Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
I have been incredibly fortunate to have traveled to Paris, London and Costa Rica. I have also been to Jamaica and several places in the United States. Everyday I am so grateful for those trips and the opportunities to further expand my mind and to learn more about other cultures and customs. During these trips I took some of my best photography and continue to use the skills picked up through travel experiences. As Mark Twain said, I believe travel is necessary to better oneself in many ways.
When I turned 16, my mom surprised me with a trip to Paris. It was challenging to process the idea of going outside the United States and it was so exciting. We had so much fun and it was the first real opportunity to use my camera (also gifted to me when I was 16). Below are some photos I captured while in Paris, and some lessons I learned about photography.
The Louvre Museum was gigantic. There were four wings and we barely made it through one wing. Surprisingly, we were allowed to take photos and so I snapped away. This was the first time I ever looked up at the ceiling of a museum. Although this photo is not the best, this photo reminds me to always look at everything around me. The ceiling itself was a piece of art. It was so intricate and gorgeous. It taught me that there can be beautiful things in every direction. This is something I have carried with me since then and I try to always observe everything around me to better my photography.
There is a ton of history to learn about all around the world. In Paris, we visited the catacombs. It was so interesting and a little scary. Who would have thought that under your feet while walking around some streets in Paris, there are piles and piles of bones? People have been living in Paris for a very long time and the number of bodies that piled up were becoming too much. When it rained, bodies would wash out onto the streets and the decay was making people in the city sick. A law was passed in 1785 to move all those bones into the existing limestone tunnels which is now called the catacombs. There are approximately 6 million people in those tunnels which included both commoners and royalty. When we visited, luckily there was lighting down there, but it was stated during the tour that years before if people wanted to visit the catacombs, they would have to do so with candles.
I’ve always had an interest in history. When we visited the catacombs, I gained an appreciation of that history that I feel has also improved my photography. It has given me perspective on how to shoot photos that will show that appreciation toward the people who died and in similar situations.
My overall message here is that travel broadens your viewpoint and expands your mind. It is good for your soul and for me it was a huge turning point in the way I viewed photography and the way I take photos. If given the opportunity to travel, take it. I love every single memory from my trips and hope that one day I will be able to see more of the world.