For travel photography, start small.
My first photos or film sequences when I arrive in a new place are of flowers, fruit, and architectural details. All these evoke a place for me much more than wide shot photos of static buildings. I also often take a sound recorder and capture moments of joy or peace, such as the rush of a waterfall, the hustle and bustle of a market, the rhythmic rocking of a train or the incessant bleating of sheep.
Get to know people before you photograph them.
I have lots of photos of people in streets and cafes from my travels, but most of them I never spoke to. I end up wondering what kind of people they are like. If you can, introduce yourself to the shopkeeper, waiter, or child and ask about their lives before taking photos of them. You will find that the photos have more meaning for you and will feel much more warm and intimate.
Find a visual theme in a place and photograph it repeatedly.
I love how the Georgian doors in Dublin are architecturally similar yet so colourful, some with plants, other with quirky knockers or elaborate windows. This is something I photographed repeatedly whilst there, so in the end I had a series which evoked so much of the charm of the place and the people who lived and worked behind them.
Let photography enhance—not detract from—your experience of traveling.
I find that concentrating on details or meeting people and taking photos of them opens up my experience of a place. Arriving in a new location can be overwhelming with all the smells, sounds, colours and extreme temperatures. Concentrating on something or someone in the midst of that through the lens of a camera helps me to slow down and appreciate the experience.
My passion for film-making stems from my interest in not simply traveling but in exploring other cultures. I made my first documentaries in Kazakhstan during my field work in anthropology for my undergraduate degree and Masters. In 2007 I began working in broadcast TV as a researcher, including working on documentaries for the BBC and Discovery Channel for which I filmed in Puerto Rico, Monaco and the Bahamas. I was then commissioned in 2008 to produce my own series of short documentaries for Current TV, traveling around the UK, Spain and Kazakhstan. Since 2009 I have been at University College London, working with researchers and students to turn their work into short documentaries.
Rob’s film from Kazakhstan
Rob’s film Rowing for Gold