Laila Villebeck

Laila Villebeck is the 2018 RISE International Photography Awards, Photographer of the Year.

RISE Photographer of the Year, 2018Her image of 7 families is not only creative, and an emotional story, it has also inspired photographers across the globe.  Read on to see her thoughts on inspiration and entering awards.

Who or What Inspires you?
I find my inspiration everywhere. Music, lyrics, movies, my kids, my everyday life, politics, my own worries for the future, the news, other photographers, nature, my clients, science…. Many ideas I get are too overwhelming to put in one single image, others can be simplified and/or tweeked to create an image with the specific message I would like to put in that particular image.

What is your “Why” for entering awards?
At first when I started entering competitions I just wanted to see “where I stand”, if my work was at a professional standard or what I needed to work on to get better. In the beginning I entered images that I had created for my clients. And I was excited to get awards for my work. I was also amazed when I saw the winning images and did understand how important it was to combine both technical skills and storytelling to score really high. So now I enter competitions to grow as a photographer, to constantly become a better photographer, to have a reason to experiment with lights, colors, and most of all to be better at making interesting images. To be able to convey a story that catches the viewer and makes him or her want to explore my photo further. My ultimate goal is to be able to put a piece of poetry in my images 🙂

Share with us your Favourite Award Image

Let us know why its your favourite and what it is that makes you want to create images like this?
It hurts me so much when I hear stories where someone has been treated really bad just because of how they look or where they come from. I can’t believe that we still, in 2018/19 are so restricted in our thoughts and minds. I believe in love. I believe in understanding. I belive that we are all born different, but we all have the same worth. I believe that every child should get a chance to develop their best skills whether it’s in mathematics, physics, writing, drawing, running, swimming, music, or anything else. No skill is better than the other. No skin tone is better. No gender or non-gender is better. We should celebrate our differences, take advantage of them and just make this world a better place <3

family, RISE photo awards, award winnerWhat is the biggest lesson you have had from entering awards?
My biggest lesson from entering awards must be that every person views an image differently. I can’t make everybody love what I do, and as long as I stay true to myself and my own work that’s ok. Then I can always be better at making my story clear to the viewer, but not to obvious. And always listen to the critique and use the critique to improve next time, even if it hurts at first when you get negative critique on an image you love. It is the critique you learn from and that’s really why I put my images in front of the judges in the awards. Learn and grow.

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