What is Travel Photography?

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Graphic by Kayla Payne / The Flat Hat

Hi there. My name is Shreyas Kumar, and I like photography. I wanted to start this blog because I wanted to not only give an insight into travel and photography but to reflect on what I have learned and see what lies ahead for me. This blog is going to be tips on cameras and composition, as well as featurettes of my photos I have taken while going around the world.  

Travel photography can be easily explained in the name: it’s an area of photography that revolves around the global perspective. For me, it incorporates aspects of street and landscape photography when looking at composition. It also highlights elements of the scenery and differences in lifestyles that are captured within the frame of the camera.  

Unlike street photography and landscape photography, travel photography is very much subjected to the views of the person taking the photo, both literally and figuratively. This format is a specific type of storytelling for those who abhor staying in one place and living sedentarily, but rather have an insatiable  need to break out of it. However, travel photography shouldn’t be seen as the trendy Instagram posts that display an iconic location or landmark that “proves” that you went there. The goal of this kind of photography is for you to remember the moments you experienced in not only a visual manner but an emotional one as well. Your goal isn’t to prove to others that you went to a particular city or that you tried something new to show that you are somehow better.  

 For example, this past summer, I spent a week traveling to Seoul, South Korea to meet with some friends and explore a completely different culture, including trying out the food and checking out the fashion styles there. While I was waiting for one of my friends to show up, I decided to check out Namsan Park, which was conveniently located next to my hotel. For those who may not know, Namsan is a mountain in the middle of Seoul, and if you try to get up the mountain without a car, especially on a hot day, you will definitely feel like you will pass out on the spot. Luckily that did not happen, and I was able to take some photos of what was on the mountain before heading back down to meet up with my friend. However, I remember the steps I took to get up to a small plateau on the mountain to take the photo, the sweat perspiring off me and the increasing desire to get any type of cold drink near me. I remember seeing the towers surrounding the mountain shrink in perspective as I got higher up the mountain. I also remember that I was severely jetlagged from the 14-hour flight, and I was fighting any urges to fall asleep.  

What I want to point out was that the photos I take allow me to recall not just the visual memories, but the emotional, sensational and contextual memories that accompany them. I did not take these photos to prove something to my peers or random strangers, but rather to remember the moments that I want to cherish while they are still available to me.   

 I have included a few photos of the highlights of my time in Seoul. My next blog post will very much describe more of my time in Seoul and what I looked for and/or stumbled upon to get the photos I shot. I look forward to posting more stories and tips about my travels, photography and travel photography.