Perhaps the one thing I love more than photographing people, is photographing while traveling. I’d have to admit, I’m not nearly as comfortable photographing my travels as I am photographing for clients. During family and portrait sessions, I get to interact with my subjects in order to capture the kind of images I want. However, capturing genuine and honest pictures while abroad necessitates a kind of street photography style I’m not familiar with. And although my wedding photography includes some components of photojournalism, careful planning beforehand helps me know when and where I should photograph each moment. However, I think the fact that I’m not familiar with the landscape or spontaneous photojournalism is precisely why I love taking photos of these subjects. Without realizing it, I sometimes find myself in a rut during prime photography season and when this happens, I make careless mistakes and recycle old ideas. Whenever I travel somewhere though, I get simultaneously nervous and excited to photograph something new. This photography jitteriness and uneasiness pushes me to consciously think about what goes into making a great photo before I start clicking away.
Beyond improving my photography, I like the kind of person I become when I’m traveling. I’m just that much bolder, spontaneous, and curious because I want to photograph everything I see.
I saw a Chinese man eating inside a Chinese restaurant and decided to photograph him because I loved the story it told. What was interesting about the photo is not the subject, rather the location. The Chinese restaurant was nestled in the heart of Istanbul, Turkey. He was a foreigner who sought comfort in what he knew – food. Moments after the photograph was taken, he caught me and started laughing. He ushered me into the restaurant so I could explain myself. Even though I was born in China, I had forgotten most of my Chinese; and despite studying Chinese in college and high school, I’m usually very self-conscious speaking in Chinese because my “fluency” is dubious. However, we were able to communicate despite my broken Chinese. It’s funny moments like these that make me so grateful for the opportunity to meet interesting people during my travels.
I took the following photo in Athens, Greece. In order to capture this shot, I had to climb a massive ledge. I’m terrified of heights, so it took a lot of mental preparation, but I had to see what was on the other side.
During the school year, a good photography friend of mine invited me to go hiking with her to photograph the night sky. I asked her where it was, and she said,” Somewhere close to campus.” Her definition of “close” was a two-hour drive away followed by a one-hour hike. There I was, in the middle of nowhere in the freezing cold without cell reception, at 2 AM photographing the Milky Way.
Being directionally challenged is on the top of my traveling resume. I could create an entire album of all the photos I’ve taken when I was hopelessly lost. But I’ve learned just to go with the flow. This photo was taken somewhere in Rome, Italy.
Somewhere in Istanbul, Turkey.
I am so excited that I will be studying abroad in Singapore and then traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Shanghai, Seoul, and Mumbai this coming fall! I can’t wait to see where this wanderlust takes me and my photography.