The reasons for photography whilst travelling is surely obvious, it helps bring back memories for us and to share these with family and friends.
Apparently it may even involve a degree of boasting and if involving social media; smoasting. Fortunately despite this trend this is not the prime motivator for most. The problem is that often whilst very pretty, many of the images are frankly boring and the people that we are attempting to share with soon lose interest.
The images are often just of distant scenery, endless beaches and the odd building or monument, they fail to offer the viewer with any insight into the culture of the destination. The essence is missing and there isn’t any story from the country visited.
This may seem unimportant for those taking pictures for personal reasons but I disagree. Looking back through collections of past journeys should provide snapshots both of the trip and the society. It is images of the culture which give a feel for the community and will help bring memories flooding back of special moments from a journey.
It is especially important for those intending to publish the pictures on a website with several paragraphs of explanatory narrative. This is a travelogue! The top publishers understand this and the most popular sites have much more than endless sunsets to gaze at. Their images spark interest, they inform, they inspire and not merely envy.
Beautiful, interesting photographs are extremely important to a site, they are the bait, the honey which will attract readers. Many visitors merely flit around the internet; we know this. Good images will help capture their imagination, encouraging them to read the post. Regardless of how well the author may write if they fail to initially ‘grab’ a potential reader their amazing prose will remain unread; vivid, inspiring and interesting images are an essential tool.
My greatest excitement on any trip is discovering a busy street scene or bustling market place. The are many opportunities to capture moments of interest, snapshots of the society. I am like a hyperactive school kid, snapping away and attempting to capture as many of these moments as possible.
It also unfortunately means there is little opportunity to connect with the subjects but it is still important to try to get as close as possible. Taking pictures with a long telephoto lens may offer plenty of candid images but being ‘within’ the scene is preferable to me, getting up close and personal is important. I usually prefer being within a few metres, although sometimes it is necessary to include surroundings for context.
Candid images of people going about their everyday business is equally important. By becoming part of the action, usually means I’m accepted, and merely ignored. Taking plenty of images also increases the chances of a few acceptable shots.
All of these images are from Cuba, an amazing destination for photography with interesting scenes on almost every street corner. They hopefully manage to convey just a little of the culture to the viewer, telling stories about daily life on the island. By portraying some members of the community in everyday life they offer some insight. They also transport me back to moments within the tour and hopefully will take you there too.
Capturing the spirit of a destination is enjoyable, it is definitely what appeals to me most. Next time you are on a trip, by all means take plenty of those amazing sunsets on endless beaches but once in a while turn the camera on the society too. Your family, friends and memories will almost certainly appreciate it.