Category Archives: Travel Photography

Pachamama Photography Exhibition

Wikipedia: “Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother.  In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting…She is also an ever present and independent deity who has her own self-sufficient and creative power to sustain life on this earth.”

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in Pachamama Photography Exhibition in Sydney. Opening this Thursday (26 June), the exhibition will run across the weekend in StirrUp Gallery, Marrickville.  This group exhibition will feature the work of 5 photographers, including me: images which explore the relationship between indigenous peoples in Latin America and Pachamama.

I’d love to see you there.  You can find the event details RIGHT HERE.

Alicia-Fox-Photography-4941 Alicia-Fox-Photography-5143 Alicia-Fox-Photography-5327 Alicia-Fox-Photography-5386 Alicia-Fox-Photography-9382

My Environmental Pledge

As Sustainably As Possibly (ASAP) invited me for an interview to share my story behind running an eco photography business.  I was the second to be interviewed for the Pledgecast series, following NSW Greens MP, John Kaye.  I felt quite honoured.

Through this short interview you can hear how travelling made me realise, in an unforgettable way, that how I live in Australia affects people all around the world.

As part of the interview, ASAP asked me to make an environmental pledge.  Fast fashion is a serious problem in today’s world, and working as a fashion photographer, this is something I am very conscious of.  Sustainable fashion expert, Lucy Siegle estimates that each year, 80 billion garments are produced throughout the world.  The conditions under which most of these are made are dangerous, both for garment factory workers and for our environment (during production and at the end of fast fashion’s short life when the clothing is sent to landfill).  

I pledged to stop buying new clothing and consumables.  Since I made the pledge, I have had a fantastic time discovering beautiful and unique clothes in second hand stores (from the Salvos to fancy vintage stores).  There are even websites dedicated to helping Australian’s buy and swap pre-loved fashion.  Buying second hand clothing is good for the conscience, the wallet and a wonderful way to find your own style.  

Caribbean Panama Portraits

Travel is like an intensified version of normal life.  We take ourselves out of our comfort zone to situations where the ups are higher and the downs take us deeper than we have ever been.  This is why we often return from travelling feeling like a new person:  so much more experienced, wiser and even enlightened.

 

After a year or so travelling through South America, I’d been confronted by many lows (and many more highs, thankfully).  One thing that irritated me was how long things took.  I’m pretty chilled out and enjoy taking my time, but on Latin American time things can be excruciatingly slow.  The border crossing from Colombia to Panama is one example of this.  The whole process of travelling by boat from port towns to port towns took days.  I understand that authorities in this Darien Gap region are wise to watch their ports for drug smugglers, but anyone who has spoken to locals knows that the authorities are aware of the traffickers and allow certain offenders to slip through the cracks.

 

On arriving to Panama, at the tiny village of Puerto Obaldia, the immigration officer sitting inside his sweltering hot cement block informed us that for no particular reason, it would take 4 hours to process our papers.  I decided to get my Taoist on and make the most of the situation.  A little girl sat outside the office.  She was the officer’s daughter.  We started chatting and soon two of her friends came to join us.  I gave them stickers and showed them through my Panama guide book – they were fascinated to see photos of their country, places they never knew existed.  They were adorable and I absolutely had to take their photographs.  They loved being in front of the camera and hours later when I needed a break, they didn’t want to stop posing for the camera.

 

I entered some photos of my amigas into a Unicef Panama photo competition.  I was one of the winners and was so happy to see my photo, captured thanks to a slow immigration officer, blown up in an exhibition in Panama City, helping raise awareness of children’s issues.

See behind the scenes photos on my Pinterest page

www.pinterest.com/aliciafoxphotog/photo-shoot-behind-the-scenes/

Why be an “Eco Photographer”?

Being an Eco Photographer means reducing the environmental impact of every aspect of my business, and working with (i.e. producing photos for) clients that have a positive impact on the environment.  

 

I was trying to formulate an explanation as to why I’ve decided to be an “Eco Photographer” and what this actually means.  Then one day three things happened to me and I became so impassioned that I did what anyone would do… I got on my soapbox (i.e. my personal Facebook wall) and shared what I was feeling with my friends and family.  I received such an overwhelmingly supportive response that I decided to include my little story on this blog.  It gives you an idea of how I live my personal life, which crosses over into my business life.  So here it is:

 

I don’t often put unhappy things on Facebook but I feel the need to share this today  It has 3 parts, and hopefully is inspiring:
1. James came home and told me, with a smile, that he had a song stuck in his head all day, the song of some beautiful girls from the Ashaninka tribe we stayed with by Ene River, in the Amazon. Translated, the chorus goes: “Ene River, please take care of me”.
2. At my exhibition of Amazon photos on the weekend, a man came up to me and said, “Did you hear about the Amazonian tribe that can’t drink their water because the oil company poisoned it?”. I said, “Things like that happen all the time in the Amazon… It’s unbelievable!”
3. I went for a walk at lunch (in Sydney) and a man was blowing leaves around the road with a petrol powered leaf blower. He wasn’t actually moving the leaves anywhere in particular, just wasting petrol.I am as much to blame as anyone else for the poisoned water that is making my friends in the Amazon sick. We all use the oil that is being drilled, which is killing the fish, the animals and sometimes the children. Every day I will do what I can to stop supporting the companies that knowingly let this happen. I have given up plastic almost completely, I walk/ride nearly everywhere I go and I try my best in every other way to reduce plastic and petrol consumption. Sorry to be grim, but I just wanted to share this because most people that I talk to about what happens in the Amazon, have no idea. It’s not widely publicised.The good news is that every one of us can make a positive difference. Every time you spend money you endorse what that company is doing…so spend wisely xx  That’s all. Good night

 

(If you would like to hear the beautiful song about Ene River, it begins at 44 seconds in this movie)
Ashaninka-Tribe-Girls-Amazon-Peru

5 Tips For Being A More Eco Human/Photographer

1. Support local, small businesses.  This gives you a chance to meet the people whose company you are supporting, and find out how the products are made/grown.  Because it’s local you can walk there (or use less petrol to arrive there).
2.  Furnish your house/studio with recycled or upcycled  furniture.  It’s quite amazing what you can pick up at the op shop or market – people throw away some beautiful things.  In a place like Sydney or Melbourne it’s easy to find almost anything you need on the street side.  Each day I walk by anything from wide screen TVs to vintage furniture.
3.  Use chemical-free cleaning products.  With a few simple ingredients (bicarb soda, vinegar and eucalyptus oil) you can cover almost all of your cleaning needs.  Using these natural alternatives is also much better for your health.
4.  Go paper-free.  You can do almost everything online these days.
5.  Use a renewable energy plan or solar power.  

My Amazon Portraits Featured

My photos and I are being featured on fivepointfive.org and I think you should check it out, here.  You’ll gain an insight into my project Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon, a 3 month journey which will changed my life.  You can also get the background story on some of my favourite portraits from the project, and the beautiful people within them.

 

Five Point Five is about inspiring you to do those things that you will remember with satisfaction for the rest of your life.  They are all about travel, lifestyle and making a positive difference in the world – 3 things that are really important to me too.  The website offers information and mini documentaries on volunteering overseas, as well as travel resources and inspiration.  So go get inspired…

 

Portraits of the Disappearing Amazon by Alicia Fox

by Alicia Fox Photography

by Alicia Fox Photography

Surbala Fashion Shoot

Surbala is a resort wear label founded by Neha, a charming fashion designer from India.  Neha sources artisans from her home country, who handmake Surbala’s collections, employing traditional Indian techniques.  When I first met Neha to plan our fashion shoot, I could instantly see the great passion she has for her work, and through talking with her, it was obvious that she goes to great lengths to ensure that each Surbala piece is made with love and care.
I appreciate the way she works so much that I asked Neha to share a bit about Surbala, with my blog readers.
Sydney-Fashion-Photographer

Me: What does “Surbala” mean?

Neha: I came across the word Surbala when as a student, I first read acclaimed Indian poet Shri Makhan Lal Chaturvedi’s famous Hindi poem “Pushp ki Abhilasha“ (means the aspirations of a flower).  He mentions the word Surbala that refers to a beautiful woman.

In Hindi, technically SUR means a musical note & BALA means a young woman. The word Surbala stuck by me for a long time. And when I was thinking of naming my clothing label, I couldn’t think of more suitable name as I see my clients as beautiful and perfect ladies.

 

Me:  How do you choose and source your fabrics?

Neha:  Once I have researched and finalized the color palette & silhouettes for the next season, I plan a sourcing trip for 1-2 months where I source fabrics and develop the prints/textures/embroidery from scratch.

It’s a continuous process, taking anywhere from 15-25 days in developing a swatch of embroidery or a new pattern and creating it into a style.

Intrinsically I love traditional Indian textiles techniques and hand-woven fabrics, and I always try to support the artisans by incorporating beautiful handmade crafts in my collection.

 

Me:  Tell us about the artisans who make the fabrics & garments.

Neha:  Surbala tries to amalgamate traditional textiles from India eg. handmade fabrics like Handloom silks, chanderis etc and traditional printing techniques like Hand tie & Dye, Batik, Shibori, hand beading, applique, hand block printing from Rajasthan, Kantha etc along with modern printing  technique like digital prints etc. We source our artisans through organizations like DASTKAR which provide a platform for willing designers and businesses to meet and connect with talented artisans from all over India. (http://www.dastkar.org/organisationalmap.htm)

 

Me:  How are Surbala’s fabrics made?

Neha:  Base fabrics like cotton, laces etc. are sourced and then printing techniques or embroidery techniques are applied (hand block printing, hand beading, applique etc.). Many traditional techniques like DABU (resist hand block printing technique from Rajasthan) use natural dyes for printing. For my S/S 13 14 collection I have developed a range of hand-woven Chanderi (made of silk & cotton thread in warp & weft) kaftans.

 

Me:  What makes Surbala different from other brands?

Neha:  Surbala appeals to a target market of sensitive shoppers who appreciate the ethereal quality of handmade textiles.

We also try to give most affordable prices possible to our customer in Resortwear category as compared to our competitors.  We are currently working on an online format and cut down on the huge costs of rent etc. and hence can pass on the benefit to the customers & eventually pass it on the our artisans as well which makes each Surbala piece truly handmade with love!!!

 

Thanks Neha xx

 

www.surbala.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/SurbalaCaftans

http://www.youngrepublic.com/designer/surbala.html

Thanks For Your Support

It’s time to give another shout out to all the wonderful people who helped make my Amazon photo project dream come true.

In June 2012 I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible.com to invite supporters to be part of my photo project to create Portraits of the Disappearing Amazon.  The response was overwhelming and as a result I was able to spend two months visiting and photographing ten different tribes in the Amazon of Peru, an amazing experience which I will never forget.

This week I’m posting out the final  Thank Yous to supporters of the project, including prints of the portraits I created in the jungle.  I’m so looking forward to getting my hands on the Photo Books that I’ve had published as gifts for the major supporters, which are in the post to me right now.  I can’t wait to hand them over in the next few days.

 

Muchisima Gracias Amigos!

 

If you would like to see photographs from the project, please go to my New Work Folio on my website.

Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon

 

Dreams are worth chasing.

 

It was June 2012.  I had a dream to travel into the depths of the Amazon and photograph tribes that I’d heard may disappear within my lifetime.  If I didn’t follow my dream, perhaps no one would capture images of these people, whose cultures had fascinated me since I was a little girl.  Perhaps no one would create a visual memory of their traditional way of life for the future generations to remember and appreciate.

 

I had no contacts and no leads, but something within me told me I could do it, and that I had to do it.  I committed myself to the project and spent the following 2 months exploring the Amazon of Peru in search of tribes to photograph in their traditional dress to create a visual documentation of how life looks, or looked, for peoples whose traditional way of life is being slowly, or in many cases, rapidly forgotten.

 

I hope to return to the Amazon soon to continue encountering and photographing the vast and diverse tribal cultures that live within the mysterious jungle.  This project turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Dreams are worth chasing.

 

Here is a tiny sample of the mountain of photographs I was fortunate to capture during my adventures.  I hope you enjoy them.  There are more on the way.

 

This elder woman from the Matses tribe is one of the last in her village to continue wearing facial piercings, a practice which she began as a young lady. The adornments originate from local palm trees, and the ink of her tattoo is made from the huito plant.

 

The feet of a Yagua elder. He has never worn shoes.

 

A young boy from the Bora tribe adorned with his tribe’s traditional face paint. In his village, traditional dress and body painting is now only worn on special occasions and for tourism.

 

This young Ashaninka girl lives deep within the Amazon. My camera may have been the first she ever saw. Her nose is pierced with cotton thread, with a jewel hanging. All women in the village paint their faces each morning, with red paint from the achote plant, in patterns which reflect the previous night dreams, their mood or simply to look beautiful.

 

Here are the first two behind the scenes videos shot by my assistant/partner James.  Check back here for additional videos in the coming months.

 

 

To see more of my humanitarian photographs and travel photographs, please visit www.AliciaFoxPhotography.com.  Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

Las Cubanitas – Our Article in Surfgirl Magazine (UK)

This March, James and I met with Cuba’s female surfing population, all two of them.

Lorena is the only female bodyboarder in Cuba and Yaya is the only female stand-up surfer.  These passionate women inspired us to write their story about what it’s like to live and surf in a country where educated people live off government rations, surf shops don’t exist and waves go unexplored because people don’t have cars or gas to get to them.

Here’s the article from this months Surfgirl Magazine, available in The UK and Europe.

 

 

 


Cuba Travel Article in G Magazine

Photos by Alicia Fox

Words by James Galletly

Cuba may not be well known as an eco-travel destination, but its eco-credentials, like its musicians and cigars, are first class.

 

In 2006, the WWF’s Living Planet Report named Cuba the only nation on earth achieving sustainable development.  This big claim was based on Cubans having a high standard of living (assessed via levels of health, education and GDP) and at the same time maintaining a sustainable Ecological Footprint….

 

 

To view more of my published work please go to www.aliciafox.net/published

Cuba Photo Essay

Cuba Pobre : Poor Cuba

 

Cubans showed me that in some ways their country is one of the richest places on Earth.  The music, the culture and the spirit of the people are so strong.  So alive!

But economically, many Cubans are struggling.  Even with food rations that the government provides for the population, people are struggling to survive on wages which average just $15 per month.

 

In March 2012 I shot a photo essay for Newsmax, documenting the poor side of Cuba.  Completing this assignment lead me to meet and spend time with some outstandingly wonderful human beings whose spirits actually shone stronger because of their hardships.  It lead me into buildings that were literally crumbling where families still lived and into a world where I got a brief sense of what life is like in a city where food is so scarce that a cup of rice or a couple of bananas are hard to come by.

And all these hardships just make Cubans stronger; more unified and more positive.  They are people who live for the moment, enjoying life simply because they were lucky enough to be born Cuban!

 

A Havana local outside a dilapidated building on Habana Street, Old Havana (The city’s tourist centre). Shells of colonial buildings stand alongside lived in homes throughout Havana.

 

A blue car in old Havana Cuba

An old car sits in front of a building facade which has crumbled internally. Old Havana, Cuba

 

A mother and daughter in their family home, in a block of flats in Central Havana. The room pictured is the entire living space of the family: a shared single bed on one side and toilet on the other – separated from the living area by a plastic curtain. There is no running water so the buckets are filled downstairs and stored in the room.

 

Living conditions in Havana, Cuba

A single bed and rocking chair are the sum total of the household furniture. Mother and her daughter sit on their bed while the neighbor visits, Central Havana neighbourhood.

 

Empty store shelver in Havana, Cuba

A store in Central Havana with sparse supplies of tobacco, cigarettes, salt, rice, sugar, beans, oil, coffee and juice

 

Homeless man in Havana, Cuba

Lazaro has been homeless for 3-4 years. He sleeps in the street. His wife is dead and his children have moved to Mexico. The white bag contains his belongings. He told me he cannot work because of his crippled hand. He said “Many people here are homeless.”  Lazaro is the most memorable person I met in Cuba.

 

Homeless men in Havana, Cuba

My favourite photo from my whole trip to Cuba.  Three homeless men waiting outside the Comedor in Central Havana, for lunch to be served.

 

Rooftops in Havana, Cuba

A view looking over Central Havana from Hotel Parque Central, on Paseo del Prado

 

Broken building in Old Havana, Cuba

Broken building on Amargura Street, Old Havana

 

Old Havana, Cuba

Old Havana, Cuba

Electricity in Havana Cuba

Entrance to residential building in Central Havana, the electricity wires run from the meter box up to each individual residence.

 

Havana Cuba

Wooden supports on a building in Central Havana

Homeless man and bins in Old Havana, Cuba

Homeless man looking at clothes in the trash on a popular tourist street in Old Havana

 

To see more of my published photos please visit www.aliciafox.net/published/

Portraits of Peru

I am six weeks into my trip to Peru, that’s about half way if James and I follow our loose schedule.

I am so excited about the images I have been capturing here in this vibrant country.  Here is a sample of what I have been up to over the last month.

(Above)  This is an image I shot on a floating reed island of Lake Titicaca, Peru.  The young boy was playing on the other side of the tiny island.  I knew this line of  reeds would make a beautiful background for a shot and I wanted the little boy to run towards me, so I got into position and set up my camera with a fairly shallow depth of field (f/6.3) and fast shutter speed (1/640sec) to freeze him in motion.  I waited a few minutes till he came my way then I made eye contact and got his attention, making him smile.  I shot three frames and this is my favourite of the three.

(Above)  Visiting Machu Picchu was an INCREDIBLE experience. Even as I was ascending the harsh mountainside to the entrance I could feel that I was arriving to a special place in the world. Exploring the ruins was inspiring, but (as a portrait photographer) I found myself time and time again returning to the only residents of the area – the llamas. I spent a few hours stalking these lovely animals in different parts of the ruins. This one was my favourite because her name is Alicia (her ear tag told me).

The lighting was moody that day – the sun was nearly breaking through the clouds but only in certain areas – leaving the background mountains shaded. I shot with my wide angle lens (at 24mm) to capture a feeling of closeness with Alicia, while still including a wide area of the ruins in the background. With an aperture of f/6.3 the far ruins fell out of focus just enough to make Alicia stand out.

 

 

Sunbounce Travel Shoots

I recently discovered Sunbounce photography products and had been drooling over them ever since, so I was thrilled when I received an email from Sunbounce asking me to be their Travel Ambassador, trying out their lightweight reflectors and lighting equipment on the road.

Last week I did my first shoot with the Sun Mover, Micro-Mini and Flash-Bracket.  I took James out to the Peruvian desert and had some fun in the sand dunes.

Below is the set up for the shot above.  I exposed for the background then attached the Flash-Bracket with my Speedlight to the Micro-Mini, to create a strong light source.

Photo by Kaye Fox

For the second setup (below) we used the Micro-Mini and Flash-Bracket, with the Sun Mover providing some fill light.  Many thanks to Kaye(Mum) and Kate for assisting me.

Women Weavers in Guatemala

 A photo essay of women weavers in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, shot for Vision Guatemala.

 

Lake Atitlan is a magical part of Guatemala that draws many tourists who want to experience its reputed energy.  But for many women and families living in this area, life is tough and money is very scarce.  I shot this photo essay for Vision Guatemala, a small non-profit organisation that is working to help women find a source of income, offering micro-finance, training and community development.  In doing so, their tradition of weaving beautiful textiles can be kept alive.

 

Being fortunate to enter their homes and witness this amazing art gave me a deep appreciation for their skill in weaving.  The women I met have amazing talent and beautiful spirits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to see more photos that I have taken for non-profit organisations in South and Central America, please see my website at www.aliciafox.net/humanitarian-photography/

Nicaragua Resort Photography