aka: How to Fuel Wanderlust. Here are some lesser known travel photographers you might also find inspiring.
(Featured image by me, taken while in Bagan, Myanmar.)
I’m perpetually enabling my own wanderlust. I admit it. One of the ways I do this is through Instagram. I discovered some brilliant travel photographers there by searching hashtags. In case you are looking for some inspiration as well, here are some of my favorites.
Mihaela Noroc: This is Humans of New York on visual steroids. I hugely admire Brandon and his work which provides a space for people to tell their own stories. Unfortunately, the photographs are often a bit weak. Mihaela’s work does a combination of telling people’s stories through third party and first person. She is not quite the storyteller that Brandon is, but she is a much better photographer. What draws me to her work even more is that she creates a definition of beauty that empowers women globally rather than restricts them. In fact, one of the things that fascinates me most about Mihaela is that her work is one answer to the question: is there anything unique that women or a specific gender can bring to the photographic art form?
This is a place where people invite you into their small mud homes and open up their lives to you. It's a very harsh existence but it's all they have ever known and they continue to live as their ancestors did. I took this photo almost two years ago in one of the most remote places on earth: the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. Today I start my journey in The Caucasus, with Georgia. #TheAtlasOfBeauty #AroundTheWorld #Afghanistan
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Dewan Irawan: I know very little about Dewan Irawan. I came across his work when following hashtags for Indonesia and he focuses primarily in that country. This was before I had visited the country… four times. His work, along with Nur Kholis’ is part of what draws me back to Indonesia repeatedly. I still feel like there is so much more to see in that country.
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Fiona Annal: Fiona is a stay at home mom living in the Orkney Islands with her picturesque family. She’s also an extremely talented photographer and has mastered the dreaded Instagram “Grid” like nobody’s business.
Tamara Merino: For fearless women artists check out the womenphotograph instagram. Tamara’s work stunned me when it came through, especially her work in India because how many people work with and photograph cannibals?? I’ve been following her ever since.
This is Tamara Merino @tamaramerino_photography happily taking over the women photograph feed this week! · The Aghor is a cult that eats human flesh for specific rituals and immerse in environments where death surrounds themselves as part of their daily routine. They live and perform their rituals in the cremation grounds, which are mainly based on chanting mantras and making offers to the sacred fire and to their god Shiva. But despite their extreme practices and lifestyle, a true Aghor will keep himself away from killing, and will never hurt or damage anybody. · · On the other side of the Ganges River in Varanasi, lies a white sand beach, where Aghors perform rituals during the new moon. Baba Ram Mahesh, on the left, and his disciple Pandi are performing the Puja, a ritual based on chanting mantras and offering alcohol and cannabis to the sacred fire, as their god, Shiva, used to do. Varanasi, India. · To see more of my work visit: www.tamaramerino.com · · · #India #varanasi #aghori #rituals #spiritual #spiritualpower #holy #holyman #photography #documentary #documentaryphotography #sonya7rii #35mm #sonyalpha #sony @sony @sonyalpha
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Rehahn: To be fair, Rehahn probably deserves a spot in the below “celebrity” list. He is quite famous, but I only encountered his work for the first time on my most recent trip to Vietnam. I’m incredibly impressed with his efforts to have his work benefit, document, and even protect indigenous tribes in the area. He’s also a superb portrait artist. I haven’t seen many who are so evocative and technically clear.
Hidden Smile ( #Theoriginal – 2011 ) Madam Xong became like a grandmother for me. She is one the cover of my first book Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrast and her portraits has been added officially to the Women's Museum in Hanoi on 8th March 2016. Since, she became the most famous woman in Vietnam, has appeared on more than 15 tv shows and published in more than 40 countries. This photo has always been an inspiration for painter, architects and hotels who have no idea about copyrights and some photographers who came to Hoi An to reproduce the shot (as Vietnamese say: same same but different) Anyway, it's a honor to be an inspiration for so many people! #rehahn_photography #igs_asia #portraitpage #vietnam
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Nur Kholis: I found Nur Kholis when following hashtags for Indonesia and fell in love. There’s both a richness and delicacy to his work that constantly commands my curiosity. He’s recently begun to post his camera settings as well which I appreciate as I work on my own photography.
Note: For some reason his Instagram account recently went down right before this post went live, but keep an eye out in case it comes back up.
Travel Photographers Celebrity Category
When I first began engaging with the travel photography world I also came across these hyper-popular travel photographers and was totally in awe. I have never had a fangirl reaction, but I might if I met these folks. However, the more I photograph, and the more photographers I meet, the more I learn backstories to many of these photographs. And I’m not always thrilled to learn how photographers I idolize treat their models or the communities they visit, or how they pass off staged photos as “spontaneous.” Which has left me a bit less enthusiastic about their work. Of course it’s impossible for me to know just how prevalent this is, or even if all the popular photographers do it, but it was a bit of a rough fall from the pedestal.
That aside they produce stunning work and these are the travel photographers who you see the most in magazines and art galleries.
Goggles and a scarf barely shield this worker from the choking dust and smoke of this ship breaking yard in Mumbai, India. He stared directly into my camera for a few seconds before resuming his dangerous work.
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Imagine if something as simple as walking long distances on dirt trails with everything you need on your back could bring you more happiness & less stress? … no way.. I mean that's way too easy right? . There has to be a more complicated solution… surely this is something technology should solve. 😉
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Of course you are also welcome to follow me on Instagram @curlywandr. (Shameless plug, obviously.) Finally, I realized when I put together this list that while I adore diversity, I appear to be missing photographers based in the African continent. If you can recommend some to me – please do!