Australian photographer William Patino‘s short time in the photography world has made a big impact. The young artist, who currently resides in Wollongong, Australia, began to pursue photography in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. After working as a tradesman for over 8 years, the shift in careers was drastic, yet Patino hit the ground running and has managed to build a name for himself in the industry, working for various clients including Tourism Australia, Flight Centre, and Apple.
Recently, Patino took a 10-day journey to explore Iceland, and was blown away by the rugged beauty of the country’s natural landscape. The trip refreshed the young artist, as he wandered the country and captured some stunning images of the awe-inspiring natural beauty of our earth. Given it’s size, Iceland had a fairly low density of people, with a population of just over 300,000. Known for it’s dramatic volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs, the country has an untouched and raw quality that Patino’s landscape shots accurately portray.
We had the opportunity ask Patino some questions about his epic trip to Iceland, and his photographic career in general. Scroll down to read that exclusive interview and see more stunning, wild scenery.
Was your journey to Iceland a professional excursion or more for pleasure?
Ever since picking up a camera in 2012 I’ve been exposed to an abundance of incredible Iceland images. It has always been high on my list of places to visit and photograph but mainly just to witness and experience such unique beauty with my own eyes. So this trip was primarily for pleasure but I now have photography workshops planned there for the future.
Was there a part of the country you felt particularly inspired by, or drawn to?
Honestly the whole country drew me in and inspired me in so many different ways, beyond what I expected. The amazing thing about Iceland is that you can drive for literally 10 minutes and the scenery changes completely. I must say I particularly enjoyed the northern regions as they felt much more isolated and the landscapes were so vast and untouched.
Given the raw and natural beauty of the land, how do you feel about the promotion of tourism in Iceland?
The only promotion I have ever seen of Iceland is from other photographers on social media. So I’m not sure if Iceland’s Tourism board is pushing to increase visitors to the country or not. At least in Australia there is no advertising. Like any wilderness or natural area, the increase of human presence is going to make some kind of impact. There were a few areas in Iceland where I didn’t even get out of the car because a few bus loads of tourists were swarming the place. It’s obviously a shame when this happens but it’d be hypocritical of me to complain as I am a tourist just as much as everyone else. I really feel for the locals at the end of the day and I hope everyone that visits treats the land with care and respect and the government puts measures in place to protect wilderness areas from commercialism.
Composition, content, and form are all vital elements of your landscape portraits, but beyond the aesthetic level, are there any emotions, themes, or stories that you’re expressing through your images, whether to your audience or just to yourself?
Whether a conscious decision or not, my work is generally driven by some emotion and experience. Predominantly, I want people to have an insight into how I felt when capturing the image and what it was like being there in that moment. This is usually an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude for the natural world and the forces and energy within nature. I will occasionally include a person in my work to help achieve this or just let nature and light do all the work. I’ve often visited locations several times over just waiting for everything to align in order to get the result I was after.
Speaking of audience, how has having an influx of fans and followers over the past few years affected the way you create and share your artwork?
Well, I discovered a love of photography through Instagram. So since the beginning I have always enjoyed being able to share my work and connect with others. Aside from working on commercial shoots, I have always captured images for myself and created the type of work that means something to me. It’s common for people to shoot whatever it takes in order to please their social media followers but I don’t think I could maintain that. I am generally aiming to capture moments in time that inspire me, it’s really a personal expression so I’m really grateful that it resonates with some people.
What does your photography mean to you?
Although I am now able to live off doing what I love, photography is my outlet. During my time with my camera, however brief it is, I’m able to switch off from the rest of the world. It’s really just me and my subject and during that time it’s almost like a state of meditation. Photography has helped draw me out of some dark times and on a mental, physical and spiritual level it has helped me become a better person. For better or for worse I feel compelled to take photos. It means everything to me.
Do you have any new projects or countries that you’re excited to pursue and explore in the near future?
I’m really blessed to have several trips next year including New Zealand, Canada, and Iceland. My main business is running photography tours and workshops so I am just always excited to share these beautiful places with like-minded people. There’s an innumerable amount of places in the world that I’d love to shoot but I try not look too far ahead. I’m just trying to take one day at a time and be thankful for right here right now.
Any last minute thoughts?
Thanks for the opportunity to have this interview and a big thanks to my wife for all her support. I also want to encourage people to take the time to get outdoors and spend some quiet moments in nature. There’s nothing like it.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by William Patino