The Magical Story That Began After Winning National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Published 9 years ago

Nikola Smernic took a picture of a man playing his piano in Queensland, New Zealand. That was just the beginning of a wondrous story. Back in Croatia, Smernic forgot the photo in the bustle of wedding photography business, but he didn’t forget the music or the magic of the moment. His girlfriend Martina convinced him to send the shot to the National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest. And Smernic won!

Aside from all the fame and accolades, he was contacted by the man in the picture – Mathias Piano Man. He was a Belgian traveler who had stayed in Queensland out of love, and played a refurbished piano. They also received a message from the mother of the girl in the picture, Jemma. Both Jemma and Mathias got framed pictures of photo, and Smernic got signed copies of the four albums that Piano Man had released.

Not only that, Mathias played in Nikola’s wedding when he was visiting Europe! Now that’s a magical international story!

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Nikola Smernic snapped this picture of piano man playing beautiful music outdoors in Queensland, New Zealand


After submitting the image to National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest And Winning, Nikola was contacted by the piano man, a Belgian by the name of Mathias


He also received this other picture of Mathias posing with Jemma, the girl that was also in Nikola’s picture. Her mother took this picture after the girl insisted on listening to the piano play


Nikola (left) sent a framed print to Mathias (right)


Jemma also got one as a memento


In return, Mathias sent all four of his albums to Mathias


Nikola even licensed Mathias’ music for his wedding – fortunately, the Belgian was visiting his family and swung over to play at the ceremony


“There he was – this guy from the photo I took just a year before on completely different part of the world. Back then I didn’t know who he was, what’s his story, who’s his family… and now he was here, with his girlfriend and their daughter, playing this same perfect music at our wedding”


Martynas Klimas

Writes like a mad dervish, rolls to dodge responsibility, might have bitten the Moon once.

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Croatia, friendship, Mathias Piano Man, National Geographic, National Geographic photo contest, national geographic photo contest 2013 winners, New Zealand, Nikola Smernic, photography, travel photography
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