Coming Home, Traveling Abroad.
When I’m on vacation, I have a slightly different mindset these days. It wasn’t long ago that my day job was as an agency creative director, so when I’d go on vacation, I’d take the opportunity to practice my skills with a camera. I brought a lot of gear, not really having a sweet spot for my work. These were exciting but insecure days of shooting — my camera body was changing with every advancement in technology and I couldn’t decide if I was a zoom or a prime guy. The shots I took were, predictably, as all over the place as my gear. I don’t regret those days at all, but it’s different now. Better, I believe. At least calmer.
I hold a camera for a living now and my vacation photography planning has adjusted. I still want great photos, but I’m just far more confident about what kind of photos I want to get. And I’m not hijacking my vacation for photography opportunities as much. But while I’ve stabilized the gear, my approach to what to shoot and what not to shoot on a vacation is still evolving.
The rise of the “urban photographer,” “influencer” and “travel photographer” has changed how we look at images of travel. When my grandfather traveled, with his 35mm film camera, his entire purpose was to capture things that we back here at home hadn’t experienced and then share it in living room slide shows with a tray of dried fruits and nuts. His photos were fantastic, but he wasn’t trying to impress us with them or make a living from it — it was a log of sights seen and small shared moments with loved ones. Today, every destination imaginable seems to have a “bucket list” of spectacular images to get, like Pokemon cards, both from the ground and sky. And one can never tell whether the photos are from a vacation or an assignment. Or both. The push/pull of these images, which dominate social media feeds and impress, inspire and make us jealous, create a strange dynamic that took me some time to figure out. I’m none of those types of photographers, so why push my work in that direction? To what end would these banger images help me? New business? Not…