Travel has always been my main inspiration for taking photographs. As I am basically a writer, I do it semi-professionally, that is, I take only what I enjoy and do not sell aggressively, usually through stock agencies such as the late Impact Visuals in New York. This selection is arranged by:
* tours, all overland, by public transportation :
- All-Asia loop
- London to Calcutta straight line (including Kashmir and Ladakh)
- around the Mediterranean (including Iraq)
- around the Sahara
- New York to Central America, and back, on La Ruta Maya
- around the Aegean Sea
- loop through Central and Eastern European villages
- from Europe to Hokkaido along the 40th North parallel, via Central Asia
* country or region
(in order of visit — some are multiple, with different photos, for we went on different loops):
|CENTRAL ASIA & FAR EAST
Note on overland.
The jumping point was always Northern Greece, with Istanbul as the gateway to Asia. Exclusively by public transportation. No airplanes were taken except in the Around Asia tour where sometimes there was no alternative, like from Calcutta to Bangkok.
«Italo Balbo descended from his airplane at Ghadames and asked the sheikhs, who had gathered to do him homage, how long it took them to go to Tripoli. “Twenty-eight days”. “I have come here in three hours”. “Then what do you do during the other twenty-seven days?” They lived while they travelled. He only flew.»
Bernard Berenson, U.S. art critic who lived in Florence, in his Introduction to “Secret Tibet” by Fosco Maraini, 1950, commenting on Libya’s Italian governor under Mussolini.
Note on captions.
At every single exhibit, I have always been struck by either the self-centered or the moronic captions of photographs.
At a photography exhibit in a major New York museum you had “captions” such as, “It takes a number of important steps in one’s life to bring together a career in photography. For me, capturing the essence of my subjects is the ultimate challenge and triumph”. Apart from stating the obvious, it draws us into the photographers’ own interests and objectives and fears. I am infinitely more interested in the poor bastard whose picture is taken.
A somewhat funny example of the second type of captions I found in a black & white album by a top French photographer. The first pictures “read” like this: Women drying cloth by the river, Women drying saris, Drying saris by the river, Washing cloth in the river, Washing cloth in the river (bis), Drying dyed cloth in a dry riverbed.
The main reason is probably that many photographers simply don’t know how to write, life is so compartmentalized, we are always limited to our own field, unable to operate in another one, yet, writing is the main medium to express ideas.