Who are these people that do travel photography anyway?

The thing about travel photography has not always been clear to me. Who are these people that do this kind of work really?  I mean, travel to all these amazing places just to take pictures and show us how beautiful the place can look. You know, just go, stay at a five star hotel or a luxury resort and show us how much fun they had. Some people do this of course, while others simply enjoy taking pictures on their holidays travel and happen to be damn good at it. I really wish I could do this sometime.

I am not really serious about this question of course. Travel photography is a challenging kind of assignment and some photographers out there are really very good at it. Me? I started my photography exploration in the 80’s by reading Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazines and trying to learn all the tricks about working with a wide angle lens for landscape, and shooting interesting travel pictures, but my carrier hadn’t really taken me in this direction. Not only that, but I must admit that just traveling and taking pictures has never been something that I really do. I either travel on assignment, or on vacation. On assignment I would have my full camera bag with me, and the focus would be the assignment and the brief. When I travel on vacation I carry my small Lumix LX3 and shoot my family. The reason why I bring this up is because my last post was about a personal photo walk I did at the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabd in 2001, but I really cant remember when was the last time I simply went out shooting like this in India. Going somewhere with no brief is not something that I do very often, and this is why the pictures here are so different for me.

I was on assignmen in Kerala and on a day off I decided to take a short trip to Kanyakumari, also known by its former name Cape Comorin. Kanyakumari is located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, at the confluence of the three water-bodies – the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Mannar and the Indian Ocean. Here are some of the pictures I took on that day trip. I had a great time 🙂

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I’ve always been attracted to street food and the instruments that are used to prepare it. Here is the very common sugar cane juice stall decorated with the yellow limes in the foreground of the Thiruvalluvar statue. I loved the way the blue, yellow and orange colors of the juice stall were mirrored in the colors of the saris of two women, framing the famous statue in the distance.

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There was a large group of women students from a teachers college visiting the beach, all wearing uniform pink saris. I shot them sitting on the wall above the beach and slowly came down to the water edge with them. I sat quietly behind them as they were completely fascinated with the sea and the waves, oblivious to my presence. At one point someone called from behind, alerting them to the fact that I was taking their picture. They turned to look and I clicked this picture, just before they actually noticed me. The next picture was slightly less interesting as the lady on the left had put her foot down. There was no time for another as they immediately dispersed.

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I left the beach just before sunset and the driver took me to the ‘sunset point’. there was no sunset as the haze had covered the horizon, but the clouds were painted this amazing pink. A group of women were sitting on the dunes praying next to a small church. I got out of the car and slowly approached them. They were singing quietly and the dune was glowing in the purple color of the sky. It was a wonderful moment and felt so far away from the reality of the busy beach only a few hundred meters away.

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Sunset pictures are the most obvious to take, but I loved the simple palm tree catamaran boats on the beach that made this a different sunset picture than anywhere else.

  • dinesh khanna

    do more of these, Sephi . . . you have the Eye . . and the heart . . and thats all it takes to make lovely travel photographs . . . especially love the 4 women in pink and the ‘poise’ and expression of the one on the left . .

  • dinesh khanna

    do more of these, Sephi . . . you have the Eye . . and the heart . . and thats all it takes to make lovely travel photographs . . . especially love the 4 women in pink and the ‘poise’ and expression of the one on the left . .

  • dinesh khanna

    do more of these, Sephi . . . you have the Eye . . and the heart . . and thats all it takes to make lovely travel photographs . . . especially love the 4 women in pink and the ‘poise’ and expression of the one on the left . .

  • its amazing that 4 women in identical sarees gather on a rock… there is some magic in that….

  • its amazing that 4 women in identical sarees gather on a rock… there is some magic in that….

  • Jackie Range

    hey sephi, wonderful pictures and that one with the girls on the rock is just such a stunning image – send it to the incredible india campaign or something – it should be everywhere!!

  • Jackie Range

    hey sephi, wonderful pictures and that one with the girls on the rock is just such a stunning image – send it to the incredible india campaign or something – it should be everywhere!!

  • Madhur

    learning learning and learning to get the eye like yours

    all the best!!

  • Madhur

    learning learning and learning to get the eye like yours

    all the best!!

  • Sephi,

    It seems I’m finding more people asking similar types of questions. I had been so busy photographing weddings that I couldn’t recall when I has just gone out to photograph…anything. Now that I’m no longer taking wedding bookings, I’m finding more time for creative photography without any particular goal in mind. It’s certainly refreshing, but moreso, it’s been challenging. Without the specific goal in mind, I find I have to think so much more about my photos. What story do they tell? What story COULD they tell? In the meantime, I take on mini personal projects based on random ideas I have and it provides me just enough of a goal to do more.

    Well said on your thoughts about travel photography. I continue to follow your work 🙂

    Best,
    Jigar

  • Sephi,

    It seems I’m finding more people asking similar types of questions. I had been so busy photographing weddings that I couldn’t recall when I has just gone out to photograph…anything. Now that I’m no longer taking wedding bookings, I’m finding more time for creative photography without any particular goal in mind. It’s certainly refreshing, but moreso, it’s been challenging. Without the specific goal in mind, I find I have to think so much more about my photos. What story do they tell? What story COULD they tell? In the meantime, I take on mini personal projects based on random ideas I have and it provides me just enough of a goal to do more.

    Well said on your thoughts about travel photography. I continue to follow your work 🙂

    Best,
    Jigar

  • Esther

    Hi Sephi,

    These pictures are lovely…kind of peaceful…
    I really like the one of the girls in the pink saris..:) All the best as you keep taking great pictures!

    Cheers,
    Esther

  • Esther

    Hi Sephi,

    These pictures are lovely…kind of peaceful…
    I really like the one of the girls in the pink saris..:) All the best as you keep taking great pictures!

    Cheers,
    Esther

  • I am with Dinesh – please publish more of these glimpses of India. They are truly fascinating. I would have never thought of photographing “travelers”. The first two images have a very Gary Winograndesque feel to them.

  • I am with Dinesh – please publish more of these glimpses of India. They are truly fascinating. I would have never thought of photographing “travelers”. The first two images have a very Gary Winograndesque feel to them.

  • Pallavi

    Hey Sephi,

    What depth of feeling in all these images…. theres so much more beauty & colours in your images than the human eye can possibly see…

    Big fan….
    pallavi

  • Pallavi

    Hey Sephi,

    What depth of feeling in all these images…. theres so much more beauty & colours in your images than the human eye can possibly see…

    Big fan….
    pallavi

  • Sephi, I gotta agree with Esther, the shot of the ladies in the pink saris is one of your all time best. Really amazing. The colors and the composition and the moment with her foot in the air about to touch the rock–WOW! A true decisive moment! Well done. I’d give anything to have this in my portfolio.

  • Sephi, I gotta agree with Esther, the shot of the ladies in the pink saris is one of your all time best. Really amazing. The colors and the composition and the moment with her foot in the air about to touch the rock–WOW! A true decisive moment! Well done. I’d give anything to have this in my portfolio.

  • Sephi, I gotta agree with Esther, the shot of the ladies in the pink saris is one of your all time best. Really amazing. The colors and the composition and the moment with her foot in the air about to touch the rock–WOW! A true decisive moment! Well done. I’d give anything to have this in my portfolio.

  • Whoah – Ladies in Pink is stellar. Great work

  • Whoah – Ladies in Pink is stellar. Great work

  • machlee

    pink ladies- stunning image!

  • machlee

    pink ladies- stunning image!

  • Kamini

    This is amazing! I love all the shots..

  • Kamini

    This is amazing! I love all the shots..

  • Tuiya Sirma x

    When I look at the pictures, I truly get inspired and just wanna be there! Awesome work Sephi.

    Tuiya.

  • Wow!Pictures are really fantastic.I really liked your photographs very much.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.

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