Tag Archives: australian travel photographer
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.
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…
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.
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.
“You have to ask before you take a photo of anyone here. A Japanese woman didn’t ask and she got stoned to death.”
That was my introduction to Comalapa, a small town, unmarked on the Guatemalan tourist map. I usually ask before I take someones photo, but sometimes that ruins the moment and I (respectfully) want to get a shot before they are aware that I even exist. After the above advice though, I got the feeling that the locals here aren’t really into being the subjects of documentary photography, so I’m going to ask everybodies permission before I take photos of them.
This morning my friend Loren needed to do some washing and asked me if I wanted to go to the public laundry with him. A lot of people around here don’t have the water or facilities to wash clothes in their own home so the women come together and wash communally. It’s such a wonderful and unique cultural experience and I’d been attracted to Guatemala’s outdoor laundries since I first saw them.
I got chatting to this beautiful lady, Chejina (above), while Loren was washing his clothes. Chejina told me she goes there most days to wash. I asked her three times (just to be sure that the question wasn’t getting lost in translation) if it was okay to take her photo. All the ladies around thought it was really funny that I would want to take a photo of their friend washing clothes. I guess they’re right.
This gorgeous little boy has four brothers and sisters. He spends most of his days on his Mums back. She told me that he is very heavy and Thanks to God she is very strong.
When I first read about the Kuna Yala indigenous people in the San Blas Islands, I knew I had to visit the islands to photograph them. In all descripitions, the people and the landscape sounded visually stunning.
The Kuna women hand-sew their vibrant outfits with tropical patterns and elaborate designs. Their arms and legs are adorned with colourful beads in traditional patterns that imitate designs that used to be painted on their skin before missionaries taught them to wear clothes.
The location they call home is over 300 idyllic islands in the Caribbean Sea of Panama, the most picture perfect place I have visited in my life. Many of the inhabitants are nomadic and move from island to island collecting coconuts and selling their clothing, designs and beaded jewelry to tourists.
A full set of the photos and the story behind them can be found on the “30 Days in Chugchilan” tab at the top of this page.