Tag: Travel Photography

The 2015 Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference

This year’s Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference—or as many justly call it, summer camp for travel writers—kicks off Thursday in Corte Madera, California. If you’ve ever wanted to study travel writing with a host of accomplished writers and editors, this is the time and place. The four-day conference features classes and panel discussions about the art, craft and business of travel writing and photography—and, just as importantly, hours of conversation over wine and dinner.

I’ll be on the faculty, along with World Hum contributors Lavinia Spalding, David Farley, Pam Mandel, Andrew McCarthy, Candace Rardon, Michael Shapiro, Andrea Johnson, Larry Habegger, Jill Robinson, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Spud Hilton and Abbie Kozolchyk. Other luminaries include Don George, Tim Cahill, Elizabeth Harryman, Jeff Greenwald, Janis Cooke Newman, Susan Casey, Robert Holmes and Maureen Wheeler.

Hope to see you there.


Shooting Kakadu

Shooting Kakadu Andrea Johnson

Andrea Johnson explores Australia's Northern Territory and the challenge of capturing meaningful travel photographs

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A Personal History of Travel Snapshots

Rolf Potts looks back at tourist photos he has taken over the years and considers how photography shapes and reflects our experiences.

Here’s a taste:

Pictures of scenery were not the only travel images that improved when I traveled to Greece with a digital camera. I also wound up with better pictures of both my travel companions and myself. Each shot of a person was, in a sense, a negotiation: An unspoken code compelled us to delete unflattering photos of each other from our memory-cards and retry a given shot until we all looked handsome and happy and at ease. We weren’t photographing our travel experience as it was, but as how it should have been. Each photo we retained on our memory-cards stood as a correct answer to some Platonic inquiry about what we might ideally look like as we sailed through Greece.

“We learn to see ourselves photographically,” Susan Sontag wrote in the days before digital photography. “To regard oneself as attractive is, precisely, to judge that one would look good in a photograph.” In the digital age, making oneself attractive has become a recursive feedback loop—a simple matter of patience, persistence, and real-time editing.

In one shot from the sailing excursion, three of my female friends look particularly radiant: Tanned and relaxed, smiling unselfconsciously, they’re clearly enjoying their holiday. Their blissful gaze rests not on a Greek vista, not on the sailboat, but on an image of themselves—in Greece, on the sailboat—captured on the display screen of their digital camera.

 


Interview with Henry Rollins: Punk Rock World Traveler

Jim Benning asks the musician about his new book of photographs and how travel has humbled him

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National Parks, as Seen from Space

That’s Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Over at Wired, Betsy Mason pulled stunning images of 20 more parks


The Book Passage Travel & Food Writing & Photography Conference Turns 20

I’ll be back on the faculty at the Book Passage Travel & Food Writing & Photography Conference Aug. 11-14 in Corte Madera, California.

Amazingly, the conference turns 20 this year. It has evolved in the digital age, to be sure, but it continues to be a four-day celebration of storytelling—a summer camp of sorts for wanderlust-prone travel and food writers and adventuresome photographers. I’ve met alumni who insist those four days changed their lives. Many return year after year.

What I love most about the conference, besides the fact that it takes place at a great Bay area bookstore, is that it brings faculty and students together during days for instruction and during evenings for meals, wine and conversation. There’s karaoke on Saturday night. I’m convinced the formal and informal gatherings are equally valuable.

This year’s faculty members include conference chair and editor extraordinaire Don George; Outside magazine founding editor Tim Cahill; “An Irreverent Curiosity” author David Farley; San Francisco Chronicle Travel Editor Spud Hilton; Los Angeles Times Travel Editor Catherine Hamm; Afar magazine Executive Editor Julia Cosgrove; Travelers’ Tales co-founder Larry Habegger; veteran photographer Robert Holmes; photographer and World Hum contributor Jeff Pflueger; and many, many others.

I’ll be co-teaching an online writing and blogging track with writer and ukulele evangelist Pam Mandel. We’ll cover both narrative writing and not-so-narrative blogging. We’ll dip our toes into multimedia waters, too. It should be good fun.


This is What Hundreds of Overlapping Photos of Chichen Itza Look Like


Swiss artist Corinne Vionnet combined hundreds of digital images of the same famous landmarks to create what Boing Boing calls “metaportraits.” Like Chichen Itza above. Madeline Yale looks deeper into the project:

What is remarkable about Vionnet’s findings is the consistency in online iterations of the travelers’ gaze. It makes one wonder, how do we determine the optimum spot to photograph landmarks? Maybe we stand at the gateway to the Taj Mahal to render its architectural façade in perfect symmetry, or we stand where we can frame all four American presidents in equal scale at Mount Rushmore. Perhaps we instinctively choose how to photograph known monuments as we are socially conditioned to take pictures we have seen before—images popularized through film, television, postcards, and the Internet.

I found Vionnet’s project goes hand-in-hand with Doug Mack’s audio slideshow, Not-So-Flattering Views of Famous European Landmarks.


Wired’s Kevin Kelly: Travel as ‘Higher Education’

Chris Mitchell interviewed Kelly, who’s taken a break from writing bestsellers about technology to release a travel photography book. The book, Asia Grace, compiles photos from Kelly’s travels through Asia as a young backpacker in the 1970s. Here’s the Wired co-founder on those early travels:

I had hoped to work for National Geographic. I even called up one photo editor there and told him where I was going, looking for an assignment, but of course, they did not work that way… My travels never “paid” for themselves in any economic way, but I never really tried very hard to do so. I think of them more like my higher education. And for the amount of time I spent there, and what I learned, it was the cheapest education ever.


‘Ruin Porn’ in Detroit

In Guernica, John Patrick Leary takes a look at a couple of new books that depict Detroit’s empty urban landscape and ponders the broader trend they’re a part of.

So much ruin photography and ruin film aestheticizes poverty without inquiring of its origins, dramatizes spaces but never seeks out the people that inhabit and transform them, and romanticizes isolated acts of resistance without acknowledging the massive political and social forces aligned against the real transformation, and not just stubborn survival, of the city. And to see oneself portrayed in this way, as a curiosity to be lamented or studied, is jarring for any Detroiter, who is of course also an American, with all the sense of self-confidence and native-born privilege that we’re taught to associate with the United States.

(Via The Daily Dish)


What We Loved This Year: Five Favorite Photos From World Hum

What We Loved This Year: Five Favorite Photos From World Hum Reuters

We published a lot of photos in 2010. These images will stick with us for a long time to come.

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My Guilt-Inducing, Nausea-Provoking Street Photography Obsession

My Guilt-Inducing, Nausea-Provoking Street Photography Obsession Rob Verger

Rob Verger's quest for the perfect travel shot sometimes churns his stomach. But it's a small price to pay for what he's after.

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The Hajj, in Photos

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca kicked off this week. The Big Picture has an absolutely stunning photo essay from the event.


Photo You Must See: Prayers in the Yamuna

Photo You Must See: Prayers in the Yamuna REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash

Hindus pray in the Yamuna River in Allahabad, India, during the Bhai Dooj festival, which celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters

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Five Ugly Foods You Should Eat

Jenna Schnuer unveils not-so-pretty international dishes anybody will love -- except a food stylist

See the full photo slideshow »


The Big Picture: Haiti, After the Earthquake

The Big Picture has another stunning photo essay from the island, now 10 months into its recovery from a massive earthquake. The pictures are sad, beautiful and—occasionally—uplifting.


93 Years of the New York Subway, in Photos

The New York Times compliled a gorgeous slideshow that spans from 1917 to the present. (Via Kottke)


The Quiet Traveler

flowers window Sophia Dembling

Sophia Dembling doesn't travel to meet people. She finds other rewards.

See the full audio slideshow: »


My U-Turn Over Greenland

I was flying home to Los Angeles from Germany this week when, mid-way, the pilot made an announcement: We would be turning around and flying more than an hour back to Iceland to drop off a sick passenger. We weren’t told much about the elderly passenger; I saw him stand before he was led off the plane, which I took to be a good sign. In any case, it made for what I imagine to be a rare sight on the seat-back flight tracker:

Photo by Jim Benning

‘Quick, Martha, Take a Picture!’

The folks at Gizmodo list seven things they never want to see photographed again. Sorry, travelers: “food” and “scenery” make the list. Don’t miss the accompanying cartoon dialogue—funny stuff.


Marilyn Monroe’s Forgotten Banff Vacation

Move over, Crasher Squirrel: Banff just got a new tourism mascot. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe injured her ankle on a movie set in the Canadian Rockies and wound up at the Banff Springs Hotel to recuperate. A photographer from Look magazine documented her visit, but only two of his photos ever appeared in print—until last week, when they were released in a new book, Marilyn, August 1953. The Globe and Mail has a selection of photos from the book, all of Monroe in full tourist mode—posing with a taxidermied grizzly or riding a chairlift. They’re very cool, take a look.