Inside this issue
Sigfrido is a biologist and nature photographer living in Southern California; he primarily focuses on showcasing the biological and ecological diversity found in California. He is often found exploring the mountains, deserts, and coastline near his local region and he strives to communicate his passion for nature through his work.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Social media has opened our eyes to a wealth of photographic destinations. All you need to do is rock up in front of one of those Instagram-able landscapes, and your photography will immediately get better, right? Jim Richardson’s book ‘Chased by the Light’ made a big impact on me, but “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.” Sorry Jim, I much prefer Elliott Erwitt’s “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place."… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
I’m a big advocate of photographing your local, so I was delighted to learn that Sigfrido had made a conscious decision not to travel but to concentrate on his home ground of California while improving his photographic technique. Fair enough, it’s a state that is big enough to have plenty of ‘wow’ opportunities, but I really like websites that are personal and relevant and not a resume of workshop destinations. And in Sigfrido’s case, its work that has scored highly in the National Landscape Photography Awards 2022.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what you went on to do?
I’m a Salvadorian American born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I’m a husband to a beautiful and supportive wife and a father to an adorable son with a heart-melting smile. I’ve always been interested in nature, the outdoors, and the pursuit of adventure. I remember being fascinated by the stories my father would tell me (and still tells me to this day) about his adventures as an ornithologist in El Salvador. He has innumerable stories about exploring the cloud forests of El Salvador while studying birds and sometimes bats for the natural history museum. At an early age, my interest in nature further developed by going on camping trips with my family to our local mountains. My parent’s influence, plus my constant viewing of BBC and National Geographic nature documentaries, nurtured an admiration and love for nature.
When I started university, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in science, but I wasn’t sure what area of science to concentrate in. I was fortunate enough to participate in a marine biology semester provided by the California State University system on Catalina Island. During the semester, we spent 3 months living on the island, spending countless hours in the water studying the organisms we found. Through this experience, I realised marine biology checked off many of my interests; it filled my days with adventures through scuba diving, fieldwork, and travel, but most importantly, it fed my curiosity about nature.
I then pursued my master’s in marine biology, working for Dr. Peter Edmunds, a well-renowned physiological ecologist studying coral reefs. During my masters, I had the opportunity to travel to remote tropical islands like Moorea in French Polynesia and St. John in the US Virgin Islands to study the coral reefs. I was particularly interested in the role microhabitats and competition have on coral reef community structure. Now I currently work for the Vantuna Research Group at Occidental College, studying the rocky reefs and kelp forests of Southern California.