Lately, not least because of my recent trips, I read several articles about travel photography and whether or not there is a genre like that at all. One of my favourite photographers and teachers about travel and wildlife photography, David Du Chemin, states that there is not such a thing as travel photography. There is just photography of places, maybe different places. But in order to shoot really good pictures of a place you have to stay there quite a while, do some scouting, make the people get used to you, go deeper into the local habits etc. He recommends that you stay at least one week at the same place. At the same time, if you go to a country for the first time you usually want to see different places. That means you have to make a choice from the very beginning if you are a tourist who tours or a photographer who stays at a place. I like this definition and it makes me rethink some of the trips.
So before travelling in India I was thinking about the pictures which should come out of it. There was one clear aim – another blog article about travelling in India for the travel and photography blog called “Lichter der Welt”. If you have not read my article or seen the pictures, take a look here.
Having this article in mind, I tried to take interesting and beautiful, but rather classical pictures of the different regions I went to. The only surprise were the selfiemania and the portraits I made to handle the multiple requests for selfies with me (see my last blog).
Apart from that, I knew I was not going to stay long enough in one place to really get into it, to dig deeper, make new friends and take very special pictures. I felt I was taking only glimpses of India here and there, more than snapshots, but rather peeping through a hole in the wall into a different colourful new world. Nevertheless, eventually I put together a series I called kaleidoscope which reflects the many impressions I had just passing by, passing through, struck by colour, beliefs, movement and history. While the pictures do not say anything about the concrete location, I hope they convey the mood of a place or moment. To me this collection is about my first experience in India. It is not a planned project or anything, but something personal that reminds me of the different places we went to beside the postcard-like shots.
So, is there a genre like travel photography? Probably not. Here I do agree with DuChemin. You can take interesting pictures at home, make a series about a theme without concrete relation to a special place. That means it can be anywhere, the place is not important, it is the theme, the idea. So on my next trip I will think more about the feelings a place evokes rather than showing how it looks like.
Have a safe trip,