tourist

Creating a Sense of Time and Place in Your Photography

A recent trip to Vietnam got me thinking about the importance of having a sense of time and place in your photographs. Certain images one can look at and instantly recognise the country, city or period in time the photograph is from. So how can we create this in our images?

I think the first and most important thing to do is to get to know the country, province, city, etc. you are in and the aesthetic features that are unique to that place. In some places this is easy - for example when you see black cabs, red phone boxes or big red buses, you instantly recognise that pace to be London. These components in a photograph also give a sense of time, although you might not immediately see it. How much longer will there still be phone boxes? They are mostly there to serve as a tourist attract now. And black cabs or red buses? Alternative transport companies such as Uber and Grab could possibly put an expiry date on these iconic symbols. When we look back on photographs of today’s London in ten years time it will be with a feeling of nostalgia.

A photo I captured in Soho, London in January 2019

A photo I captured in Soho, London in January 2019

The photo above for me has great connotations of time and place. The dapper mans coat and the leather gloves are quintessentially English, and could even give a sense of a time past - however the smart phone in his hands roots the photograph back in to the 21st century. As an example this photograph gives a strong sense of time and place.

A beautiful Vietnamese farmer in a conical hat.

A beautiful Vietnamese farmer in a conical hat.

So how can we use this in travel photography? Vietnam is a country where it is almost too easy to create a sense of place - the traditional conical woven hats are totally unique to the region and can be seen every which way you look.

A photograph of Vietnamese ladies cleaning seafood on a beach in their signature hats.

A photograph of Vietnamese ladies cleaning seafood on a beach in their signature hats.

As I left Vietnam and returned to Cambodia I began to consider what unique visual assets the country has. For me the most prominent are the krama - a traditional checkered scarf worn around the head - and the orange robes of the many Buddhist monks.

A photo of a Cambodian lady wearing a krama captured in Phnom Penh.

A photo of a Cambodian lady wearing a krama captured in Phnom Penh.

I would be really interested to hear what attributes make your country, or countries you have visited unique. Please leave a comment or send me a photograph to gemmasandell@hotmail.co.uk . If we can make a good collection I would love to create a post exhibiting the uniqueness of each country. We learn so much from collaborating!

New Workshops! New Workshops!

Guess what? I’ve launched some new street and travel photography workshops!

IMG_0491.jpg

After many requests for a half day workshop, I have finally listened and I’m now offering half day city or countryside workshop. This squeezes the best of bustling Phnom Penh city or the traditional Khmer countryside into a shorter tour - 4.5 hours. These tours are ideal for those of you with jam packed travel schedules or for when you just can’t hack a full day in the Phnom Penh heat. With rainy season approaching these shorter itineraries will also allow us to dodge those dodgy thunder storms!

Akira capturing the action at a local wet market on the one day street photography workshop.

Akira capturing the action at a local wet market on the one day street photography workshop.

I have also launched a new and very exciting two day, one night photography workshop. I’ve been doing a lot of exploring in the surrounding area recently and have hand picked the best spots for us to visit. This workshop is a real mix of travel, landscape and street photography. On top of that it’s a truly immersive experience into Khmer life. We will eat local food at local restaurants, stay in a small guesthouse in a rural village and spend our time with some of the most interesting characters in the region. The highlight for me is visiting a monastery to capture the nuns serving lunch to the monks - don’t be surprised if they invite us to join their feast too! This really is the most extensive and intense workshops I’ve done so far, and I’m over the moon to launch it. If you want a more detailed itinerary use the contact page to send me a request.

IMG_0610.jpg

As always - a big thanks to the recent participants, you have all been great sports (despite the heat!) and I’m excited already for this weekends tours!