As we already told you in the first part of this interview, Steve is a writer and professional photographer who traveled the world capturing amazing pictures and living an adventurous and extremely interesting life. He dedicated us a bit of time explaining some aspects of his photography and his own idea of travel. Here you are the second part of his interview.
- Is travel photography changing according to you? How?
All of photography is changing. It is polarised. There is a lot of unimaginably bad, self-indulgent dross being created all over the world. People simply recording every tiny facet of their lives without any thought or creativity then deluding themselves that they are being profound and that the world is interested. I have a couple of young kids and it is a lot like having a bunch of toddlers in charge of the internet. This is contrasted by a lot of people producing a lot of seriously creative, incredible, well thought out work. And as they are travelling more than ever to the most far-flung places, then sometimes the results are incredible.
- When does a picture totally satisfy your expectations and which are according to you, the main aspects that characterize a good travel shot?
A good travel shot, a good shot in general, will engage the viewer and create some engagement with them. I have a belief that the viewer of a picture will have a similar experience to the one that the photographer had when taking the shot. If you are engage and excited, then they are likely to be so too. If you are bored and disinterested, then guess what?
- Do you think culture is important to make photography?
Culture is the real key to any photographs of people. I love to explore other cultures, see what is going on and engage with people. I am incredibly nosey. I love to know what is going on and what the story is. Over the years I have developed a real empathy with other cultures: I love to both absorb and challenge them. I have realised over the years that people are all pretty much the same. They are all curious and a bit nosey (about us); they love to get involved and enjoy a damn good laugh. The differences (culture, religion and nationality) are interesting and often photogenic; but essentially we are all the same.
- Let’s talk about composition. Is it fundamental in order to allow the image to communicate?
Composition and the elements that you choose to combine in the frame are vitally important, but I think that you have to take a step even further backwards. The first step – before any thought of composition is to stop and think and work out what the subject means to you and what you would like to communicate to the person looking at the picture. Once you have done this, then the rest of the decisions – including composition – flow a lot easier.
- Is the research or investigation (of a place, of people, of a single person) before a shooting important according to you?
Research is important for some subjects. You have to make sure that you can understand people and events and where they are coming from culturally. Especially when you are photographing festivals – after all, you don’t want to miss the main events, or spectacularly fail to know what is going on. As well as the preparation, you also have to be reactive and flexible. Stuff happens and develops and you need to be able to photograph what is there: not what you wish was there.
- Many people before you captured your own city or subject. What do you think about this? How do you behave in front of these very popular subjects?
I am really bad at photographing London; although I have lived there for some 30 years. It is hard to be inspired by somewhere that you know so well. Having said that, I am in the process of looking for a place to live outside of the capital – to be closer to some better schools for my ten year old daughter. This has prompted me to look at London with new eyes. Not only am I really struggling with leaving it, I am looking at it all with new eyes and am getting more inspired to photograph it more, before I leave!
Steve also leads his own unique travel photography tours to some of the most exotic and photogenic parts of the world. More information on www.bettertravelphotography.com