Travel and photography are so closely linked that we probably don’t wonder at it anymore. It is so commonplace thanks to high-resolution wallpapers and travel websites. Oh yes, we do wonder with awe at the sight of our beautiful landscapes and panoramic vistas; but that takes up just a couple of our senses.
True travel photography is something that goes beyond travel brochures and wallpapers. The Photographic Society of America defines a travel photo as an image that expresses the feeling of a time and place, portrays a land, its people, or a culture in its natural state, and has no geographical limitations (source: Wikipedia).
True travel photography takes you along and immerses you in a story about the place. Truer travel photography might even interest you enough to look up its history. At the very least, a great travel photo will tell you something more about the world we all live in. Here are some photography websites that aren’t just eye candy, but open up the world for us.
Lens is the photojournalism blog on the New York Times. As my colleague Nancy once said, this is a photography website to bookmark if you are a serious shutterbug. And I also pointed out the same if you like your news in pictures. The same quality of reportage on the news site extends to the photos from around the globe. Photo essays from South Sudan will move you, while Edward Burtynsky’s aerial views should show you the human impact on the world we live in. Lens not only features the best from The NYT but also from other publications.
Magnum in Motion is another photography showcase takes the format of photo essays. As they take you around the world, the photo essays tweak the usual photographic narrative by using a combination of photos, audio, video, graphics, and interactivity. It’s like viewing a video slideshow. The grim photo narratives could change your view about the world, and there’s a chance you won’t list this website under “travel”.
We return to cheerier places with probably one of the reasons many of us feel like escaping to adventures. National Geographic needs no introduction. But you might have to go through a free sign-up process if you are here for the first time. The neat categorization of the innumerable photos is a feature. So are the learning tips for wannabe travel photographers. Check out Travelers of the Year to feel inspired or the Traveler Photo Contest to test any inspiration when the next one comes along. Alternatively, it’s far easier to show your work on Your Shot which is open for everyone.
The second name that combines the best of travel with photography. Maybe, more of the former and less of the latter as it is one of the best international travel guides. But the Flickr photostream where you have landed displays the best from the Lonely Planet community. You can join the popular Flickr group and take part in the challenges while exploring the world with the help of eye-catching photos.
Put together by Geoffrey Hiller, this WordPress blog is a treasure trove of photography insight from some of the best in the field. The large index of photographers on the right column is the quickest way to access their portfolios and see the world from their lens. But the best part of the blog is the interview given by each photographer that takes you behind the picture; the shared stories are revealing about the place, the people, and the photos themselves.
In their own words, they are a non-commercial collective of street photographers from around the world. I am blindly copying a line from their manifesto, but just so because it is so true — The pictures remind us that, if we let it, over-familiarity can make us blind to what’s really going on in the world around us. The advantage of watching street photographs is that it catches everyday life as it happens, without the drama and the planning that goes into other kinds of photography. The photographers on In-Public come from different countries, and so do the street photos they exhibit. The Pic of the Month page is a quick way to glimpse some of the best work.
Trover is more of a regular travel photography website that is trying to bring the travel enthusiast and the photographer on a common platform. It is about travel discovery through the lens of the common man; and that gives the other wannabe travelers an insight into some of the little known places around the globe. At first glance it might not seem like a big deal in the age of Pinterest and the very visual travel websites of today, but Trover has some really candid photographs from the nooks and corners of the world. Also check out the featured lists. A growing community and the full-complement of mobile apps support the health of the site.
Photos may be inanimate, but they do speak silently. The rich variety of photos from around the world inspire us not only to travel, but also broaden our outlook towards different cultures. You can also add these nine photoblogs to your “watch-list”, just to experience the world in all its colors. Everyone travels, and I think nearly everyone snaps travel photos. Do your own travel photos have their own stories to tell? Where did you snap your best travel photo?
Image Credit: Nik Cyclist