“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it…” That’s what Geoff, my old college tutor, used to say to me as he was rejecting my latest photography efforts back in 1995 and in a way what he said drove me on to became a travel photographer. Well It’s up there in the pantheon of dream jobs isn’t it, traveling around the world taking pictures for a living. Although like any passion, after a while you do get a love/hate relationship with it, and things are rarely easy or straight forward are they?
I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the places and experiences I’v had working as a travel photographer and to keep an occasional travel journal as I go along on new assignments. I hope you find it interesting, please let me know what you think.
Lapland for Lonely Planet Magazine: The job was to travel with a family of Sami herdsmen for a couple of weeks while they guided their Reindeer herds through sub zero Northern Sweden. Apparently it’s in the list of top 50 things you have to do before your fifty…
First thing I notice is that the snow is 4 – 6 feet deep and we are wearing very thick all in one suits over our already thickly layered winter wear. I’v never been a skiier so this was an interesting new experience. It makes moving around a wee bit difficult & we waddle around like giant toddlers in romper suits! Add to this the huge effort it takes to walk through waist deep snow & despite the subzero temperatures I’m sweating like a pig and wishing I was a lot younger & fitter! Umm – better make that top 50 things to do before your forty!
Nowadays the reindeer herders use snowmobiles rather than ski’s, thankfuly. However this is a cross between riding a very frisky motorbike and a jet-ski. Needless to say, after an eight hour day of riding, well I say riding… more an assorted falling off, digging out, getting on, falling off… (Repeat when necessary), I’m left feeling compleatly knakered & wishing I was a lot younger & fitter!
Still I should get a good nights sleep. Oh, by the way, I’m sleeping in a lavu – traditional tipi type tent with five heavy snorers at minus 12 •c. I luv this job – lol!
Tomorrow it’s – how to survive a White-out at 2000 meters at minus 20•c… And by the way we can’t find the route down off the mountain…
But hey don’t panic! Why? Because we have a secret weapon, that’s why! His name is Kenneth. He’s big, he’s hairy, he’s hard! It’s his Reindeer herd, he knows these hills like the back of his hand and after a few false starts he manages to find us a path down. Just as well really as its getting on for 11pm, we’ve been on the trail for a good 14 hours and we are all cold and tired. Mind you – “If it was easy – everyone would be doing it…”
On a positive note – this is one of the best things I’v ever done – It’s exhilarating, surreal and completely sublime and it was a real privilage to experience an aspect of the Sami way of life and the good news is – you can do it too with Lennart Pittja at Pathfinder Lapland – Thanks also to the wonderful folk at Lonely Planet Magazine for sending me there! You can see the finished article in the Dec 09 issue of Lonely Planet Magazine and more images at http://www.garylatham.co.uk