Traveling to Photograph, Photographing to Travel

When I first started traveling I carried a camera to remember where I’d been. It was a visual compliment to my journal. I took snapshots and kept the prints in a shoebox, sometimes scanning and posting them online.

Traveler Relaxing in the Courtyard

Snapshot of a traveler relaxing in the courtyard of a hostelin Dingle, Ireland. At this time I carried a manual Canon FTb with a 50mm lens and a few rolls of color film.

There’s nothing wrong with snapshots but they left me a timid photographer. I shot inexpensive 400 speed film and point & shoot digital cameras. My experiments didn’t turn out well so I didn’t pursue them. I didn’t carry a tripod, remote shutter release or filters.

Graffiti at La Alameda
Wide-angle view of the Graffiti at La Alameda in Quito, Ecuador, shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 film with an Olympus Stylus Epic point & shoot 35mm camera.

Over time I grew more comfortable with my equipment and started seeking images I could photograph well. At some point, photography became part of my motivation to travel.

Flying Paper Lanterns over Koh PhagnanThousands of paper lanterns flew over Koh Phagnan, Thailand on New Years Eve. Shot with a Canon A1 camera and 50mm f/1.8 lens on on Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

Now I aim to make photographs that not only help me remember a place but more importantly help the viewer understand the world a little bit better. I do not call this art, although I’m often looking to record elements of beauty.

Arroyo San Jose

Waterfall at Arroyo San Jose in Marin County, California. Canon A1 with Velvia 100 slide film.

As the journey is to the destination, I consider the photographic process to be just as important as the outcome. Far from making me a passive observer, the process of making a photograph engages me with my environment. I try to push my limits with every shoot and every trip.

To do otherwise would risk me coming home the same as when I left.

Guy Deckard

About Guy Deckard

Guy Deckard recently stepped away from his corporate cubicle life to travel. He likes to meander with an analog film camera in one hand and a cerveza in the other.