On The Road With Your Camera

Jill Rahn's picture
Photography and travel have always been intertwined. Ever since photography was invented photographers have been exploring the world, both locally and globally, with images. The camera becomes motivator and instigator, witness and commentator, of the social, natural, and wondrous sites that surround us. And while many of the articles and images in this issue deal with particular projects undertaken by a wide range of photographers, there’s no reason to think you have to travel far and wide to discover what that magical combination of camera and travel can do for you.

In this issue we travel along with a photographer who immersed herself in the life of a small village; go up in the air with a photographer who has made a reputation for his “air-to-air” images; travel along with a photographer who has made a life’s work of photographing America’s railroads; get an up close and personal look at a photographer’s project on small-town America; and, in a special tribute, bring you images from a new book on the life and work of one of the best outdoor photographers of our time, the late Galen Rowell.

If there are lessons to be learned from all this it’s that your interests and your camera can bring you into places and meet with people who you might otherwise never have encountered. Indeed, if you spend enough time with photographers you learn that many first picked up a camera on their initial foray into the world, be it hiking a long trail or traveling for the first time overseas. They saw how the search for images led them down intriguing paths and in many ways solidified their desire to pursue photography as both a passion and a career.

In addition, we have included a special report on the business of travel photography, featuring interviews with photographers who practice their craft while earning their living. Their comments show their dedication to the work as well as their business acumen, yet through it all you can get a real sense of their love of the work and where it leads them.

But travel and photography need not be seen as a business; indeed, most of us take a camera along on our travels for the sheer fun of it, as a way to both record what we see and to comment on how we see the world around us. There are the “trophy” shots we all make (asking complete strangers to photograph my wife and myself in front of the Eiffel Tower, for instance) that are fond remembrances, but there are also the images we make of new people we have met, side streets we have ambled down, and glorious moments in nature that sometimes happen when we are far from home.

Personally, I would never consider traveling without my cameras to record those special moments. Travel gives us fresh eyes to see and images to share. True, the photographs we make might be by-products of the experiences we’ve had on the road, but they remain for us to think back and consider what a wondrous world we live in and where we’ve been as we journey through our lives.

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