Gilbert Vancell is a self-taught fine art photographer, specialising in landscape astrophotography. His educational background is in visual communication, mainly graphic design and illustration. Since 2011, he has dedicated more time to photography, focusing on two collections Landscapes of Malta and StarScapes of Malta.
When and how did you get started?
Photography has been a passion since my teens. I read all the books and magazines I could lay my hands on while experimenting with my father’s AE-1. I even remember setting up a darkroom in my parents’ bathroom to process black & white film and prints.
My passion for the outdoors, and my first DSLR made me rediscover photography. Since then, I have constantly been researching and learning different techniques, and fine-tuning my equipment for the ultimate results.
In 2009, I started hiking around Malta and was amazed by the pristine coastline and valleys that I was discovering in my own country. Combining my passion for the outdoors with photography, I want to create awareness and respect for our natural heritage by sharing its magic through my vision.
For me it is not just landscape photography; I believe in giving back by participating in clean-ups an doing voluntary work with local ENGOs, and further supporting them with donations through the sales of fine art prints.
What genre do you consider your work to be?
Landscape & Landscape Astrophotography.
Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A play of light and shadow.
Where was your first exhibition held?
I had a series of pop-up exhibitions around hotels, but I feel the most important was the 2017 Malta Arts Fair at MFCC
Do you have a favourite from among your own artworks? If so, why?
An infinite Bond — The Milky Way over the Azure Window. This is my favourite for various reasons. This was the most challenging panorama so far and following the collapse of this world-famous natural landmark, I am proud to have this unique image of the arch under the infinite night sky. It also carries a sentimental value, as this was captured on the last birthday of my beloved Mum, so this is also my personal tribute to a loving mother, who shaped the person I am today.
What are you working on at the moment?
Landscape photography is my life and ongoing, combining it with hiking adventures, sleeping under the stars and visiting many places near and far.
Which artist’s work are you most inspired by?
The large community of landscape photographers and wanderers around the world, hunting for the perfect light.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I cannot think of anything else I’d rather be.
What is the epitome of happiness for you?
Watching that perfect scene unfolding in front of you! Everything feels so right that it makes me cry with happiness.
What do you love about Malta?
Tiny as it is, the island is jam packed with historical sites. For a nature lover, it still offers a lot to discover and learn about.
What do you hate about Malta?
Malta is losing its character and soul. I feel this whenever I visit other islands of the Mediterranean. Lack of discipline.
Favourite colour and what it means to you?
Ahhh! I have many! But I guess mostly green. I associate this with life, freshness, open meadows and forest.
What is your favourite indulgence?
Travel, Travel, Travel! Discovering and experiencing new places, their people and cultures.
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Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.