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Written by Ken Haggerty | 19 June 2014

A remarkable combination of humility and a passion for constant change is what fuels Julio Lucas’ life. Despite being awarded “Photographer of the Year” at the prestigious 2014 iPhone Photography Award (IPPAwards), Lucas, who originally hails from Puerto Rico and now lives in Lakewood Ranch, refuses to rest on his laurels.

“At first I didn’t realize how important the competition is to so many people,” he says, “but after seeing all the pictures that were submitted, I soon realized I had been part of a wonderfully talented, creative event.”

“I really don’t consider myself a photographer,” the 32-year-old Ringling College of Art graduate admits. “I simply submitted my picture and forgot about it.”

The competition, which dates back to 2007 – the year of the iPhone’s debut – invites artists to submit images captured on their iPhone, iPod, or iPad. It attracts thousands of artists from around the world, and the results are mesmerizing – as Lucas discovered when a simple e-mail eventually notified him of his success.

Lucas is rarely without his iPhone (“I’ve used it when I was scuba diving”), and considers its camera to be a blessing to those who understand how to manipulate its potential. Even for those for who reach the limit of their skill set with the beloved selfie.

“What iPhones allow you to do is to capture moments in time that you couldn’t necessarily capture with bigger, bulkier cameras,” he says. “It’s invasive, but in a good way. You can be in a public place and see an amazing moment – a beautiful setting that can be captured discreetly.”

Lucas’ winning entry, taken at the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina, reflects his love of landscape photography.

“You never know what you’re going to discover in the landscape,” he says. “Everything is an adventure.”

Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Lucas has spent the miles he has traveled honing his skills and his photographic philosophy.

“Every photo has a story,” he explains. “But many people are never interested in that story. They just say, ‘Oh, great photo. Where’d you take it?’ They never ask, ‘How did you get to that place?’”

“I’m an admirer of landscape photography more than portrait photography because landscape photographers will suffer to capture a perfect image. They’ll camp out for days if necessary. That sense of adventure is more important to me than being stuck in a studio.”

Currently working for Tidewell Hospice, as its Director for New Media Communications, Lucas admits he’s somewhat of a workaholic.

“I started up my own consultancy business, which became successful, but it grew to the point where I wasn’t sleeping anymore – a big night would be five hours. So, over the last year, I’ve returned to illustration, and it has been very relaxing.”

And although Lucas considers illustration as his first love, his near-obsessive desire to capture the world about him through photography remains unabated.

“Winning the IPPAward has reignited a passion within me for photography that has lain dormant for too long. But I’m not necessarily looking for awards; I don’t like to brag about what I’ve achieved. I just want to feel confident showing people my work.”

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