Travelling Along the Distance of Familiarity
Better Photography|February 2021
Humans carry an indelible penchant for travel. We began travelling far back when civilisation did not exist. Our reason then had to do with fulfilling out dietary needs. As time progressed we settled down and ceased foraging, but this did not stop us from travelling. We continued to travel out of curiosity, out of a need to conquer, to barter, and to learn. With the invention of the camera, travelers turned photographers could visually document the sights that they witnessed. Photographs became sought-after records, and perhaps held more significance than oral and written testimonies. Photographs also became a gateway for those who didn’t have the means to travel, to learn about cultures different from their own.
Conchita Fernandes

Today, we cannot imagine travel without photography and photography without travel. Perhaps it has got to do with our initial experiences with photographs and/or the camera. No family trip is ever complete without pictures that attest to it. Even the photographs that we are exposed to in magazines or academic books are mostly all travel pictures. This early infusion perhaps led to the development of an ingrained sensibility that places travel and photography on the same pedestal. It is what most individuals starting their career in photography aspire for. It is almost as if distance provides the right impetus for photographing, making it true and worthwhile. However, it is this very distance that also overshadows our immediate environment. There’s nothing preventing us from photographing the places we inhabit or the ones that are close to us, and yet we seldom do. Instead, the camera is set aside for grander, even foreign excursions. It’s as if familiarity cancels out the need for visual documentation because at our very core we believe that these moments or subjects will always be around to photograph. What we forget though is that familiarity, as is the case with everything else, breeds in an environment that is constantly evolving.

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