a strong desire to travel.
We all have it. Restfulness. Sometimes you get tired of photographing the same streets, the same places, the same faces. And you need to go, somewhere, anywhere else. The camera is curiosity manifested in a physical form, how many times you have trespassed on private property, or maybe approached someone and asked if you could take a photograph of them? Would you have done it if not for the reward of a photograph? The camera makes us question, makes us explore, makes us confront.
One of most romantic enduring images of being a photographer is the road trip. Just you, your camera, an airplane or a car, a destination, or maybe the journey is the destination. Maybe you have the images in your mind that you want to make. Maybe you just need to be in an unfamiliar place and the photographs you make are a reaction to those surroundings. And you know how hard it is to explain to the non-photographers in your life why you just up and want to go somewhere randomly out of the clear blue. Four years ago I was working on a project, and I had this urge to fly to Detroit to make photographs. I remember telling my wife, and she asked me “Why did I want to go to Detroit?” Mind you this is right after Detroit had filed for bankruptcy, and my response, which has no become my go to response when talking about photo trips to non-photographers was, “I don’t know, I gotta see what’s going on in _______ (fill in blank with destination)”
Have a f**king Leica, Will Travel…
After I calmed down my buyer’s remorse from buying that f**cking Leica, I wanted to go somewhere with it. Personally I don’t think any camera has put the wanderlust in me like the Leica has. Just throw it in a bag, with a bag full of film, and hit the road. A few months after I bought it, I picked it up one day and it said to me “So, where are we off to?” I replied, “I think we’re going to go to Hollywood”
After developing the photos and resting at home for about 6 months, I got the itch again. I asked the Leica, “What do you think about going to Vegas?”
The funny thing is, I never considered going on a trip somewhere (with the sole purpose of making photographs) until I returned to film. I took a cruise with my wife back in 2009 and I took so many digital photos that it was such a chore for me to go through and edit them (I had the intentions on making a book….and I still do!). I never had the urge to take a photo trip with a digital camera for that reason, dealing with the deluge of photographs when I returned home. Traveling with film does have it’s challenges, mostly when you are flying somewhere, which would make a good future RTF discussion. But the perks far outweigh the challenges, which in my opinion is getting the film to and from where ever you are going, and remembering to bring enough film! I’m always of the opinion of there is not such a thing as bringing too much film (I personally love to fill a ziplock bag full of film)
20 rolls of sweet Delta 400 in that bag, I ended up shooting 17, and that was me trying to be conservative! Last thing that you want to do is run around on a trip looking for film (especially if where you are going doesn’t have any camera stores that sell film, but even if I were going to somewhere like LA, Chicago, NYC, places where you know you definitely can find film, you never know what prices you’ll run into, and if they’ll have the film that you’re looking for!)
As I write this, my Leica and I are currently preparing to make a trip to Washington DC, and I am excited at the potential for photographs that should result!