Why Photograph when traveling?

Ladies pose in Sukhothai

Sukhothai, Thailand.

Some cultures in the world believe that if you photograph them you take a piece of their soul with you.

If you allow me, I would like to exercise that idea a little bit.

As a photographer, when people look into your camera it feels the same as if your are directly having eye contact with them. Even though, that is technically impossible because the camera is in front of your face. Later when you come home and look at the pictures it looks like they are still having eye contact with you. They will forever have eye contact with whomever that views the photograph. If the person is sad or happy it will usually show…You can feel their sadness or happiness through the image. Could it be possible that the thing that once used to be called the ‘magic box’ and which today is called a camera captures something more than just light…? Probably not (sorry, to those of you that started to get excited). When we look at a picture of a sad person we probably project our own thoughts of a sad person on to that image and thats why we feel something. However, it is an interesting thought and I wanted to share it with you.

A lot of the emotions I talked about above are why I love taking pictures when I travel. The pictures I bring back with me makes me feel like I brought a piece of that place with me home. The two ladies in the picture above will forever look me into the eyes and dance for me…


Traveling and photography.

Travel and photography

Sukhothai, Thailand.

Travel and photography are almost becoming synonymous.

I have difficulty imagining anyone travelling anywhere and not taking pictures. Why not? We all want to keep our beautiful memories (and possibly brag on Facebook…I would never do such a thing but I’m just saying…).

In these high tech times smartphones has made us all photographers. Even the very few that usually didn’t want to bring cameras when they travelled have no more excuses. Sometimes, it has happened that I travel just to photograph. I get a lot of complaints from my beloved and patient wife but I love photographing so much that it is uncontrollable. I love how it feels like the images from our trip prolong our journey. When I come home and start editing my pictures all the memories comes back to me. Although arguably, I do not think that images portray reality in a very good way. Memories fade, yes, and pictures are static and two dimensional so they last as objects. However, pictures are an abstract construct, forever ambiguous and with time they get more and more abstract and disconnected from reality. For now, photographs are the best we have to help us keep our memories in a shoe box or a photo album but perhaps in the future, with the help of technology, we will have better options.

Everybody has their own reason for why they take pictures on their journeys. Some people sell images on stock, some publish books, some have exhibitions and some just like to collect pieces of the world like I do.

If you like travelling and photography please leave a comment and explain why you like to photograph while you travel. Can you imagine not bringing a camera on you next journey?

Lady and the Mekong river.

lady and mekong

Vientiane, Laos.

What would street photography be without people…?

For me, it’s all about the people. I need people in my photos and if I don’t I get bored. Even when I’m photographing a sunset in south-east Asia I want someone to be in my picture. If you go to my website you will see that 99% of the photos that I choose for my collections always have people in them. I think it makes pictures more interesting and more easily relatable when people are ‘dancing’ in them. If you talk to a lot of photographers that are interested in making music or dance as well as taking pictures they will tell you how closely related photography is to music and dance.

That’s why I always would like to have people in beautiful movements in my pictures, like a dance, or like they are moving ‘on beat’ with the rest of the geometry of the image. For me, a photograph is like a poem without words but instead of words the image touches us with geometric compositions, shadow and light, color… Just like how important it is to include or not include some words in your poem to make it more impactful in a similar way it is absolutely crucial what you choose to include or not include in your images. It works the same with music. The silence in a song and its timing is equally important as the sounds that make up the song…

Of course, you also have to be in a certain mood when you photograph the streets. You have to play a song inside you. You have to feel it…It’s almost like falling in love…

Bangkok Night

tuk-tuk driver

Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok nights are spectacular!

If you are thinking about going just go! Don’t think twice. I have been there many times and every time I go I always have lots of fun. I also love photographing Bangkok. There are so many things to photograph on the streets and in the temples. Most people don’t mind when you take their picture and for the most part Thai people are very friendly. Beware of the Tuk Tuk drivers though, they can be tricky. (Tuk Tuk is the Thai name for motorized rickshaws).

Two ladies in conversation.

stockholm conversation

Stockholm, Sweden.

If you like to travel in Europe and you haven’t been to Stockholm you are really missing out on an incredibly beautiful and romantic city.

The city is around 800 years old and many parts of it is on islands. The public transportation is great in Sweden so you need not worry about how to get around.

Like most european towns and cities Stockholm is a great destination for street photographers. There is no secret that I am crazy about street photography. If you are into such things you will love Stockholm.

This image is from a collection of street images on my website focusing on Stockholm.

Boat and the Gulf of Thailand.

Boat and the gulf of Thailand

Koh Chang, Thailand.

Stayed there for 19 days once. Absolutely loved it.

This island of the east is very photogenic, quiet and peaceful. In the center of the island it is quite untouched so if you are into birdwatching or other island rainforest activity you are going to enjoy it there. It is a much quieter place than many other thai tourist destinations but that was what I liked about the place the most.

Go there and buy a hammock, listen to the waves and eat delicious thai food.

Men and Umbrella.

Men and Umbrella

Vientiane, Laos.

One of the most amazing places I have ever been to is Laos.

This image is from Vientiane, the capitol city. The most busy place in Laos but still this charming city gives you a small town feeling. Vientiane is probably the quietest capitol city in south -east Asia. Laos, as a travelling destination is one of the most peaceful countries I have visited. The first time I went there was on my honeymoon with my wife. We stayed there for a month and traveled from Vientiane to the border of southern China and later also into China from there. We visited many other countries during that excursion but Laos will forever have a special place in my heart.

Laos has a population of 6,6 million so it also makes it one of the greenest places I have visited.

Me and my wife have a thing for handmade silk so we rented a motorcycle and drove up the mountains to buy the silk directly from the ladies in the villages that make them. Luckily for us my wife is great at reading maps! We drove to many villages and every time we saw one of those weaving tables under their wooden huts we stopped and knocked on the door. It was a great way to see the country and also to meet so many locals. Most importantly we wanted the families to get the money from us directly instead of selling the silk cheap to some middleman that would probably underpay them for all their work.

If you are ever interested in going there I really recommend it. Laos is absolutely magical with all the diverse cultures living there and the glory of its rainforests and waterfalls should high up on anybodies bucket list.

If you are interested in going and you want some travelling advice just write me a comment or email me from my website.

Temple and man.

Temple and man.

Sukhothai, Thailand.

This image belongs to a collection that I have been working on for a long time. The collection is called ‘Shadows in Sukhothai’. You can se the entire collection on my official website. If you love travelling and if you have any interest in Thailand in particular you might enjoy the collection.

Rice fields.

rice field mountains

Central Thailand.

Central Thailand is sometimes referred to as the “rice bowl of the world” as Thailand is one of the largest exporters of the grain.

The best way to experience the vast green fields of Thailand is probably from the back of a motorcycle. Nothing really gives me the same sense of freedom. Sometimes, I have been riding for hours and all I could see was green fields. If you don’t carry heavy photo equipment, which I unfortunately do most of the time, you can probably get away with a camera just hanging around your neck. If you see something interesting just stop, take a picture and move on to the next thing. I love it.

Little girl in reflection.

little girl

Nakhon Nayok province, Thailand.

I have travelled to Thailand many times. I never get tired of it.

A trick that I learned a long time ago when I was living in Los Angeles helps me a lot when I get bored with a place that I’m living in or travelling through. I get lost. I am not joking, I literally force myself to get lost. I travel roads I have never taken before. Always, something magical appears. Specially, if you are into documentary and street photography. Try it sometimes. Getting lost hightens your senses to maximum and you notice things you might have ignored at other times.

I saw this little girl dancing by the water one morning at a small lake in central Thailand. I loved how the reflections in the water seemed to dance with her. I walked up to her because I thought I might take a portrait of her. This little girl was beautiful like a dream. I was completely mesmerised by her. Still lost in the beauty and charm of this little girl, when I finally walked away, I suddenly realised that I didn’t even take her picture from up close like I had planned…