10 Years, 10 Questions – 2003 Peter Adams, UK

10 Years, 10 Questions – 2003 Peter Adams, UK

In the second of our interviews with winners from the past 10 years of Travel Photographer of the Year, we go back to where it all began with our first winner, Peter Adams, in 2003….

1) How old were you when you got your first camera?

I was about eight years of age. It was an old box camera and I couldn’t believe I’d been given a ‘real’ camera!

Peter Adams2) Who or what inspired you to become a photographer and why travel photography?

I was planning my first trip abroad to the USA and a keen photographer (a friend at college) helped me buy an SLR camera to document the trip. He also kindly filled out two sides of A4 with the principles of shutter speeds, apertures etc, something I constantly referred to on my trip. I was always inspired by National Geographic magazine so travel and landscape had to be my focus.
3) What was the best photography or travel advice you were ever given?

Being self-taught, I learned by reading books and magazines but I’d say follow your passions and interests and don’t get swamped down by what camera you are using or technical matters. 

4) Photography or Travel which comes first and what does it mean to you? 

Photography has given me the motivation to explore and investigate. This has led me into immensely rewarding situations that otherwise I would have never experienced.

Girls of Long Horn Miao tribe in China dancing. During festivals & special occasions  horns are fixed to the women's real hair, then a highly structured decorative bun of linen, wool and ancestral hair are wrapped in a figure eight around the horn. The hair is then secured to the horn by a white ribbon.
Girls of Long Horn Miao tribe in China dancing. During festivals & special occasions  horns are fixed to the women’s real hair, then a highly structured decorative bun of linen, wool and ancestral hair are wrapped in a figure eight around the horn. The hair is then secured to the horn by a white ribbon.
5) What challenges you most with photography?

The weather usually, patience is the key. After a week of constant rain and near flood conditions in Austria this spring, on the following trip I was trapped in Banff in the Canadian Rockies for four days due to floods and blocked roads. However I always say that there is something to photograph, whatever the conditions – even if in this case it was only the flood waters!

6) What does photography bring to your life?

Essentially I think of myself as quite lazy although I do love the challenges travel photography presents. It gives me purpose, drive, curiosity and sometimes places me in the most magical situations.

7) Whose photographs hang on your walls at home?

In the office I have a few of my own images, those that mean something to me. The rest of the house is taken up with an eclectic mix of art works from my wife’s art prints to Terry Frost screen prints and Chinese Communist Propaganda posters.

8) It’s been 10 years since you won Travel Photographer of the Year. What has the road been like since and how did TPOTY affect it? 

Being the slightly reticent English type I didn’t make the most of my opportunity and only half-heartedly approached one or two people regarding sponsorship. However, it gave my confidence an immense boost and gave real meaning to that much overused term ‘award winning photographer’.

TPOTY winner GMB Akash

One of GMB Akash’s images of people riding trains in Bangladesh

9) No photographer has ever won TPOTY twice. Do you plan on entering the competition again? If not, why not? 

I like to support the competition and stay involved so I did enter last year and it was a boost to be listed amongst the finalists. To be judged by people who are familiar with travel imagery and judge not by name but by image really means something. 

10) Of all the winning images from TPOTY over the years, are there any that stick in your mind?

Many memorable and inspiring pictures, GMB Akash’s pictures of riding the trains in Bangladesh sticks in the mind. 

To find out more about Peter Adams please visit his website www.padamsphoto.com