You might know Samir Benelwarda from his breath-taking Instagram account under the alias Samir Sparks. This 23 years old student from Thun, Switzerland, has been passionate about photography since his childhood and sees his art as a great way to show people the beauty of Swiss landscapes, way off the beaten tracks. Nannybag was lucky enough to discuss art and travels with this promising photographer!

Samir was introduced to photography as a child and has never let go ever since.

What got you into photography? 

As far as I can remember, I always liked photography, even as a child. I remember that my eye was already attracted to beautiful photographs. Later on, several people in my life were into photography, and it made me want to try it out. However, I felt early on the need to develop my own thing.  

What do you like the most about this art?

I love being able to let my creativity roam free. In my opinion, there is no wrong or right photo: everything happens in the eye of the beholder. That’s what makes it such a great platform of expression.  

How would you define your artistic style?

Tough question! I think one thing all my photos have in common is a dreamy touch. I photograph different landscapes, but people on social media often comment on this aspect of my work. 

Heuberg, Kandertal is one of the many dreamy sceneries captured by Samir.

The choice will probably be complicated given the wonders that you’ve had the chance to witness…but what is the most memorable place you ever photographed? 

An experience from last year comes to mind. I was in Fromberghorn, a beautiful non-touristic spot in the Swiss Alps, and everything about the moment was perfect: I caught great light and a beautiful sunset. Moments like these make you feel lucky because the weather can change very fast, especially in the mountains.

I like displaying elements of nature that are off the beaten track in my work. In the end, I get to provide people with a different perception of Switzerland.

When you’re traveling, what makes you want to photograph a place?

The lightning mood plays an important role, and I love when I happen to have a special connection with the place. I love putting my vision of it out in the world. I also like displaying elements of nature that are off the beaten track in my work. In the end, I get to provide people with a different perception of Switzerland. 

Diemtigtal valley unveils another mysterious yet beautiful aspect of the Swiss Alps.

What do you miss the most about traveling, and how do you cope with the current situation?

Honestly, I feel like I haven’t had time to feel frustrated over that because even though I have been unable to travel abroad, I still explored so much of the Swiss countryside. Trains, buses, and hikes are a great way to witness a wide variety of sceneries. It almost feels like traveling in different countries! In a way, I think photographing helps a lot. It comes with a mindset that reminds me that I can not change reality, and I have to accept it and make the most of it. 

What is your funniest traveling misadventure? 

I went hiking with a friend in Engadin, in eastern Switzerland, and we had to walk through a swamp. The thing is, one of my hiking shoes got stuck in there. We tried our best to pull it out, and by the time we did, my shoe was ruined. So I had to finish the hike with one barefoot. Lucky for me, it was spring!

What are the top 3 places that you dream of photographing and why?

#1 Banff, Canada, because I’ve always been fascinated by the landscapes there. 

#2 Patagonia, South America. The colors seem breath-taking: a friend of mine went there and showed me the most intense mountain pictures I’ve ever seen.

 #3 A tie between Greenland and Antarctica, because of how different they are from what I’m used to photographing. I would love to capture that with my camera!