Forests give me inspiration for my work and lots of good stories

This January, our photo in the spotlight is ‘The Man and the Forest’, the winning image of the 2021 PEFC Photo Contest. In our interview, photographer Vitalii Popkov told us the story behind his stunning photo.

Forests give me inspiration for my work and lots of good stories

5 January 2022 Forests in photos

In 2021, we held our ‘Experience Forests, Experience PEFC’ photo contest for the fifth time. Taking place in eleven countries, we received 5000 fantastic forest photos from around the world.

Though it was not easy, we managed to choose our top 12 images, all of which can be seen here. For every month of 2022, we will be showcasing one of these photos, and hearing from the photographer that took it.

We start the series with the winner of the photo contest – our 2021 PEFC Photo of the Year: ‘The Man and the Forest’, taken by Vitalii Popkov in Zamagora Verkhovyna, Ukraine. 

In the interview, Vitalii told us more about his photo, the story behind it, and how the forest inspires him.

How do you feel about forests, both professionally and personally?

I live in the steppe of Ukraine, an area with very few forests. The summers are hot with little rain. When the summer climate becomes unbearable for me, I go to the Carpathian Mountains.

The ancient Carpathian forests give me a pleasant coolness and energize me, I feel it. As a photographer, I get a lot of creativity in the woods.

How did the forest inspire you to take your winning photo?

Forests give me strong inspiration for my work and have given me lots of good stories. 

Being fascinated by the summer forest, I started visiting forests at other times of the year. On one of my winter visits to the Carpathians, I saw the scene in my photo ‘The Man and the Forest’. The night before there was a strong storm that had knocked down many trees. Local residents take such wood to heat their homes.

What do you think about the work that an organization such as PEFC does to care for forests?

In the Carpathians, where I took my photo, unfortunately, there are many cases of barbaric attitudes towards forests.

I think humanity should take a more responsible attitude to the issue of forest conservation. To achieve this, I think organizations such as PEFC are essential.

To learn more about the winning photo from a photography and forestry point of view, watch the winner announcement on Facebook Live.

About the contest

In 2021, we held our "Experience Forests, Experience PEFC" photo contest for the fourth time. Taking place in eleven countries, we received 5000 stunning photos, that take us to the wonderful world of forests. Have a look at the top 12 images here.


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