are scattered in compliments, others ask for advice, but there are still others - those who, after flipping a few hundred pages, simply silently begin to pack their suitcase. So: I hope there will be even more third parties in the near future.

"Call of Africa", May 17-29, Central House of Artists

www.tourboss.ru

www.wilderness-safaris.com

Interview prepared by: Anna Vavilova

Photo from the album "Africa", Michael Politsa

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Photo from the album "Africa", Michael Politsa

Photo from the album "Africa", Michael Politsa

  • Art
  • Exhibition

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