“How to explore the world with photography.” Sounds like a huge topic for such a little blog post. It’s really not.
Everyone should take some time out of their day to explore their world. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get out there and see the beauty, and the beast, of our world. Small and steady, or go big; with a camera or a pen or a paint brush. All that matters is that you get out there and do it. I prefer to explore the world with photography.
How to Explore the World With Photography
Here are five tips to help in your explorations. Most of them are helpful even if you’re not a photographer.
1./ Start in Your Own Backyard
Literally. Explore your yard, then branch out to your town, your province or state. Play tourist-at-home. First, you’ll discover things you didn’t know were there – the things only marketed to tourists and strangers; the things we always put off until ‘tomorrow’ because ‘I can go there any time”. But ‘any time’ never happens.
Then you’ll get bored, it’s true. Power through that, though, and you’ll start to see your home in a whole new light. Perhaps you’ll fall in love with it even more and be inspired to share it; perhaps you’ll realize some challenges and be inspired to fix them. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to just keep looking.
2./ Use What You Have
Any camera is better than no camera. Don’t worry about having all the latest and greatest gear. Use what you can afford and are comfortable with. Just capture the moment and the world. The same is true for other mediums.This photo was taken back in 2001 with a $10 grocery store, completely automatic, point and shoot 35mm camera.
Not an artist at all?
The point is to explore the world any way you can, not spend all your time concentrating on something else like art or specs or technique. And maybe, after your day of exploring, you will share your story with others.
3./ Give Back While You Explore
Find a way to give back to the communities you explore (including your own) with photography – or your hobby/interesting/area of expertise of your choice. This can be as simple as creating pet portraits the SPCA can use as adoption photos, or as elaborate as travelling on a volunteer tour.
I travelled to amazing countries like Nicaragua and Morocco with The Giving Lens and worked with youth photography programs.
Make sure you research the company ahead of time, however, to ensure everything is above-board and respectful of the people and place. Make sure what they’re doing is wanted/needed by the community. Some volun-tour companies only help the tourist.
4./ Speaking of Research…
Research the area (again, this includes your own!) to put what you are seeing and experiencing in context.
How does this community make money? How has it changed over the years? What challenges, conflicts, and successes have the people and land experienced? How did the region become the place and people it is today? How does the culture vary from your own, and from the other culture around it?
Answering these questions will help you understand the area and will give you a greater respect for what you encounter.
Tell people about your home and your travels. Write about them. Actually print your photos and share them – cards and calendars make great gifts, and photo and scrap books are wonderful ways to look back on the places later. Don’t just lock your memories away on your hard drive.
Everyone should take some time out of their day to explore their world. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get out there and see the beauty, and the beast, of our world. Start small. You’ll be rewarded.