The Power of Travelling for your Photography
Greetings from Palermo, on the beautiful island of Sicily. I have just finished running a workshop and now I am shooting and filming. It’s been a great week for me!
Di and I were talking recently about why travel feels so exhilarating to us.
We travel to see the beauty of nature and the ingenuity of people.
We travel to see the majestic buildings, the ancient sites of worship, the beauty of the old.
We travel to see different formations of nature, animals and wildlife.
We travel to see different colours, smell different smells, try different foods, feel the air of a faraway place.
But we also travel to remove ourselves from ourselves. To find other ways to live, and to be away from everything that traps us into who we have become.
To experiment and explore other ways of being – and that is exhilarating.
It brings life, and it’s meaning to us, into focus in way that being at home day after day doesn’t.
I wonder if you like to travel? What does travelling mean to you?
When I travel I have one essential need – and that is to meet local people.
Even though I am not a people-centred photographer, I have more photos of nature, empty streets and sunrises than the humans living in these places.
But it is the people I meet that makes my experience of a new country deeper, more fascinating than anything I could do on my own – by simply bearing witness.
Meeting local people brings to life everything I am seeing. Instead of just seeing history I become part of local culture, living history as it were.
Instead of just eating the local foods, observing local culture, seeing the sights – by meeting people, and becoming involved in the community, I become part of life being lived.
I recently came across the Instagram account @everydayeverywhere. Growing out of the success of @everydayafrica, whose aim has been to break down stereotypes of the continent, tell stories and show those outside of Africa a different collection of images than the ones we just see on the news.
The Everyday Everywhere account curates photos from all over the world of everyday life.
I like that it reflects my experiences of travelling – where I see people living their lives in almost exactly the same way, with similar values, as I have in my country (or what has recently become my many home countries :))
Why is this important?
Because we often form view of countries we don’t know from our media, and they are usually highly selective views about a tiny collection of events.
We start building up ideas in our mind of cities, groups of people, whole countries or continents being dangerous or totally poverty stricken or inhospitable – when in fact the majority of life being lived in that place is just like ours.
We often think – over there – is so much more dangerous than right here at home.
For me – one of the best way to eradicate stereotypes is to travel.
“I have no reason to go, except that I have never been, and knowledge is better than ignorance. What better reason could there be for travelling?” Freya Stark
And if you can’t travel or you just love to explore – thankfully we have fantastic projects like Everyday Everywhere where we can see lives all over the world.
In an age where stereotypes are becoming used politically to alienate and separate – I can’t think of a better way to combat this than be focusing instead on our similarities.
Photography is a powerful tool to share the stories of people – which I write about more in Using the Power of Your Voice in Photography.
And that is why I love to travel, and why I prioritise meeting people and getting involved in local life.
I want to connect and learn so much more about what it is to be human from all these amazing travel experiences I am having.
I want to share that in my photography.
So – I hope you enjoyed those ideas. As always please let us know your thoughts, by commenting below.
Anthony and Diana