Andy Glogower was engulfed in business as usual at Lazy Days RV—his work home of 20-plus years—when a message came to his phone that temporarily distracted him from the customer he was serving.
“(The message) said, ‘Hey, congratulations, you’re going to Singapore,’ and I told my customer, ‘Hang on just a quick second here…’”
After he collected himself, and finished up with the customer, Glogower (IG: @andyglogower) quickly checked his email and found out he was indeed in the class of a select few.
The Lakeland resident had been selected to represent the United States at the World Photographic Cup—the Olympics of photography—because of his candid, intimate wildlife photography.
Some of the most accomplished photographers from more than 30 countries are gathering in Singapore March 17-18 to see which individuals and countries will be awarded medals in the 10th annual cooperative effort of The Federation of European Photographers (FEP) and Professional Photographers of America (PPA). His photo is just one of eight photos from Team USA participants in the finals, and remarkably, fellow Lakelander Mark Melnick also has one in the natural portraits category.
Glogower, who first got acquainted with photography by shooting his oldest daughter’s dance performances at Harrison School for the Arts nearly 15 years ago, was selected as part of Team USA for a lively shot of two snowy egrets doing battle at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.
That photo, which Glogower titled “Territorial Dispute,” was one of three photos he submitted to the PPA’s 2023 Imaging USA competition that received the highest level of “image excellence” based on how judges rated it on 12 criteria including aspects such as technical excellence, lighting and storytelling. It is also the photo that was one of 10 photos from around the world to be selected as a finalist in the nature/wildlife category. This was the first year Glogower had entered a photo into the competition.
He said he was floored by the honor, especially as he considered the merit of the men and women he is sharing this worldwide stage with.
“I went right to the (World Photographic Cup) website and saw my name listed with these master photographers, and they’ve got the names of the photographers and then they have their credentials after their names; master photographer, master artist, five or six combination of letters after their names, and then there’s my name with no credentials,” he says with a grin.
He admits that he was not a natural on the camera from day one, nor did he start with the best equipment.
“I would take pictures and honestly they would suck,” he recalls with a chuckle. “The bad thing about digital is when you take a picture you know immediately if it sucks.”
He credits a lot of what he learned about wildlife photography to Reiner Munguia, a fellow Lakelander who Glogower went on nature walks with at Circle B Bar Reserve and eventually learned many of the tools of the trade from.
Glogower, whose family moved from New Jersey to Lakeland in 1976, quickly fell in love with shooting the natural world and he invested in equipment that matched that affection.
Glogower currently shoots with a Cannon R3, who his wife, Kelly, refers to as “Cammy” because Andy and his camera have such a tight bond.
“Just getting away from the hectic pace of life and just calming down and just being in God’s creation, everything slows down, everything quiets down and you can just enjoy what’s around because life’s busy,” he says.
“For me, time stops, and then by taking photographs time…forever stops, and you can look back and reflect on that.”
He rarely goes anywhere without his camera, and has a goal of getting at least one memorable shot from each adventure he goes on.
One such moment involves walking along Clearwater Beach with Kelly on the couple’s 25th anniversary—but the photo that sticks out to him isn’t what you would think.
“So we’re walking down the beach and this sunset is developing with this lifeguard stand, and the clouds were forming a formation that mimicked the flow of the roof line of the lifeguard stand. And there’s a man carrying a child next to it, walking down toward the water. And it was just turning out to be a perfect silhouette,” he says. “So I said, honey, I said, I’ve gotta take a photo….I can’t let this moment pass. So she kept on walking and I backtrack, grabbed two or three frames, got the picture, caught back up to her, showed her the picture, and then she forgave me.”
Glogower said his advice to aspiring photographers is twofold: let scenes unfold in front of you and determine what kind of story you want to tell, and spend time analyzing what you don’t like about some of the shots so you can refine your craft in the future.
The World Photographic Cup Award Ceremony will be livestreamed on March 17 at www.worldphotographiccup.org. In 2022, Mexico and USA tied for the overall team gold medal.