Situations which lead people to becoming professional photographers are many and varied. Few, however, are as fascinating as the route taken by internationally recognized wildlife and travel photographer Michael Poliza, who started his working career as a popular young German television actor who in a later incarnation became an extremely successful businessman in the field of computer technology. Then in his early 30s, he says found himself with both the desire and the opportunity to make a career move that would actually make him happy. I spoke with him recently about his journey on land, sea and through the air to photograph some of the most remote and beautiful scenes imaginable.
An interest in photography Poliza had as a child was encouraged by taking a photography class in college during years as an exchange student in the United States, but this was his only formal photographic education.
“I had no intention to become a photographer,” he said, and the idea had not occurred to him until he undertook what most would consider a dream project at the turn of the century. He sold his business and bought a motor yacht. A group of journalists joined him in his Millennium Project, traveling for three years to the most remote corners of the world and reporting their daily activities, which included some scientific research, in an online blog with the German Stern magazine (http://www.stern.de/).
What followed this adventure was time living in Cape Town, South Africa, and involving himself in safaris into the bush. And he began to make photographs−serious photographs.