Documenting your Travels

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We are constantly reminded, whilst taking for granted, how lucky we are with modern technologies. This particularly applies to photography, if you have a mobile phone (made in the last 10 years) then you are, in a literal sense, a photographer. Almost anytime and anyplace you can take a picture – it’s a photojournalist revolution. This is wonderful for the consumers of reportage news, though it may have cost a few proffessional jobs along the way. However, from an individuals perspective, I think the medium is a treasure for documenting your travels – you can visually record, with ease, all the great places you’ve been. This is extremely valuable, but lately I’ve felt a prisoner to the vast overusage of people practicing and sharing photography (with all their might). I feel as though the effortless access to the medium for a novice photographer has perhaps created a slur of ‘dumbed’ down images – ones that could easily be considered unnecessary practice. For example, the plentiful pictures of drunk nights out and other blundering images that soar the internet are filtering are daily senses with trash.

Anyway, I’m ranting a little off topic here. My main point I’m actually trying to get across is that you should always relish in the opportunity to visually document your travels. You never know what you might come across, be it a wondrous hidden landscape or a strange artifact, you should always have your smartphone (or ideally a ‘real’ camera) at the ready. Alternatively, documenting where you go with footage is another great way to reminisce and make the most out of what you’re doing. I’ve found from capturing video snippets whilst travelling, I’ve been able to compile many videos and, ultimately, create pieces of work I can actually be proud of and watch time and time again.

So, in other words, don’t be that tourist who is afraid to hang a camera around their neck. You may get one too many sneering looks (if abroad), but oh well, our lives are made up of infiltrating documentation, so why not add to it? At least, photography is something we all find fun and get pleasure out of viewing (even if the photo is disturbing, it still calls for intrigue – more pleasing than a dull photo, in my opinion).

Also, my best pictures (personal preference), ones I’d never planned out to be portfolio shots, happened whilst on the road. I can also think of times, I’ve missed the perfect shot whilst on the road. It sums up the fact that being in the right place at the right time is hugely important. For this to work, one must constantly be photographically equiped and engaged with their ‘eye for photography’.

In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the videos I’ve created whilst travelling to and from various places. I try to create narratives, but ultimately their just video clips thrown together, as I hardly ever plan out the shots before hand.

Footage from this summer in Crete (p.s. I am not stalking the girl in the dress and hat, she is my girlfriend):

 

Footage from France, also this summer (I got lucky!):

 

Trip back down to Devon in Easter break:

 

Visiting London:

 

Visiting Cambridge (I was able to use this footage for a music video for The Two Busketeers who happily abliged):

 

All of this stuff was shot off the cuff and without a tripod. The more you shoot, the more you can edit and experiment, and the more videos you can produce! Of course, the overall aesthetic of the productions are relatively low, but it’s nevertheless good practice, good fun and good for the motivation.

Thanks for watching.

A Talk with Photographer Tim Smith

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I recently attended a talk at the University of Leeds from Yorkshire based photographer Tim Smith who has previously worked for The Guardian and Observer and is a current member of Panos Pictures. Tim had some noteworthy comments on working as a photojournalist, whilst his freelance photographic involvement into cultural research was particularly interesting.

The main advice I picked up on from the experienced photographer was to prioritize telling a story with your photograph. The photograph needs to sum up an entire story without having to delve too much into what Barthes would call the punctum (a reading beyond initial meaning or response). Of course, this would seem obvious coming from the perspective of someone who takes photos for news reports, but Tim applies this theory across his entire body of work. His shots of Polish, Ukraine and Pakistani immigrates tell stories of an entire lifetime. The destitution, honesty and concept of new cultural boundaries are all evident.  Take the image below, which show these margins being competed with in the Muslim community.

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There is of course a whole new reading into this image, one of the new generations, a new enriched generation of multi-ethnicity perhaps.

But, I digress. Tim stressed that he prefers working as a freelance photographer, getting to aspire to his own in depth projects involving long-term research. He puts it openly that there isn’t a lot of freedom as a newspaper photographer; your creative boundaries rarely get the chance to be developed. Tim says that all you need to do to tell the right story is to stand in the right place and press the shutter button at the right time. Then you can go home.

Tim provided an example, where he waited for the girl to walk perfectly into shot so that it almost looked as though she were being consumed by the Coca-Cola product i.e. the Western common culture (unfortunately I can’t upload this photo online, but you are able to view it in Tim’s book, linked here). This shot was significant to the project, as Tim was examining how Ukraine didn’t reach there longed for independence in the wake of the 1990s, but rather jumped on the globalization bandwagon. This is an example of how important the placement of objects and symbols are in a photograph.

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View more photos from this project on Ukraine’s forbidden history here.  

A quote I found very ambiguous was that “the best photographers always have the best luck.” No doubt, this is very true, as you need to be in the right place at the right time. The lasting pictures from 9/11 no doubt placed the amateur photographer in this situation. However, this is from the standpoint if we are to judge a photographer by their obvious chance shown in the photograph, rather than the consistent aesthetic beauty a photographer exhibits throughout their body of work. But, I am surely in no place to critique this statement; it definitely got an impulse of approval and laughter from the audience.

What got me really captivated was how Tim ascertained on more than one occasion, the photographers ability to exercise power. Of course, taking someone’s image is the ultimate power, but alongside this, it is the photographer’s ability to access any space with validity, simply by having a camera around their neck and calling themselves a photographer, that is power. “You can ask anyone anything,” Tim said, which is a beguiling thought. It certainly may not always be the case, but it’s definitely food for thought in the limelight of commonplace street photography.

That’s all I really need to say about Tim’s talk, it was undeniably interesting and he’s done some fascinating research working abroad. He is definitely an ambassador of exploring the infinite photographic discourse. Thanks for taking the time to come in and talk to us Tim.

View Tim’s website here to see his photography and more about what he does: http://www.timsmithphotos.com

The Beauty of our Earth

Peak District

I recently entered another music video contest on genero.tv – My video focuses on the indigenous beauty of our vast landscapes and natures wondrous elements whilst implementing the track Moonchild by M83 – well this was the aim!

The footage (and photo ©crbphotography) was shot around the Peak District with a few bits taken of the ocean elsewhere.

Relax and enjoy.

Follow link: http://genero.tv/watch-video/36576