Ok, inflammatory title aside, this one’s gonna hurt some of you. I hope it’s the good kind of hurt, like when that girl dumped you in high school but then you fell in love with the wonderful woman who’s now your wife and the mother of your children. Oh, still not over that one, huh? Ok, make up your own metaphor, or sing Rod Stewart’s “Hurts so Good” – anything to get you in the mood to read this with a positive outlook.
A while back I wrote an article about the death of travel photography. It got taken the wrong way by the people that take things the wrong way. Mutinies were staged, theses were nailed to doors. It nearly got ugly. And the point got missed. So. Will people continue to travel with camera? Yes. Will some of them get paid well to do so? Yes. Will people always love lolcats? Unlikely, and way off topic. Try to focus.
As a descriptor, telling people I am -in part- a travel photographer is helpful. But at the same time is there really such a genre? If I live in Venice and shoot the gondolas are those images “travel photographs” if I didn’t do a lick of travelling?
The point is the creation of compelling images that capture how you think and feel about a place, a people, and a culture – not whether you got on a plane to do it or not.
Why am i still going on about this instead of writing about something else or speculating about the Canon 5D MkII? Because the sooner we change our perspective, and with it the words we use, the sooner we’ll start putting greater energy into our craft and less of it into which lens is “best for travel photography.”
Yes, traveling with gear presents certain challenges and I can geek-out with the best of you. But it’s high-time we chased our vision more passionately than we chase our airmiles.
Travel Photography is Dead. Long Live Travel Photography the vision to create extraordinary images of this planet and her people, whether you need a plane, train, or bicycle to get to your location.
As for the arguments, I suspect when we immediately jump to defend a cause it reveals something about which we’re deeply passionate. It should also be an opportunity to make sure we’re defending the right thing. So if, like me when I first read someone ask if travel photography was dead, your first reaction is “the hell it is!” perhaps it’s time to make sure our passion is in the right place. Some of us are more passionate about defending the name of our pidgeon-hole than we are about our vision and our craft.
I’d love to find a new way to describe this genre. Comments are open for ideas/discussion.
Thus endeth the rant. Have a great weekend. Go shoot something you love.