Around the world through the lens | Daily News

Around the world through the lens

The awards and medals she has won
The awards and medals she has won

There are those who click pictures while travelling and then there are those shutterbugs who travel to click the sights. Sudara Sansali De Silva is one of those keen photographers who thinks nothing about spending whatever free time she can grab to venture far and wide in search of the next best shot.

This old girl of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, has a handful of accolades for her flair to freeze nature’s wonders into images. Be it wildlife, landscapes, portraits, macro, street, candid, travel or still life, Sansali has snapped many enthralling images, exploring her talent behind the lens.

Photography is a life-long skill. Anyone can take a photo, but only a photographer can help you relive the excitement of the moment in which it was captured.

“A photograph is a drawing made from light. It’s amazing how we can use our eye and light to create forever lasting moments. Seeing the world in a different angle and capturing its unseen beauty drew me to this field. Photography paved way for me to discover new things and share them with others,” the budding young shutterbug explained.

She notes that the self-satisfaction she gains from her work inspires her. Being accepted and winning awards in global competitions by competing against photographers of all ages from different countries across the world motivates her to dream more, do more and to become more at each attempt.

Her journey with the camera began in 2013 when they were encouraged to submit photographs for a competition organized by their school. Sansali won third place at the event. Motivated by this, she began to seek more knowledge about the subject by reading photography related magazines. She began training under Harsha Maduranga Jayasekara and Prasadini Athapattu at the Photographic Art Society of Visakha Vidyalaya. After completing her schooling, she followed courses at Fotostation Academy.

The first national award she won was making it to the top 10 nominees at the first Canon Photo Marathon in 2016. The event has been dubbed as Sri Lanka’s biggest on-the-spot photo contest where participants can create photographic masterpieces in line with assigned themes under time pressure.

She clinched her first international win by bagging the FIAP ribbon at the 31st International Youth Photographic Competition held in Luxembourg in 2018. Later she won a FIAP Ribbon from England (2019), the FPF Best Young Photographer Prize from France (2020), a Best Youth Medal from German International Photo Cup (2019), a Best Youth Medal (2020) and two Best Youth Honourable mentions (2019, 2020) from Cross Continental Circuit held in Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, a medal to the Best Author of the Salon, under 21 years old (2019), a Chairman’s Diploma(2019) from Spain, and an Excellence Award (2020) at Silk Road Youth photo contest from China.

She considers winning a Merit Award at the State Festival of Photography organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs together with the State Advisory Council for Photography in 2018 and 2020, the first place at the 43rd Annual Competition and Exhibition of Photography by National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka in 2019, the first place at the all island short video competition in 2017, and the third place at Shraddha Seya Photography Competition in 2018 as some of the significant milestones in her photographic career.

Asked which award she takes most pride in and Sansali says that the Artist FIAP (AFIAP) distinction is her most treasured win.

“I am the youngest Sri Lankan to receive the AFIAP which is awarded by the International Federation of Photographic Art. The “Artist FIAP” (AFIAP) is an artistic distinction that is awarded to photographic artistes whose artistic qualities, technique and production of work have been acknowledged through the participation in international salons under FIAP Patronage. I have received more than 100+ acceptances at international photographic exhibitions held in 22 different countries under the patronage of FIAP (International Federation of Photographic Art), PSA (Photographic Society of America), and GPU(Global Photographic Union)so far. These countries include USA, England, Germany, France, Spain, China, Russia, Sri Lanka, Luxembourg, Oman, Iran, India, Nepal, Slovenia, Romania, South Africa, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Bangladesh, Georgia and Turkey,” she elaborated.

She says that a person should be creative and determined not to give up to excel in this field.

“At times you might feel like you’ve missed the perfect shot, but you should strive to find an even better version of the picture. A person needs to be patient and keep on capturing new frames. He or she should vie to discover new techniques. Do not confine yourself to the traditional frame.

Think creatively and explore new ways to present your finding,” she advised.

The biggest challenge that shutterbugs encounter is in capturing the right moment at the right time. This requires a lot of practice and patience.

“You need to be prepared to press the shutter button as soon as you see the frame from your eye. Even a difference of a millisecond can produce a totally different photograph than the one you expected. If I am interested in a photo taken by another person, I search for the background story of the photograph and the name of the photographer. I also refer to catalogues of international and local exhibitions,” she expressed.

Tough she captures all kinds of images, Sansali enjoys wildlife photography most. However, she stresses that it is time consuming and demands a lot of patience. Though the favourite picture in her collection changes from time to time, Sansali notes that she has a fondness for a picture she had taken at the school she had taught during her AIESEC global volunteering project in Thailand, in 2020.

“The photograph is titled “Happiness”. I like it because it expresses the emotions of children. Their faces tell it all!” she said.

Sansali’s father, Anura De Silva, is an accountant. Her mother, Gayanee De Silva, is a homemaker. Her brother, Anupa De Silva, is studying at Royal College.

Another feather in Sansali’s cap is winning the island second rank in the Commerce stream in the GCE A\L 2019 examination. She had been a Senior Prefect, a Junior Prefect, the Chief Coordinator of the Photographic Art Society, a Minister of the Student Parliament and an environment pioneer. She had been selected to enter Sri Jayewardenepura University where she hopes to pursue Management and IT while continuing photography as a hobby.“Follow your passion and love the things you do with all your heart. Always focus not on the result but on being the best version of yourself every day.

This will ultimately lead you to achieve what you dream of. Dreams will not become a reality without hard work. Follow your dreams, work hard to achieve them and you will get what you deserve,” she opined.