Welcome back to Vewe from Indonesia who manged to grab sometime with Dave from The Longest Way Home for a look at the world of travel photography.
Travel and photography has become two inseparable things these days. Taking photos while traveling is easy, what’s difficult is taking the kind of photograph that can tell you a story, the ones that capture true emotion, those that mesmerize you.
Click here to reveal more about Dave's journey
Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with FotoArk.
Vewe: How long have you been a photographer and what got you started?
About 9 years now. The accidental photographer? It happened first before this journey, but involved travel. 6 years ago I wanted it as a way to simply document my overland travels. Then as situations developed I began to capture them too. Examples being riots, people others don’t see, real life not just tourism.
Vewe: You specialize in travel and documentary. Why do you concentrate in these types
of photographs? Can you explain the key differences you as a photographer experience in
Again, it’s a capturing my journey philosophy more than capturing an image. My journey is quite unique, and has taken on many spectrum’s since the start. It allows me access to places others don’t go. Travel photography these days is quite bland. We’ve all seen the standard tourist shots. Over the past few years, new angles, giga photos and HDR have tried to liven it up a bit. But, we still see the same things.
I tell a story with many of my photographs. Others are part of story. We can all shoot the Taj Mahal. But how many shoot the workers restoring the Taj?
Vewe: What makes a good travel photograph? And, where is the best place for travel
photography according to you?
It’s got to make you feel emotion, and with travel; curiosity. Without this then it’s just another photo. Yes, it can look beautiful, but if it doesn’t make your heart jump then it’s lacking.
Best place? Anywhere you can. I’ll jump on a box here and mention the USA/UK censorship laws that treat photographers as terrorists these days. Compare that to walking down a street in India. There is no comparison. Photograph in a place you feel comfortable in is the real key.
Vewe: Can you share with us one of your most favorite piece of work and why you like
Hard one that! I’d be biased and say it’s probably really boring as it would have personal emotional attachment to it. From my gallery I would have to pick ”
“The Real Ifugao Rice Terrace Worker, Sagada, The Philippines”. The guy just blew me away with his level of English. His proud look. And, his strength as he looks out over his diminishing yet historical rice terraces. The last of his kind.
After that, “My Afghan Refugee Girl”. Her look speaks volumes of what she’s been through.
Vewe: What’s the most challenging aspect of travel photography today and how have
you overcome it?
Backing them up. I am always on the road. I don’t have a base. So I rely on backing up online. It takes time and money to do this. After that I would say the challenge of securing model release forms when on a budget. Linguistically and legally it’s a challenge.
Vewe: Do you see yourself as travel photographer until you retire?
I’ve not thought about it that far. The answer is probably no. But, so long as there is a story to tell that few have heard about, then I will capture it.
Vewe: Tell us what’s been the most rewarding thing to happen to you through your
The pride some people take of having their photograph taken. In Pakistan and Iran “the arts” are highly appreciated. Being a writer or photographer in either country garners people’s respect. There are not so many places like that left.
Photographing an old man on the street. Showing him his photograph and seeing his face change … he’d not seen his own face in years. Let alone a photograph. He touched the photograph, then his face. “Old”, he said with a thoughtful sad smile.
To me, it was heartbreaking moment.
Vewe: What are the two most important pieces of camera equipment you use and why?
A very soft clean lens cloth. A flexible shoulder strap, nothing worse than a bulky one that keeps getting in the way. A boring answer I think! But, lenses etc, are really dependent on the photographers needs. For me, getting in close is more important than “what lens”.
Vewe: How do you gain new clients in this competitive business? Do proactively
advertise, or do you literally knock on doors?
Door knocking in person. Examples of work done, and the ability to prove it. You can have a gallery with 10001 shots in it. But, no one is going to look through all that looking for examples.
Vewe: What advice would you give to someone just starting out who has a passion for
photography? Equipment, how to go about it etc.
Think practical about your equipment. I’d love to have a 10mm prime, a 600mm prime etc. but with my travel and lifestyle it’s not possible to carry “everything”. Go to a store, and try the lens, or camera you want. If you both fit, great. If not, try again.
Think of being in a world whereby everyone has a better camera than you. Now go out there and take a better photograph than them.
Vewe: A pro camera is better than an entry-level camera in the hands of an
intermediate, would you agree or not?
Yes, but at the end of the day if they don’t have heart and soul it won’t matter.
Vewe: What would you answer if a client asked you this: “What makes you different
from any other photographer?”
I work harder than anyone else to make people stop and think. I can go to places few people can, and capture things even fewer have. A free agent with no ties. That’s a rarity these days.