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More than the distance

俞祎君 Aggi Yu 2018-04-10 13:38

The ‘footprint’ column on the page of mafengwo.cn showed that Nathan had already been to 24 countries, over 142 cities and left 507 of his footprints. After 2015, Nathan had been to more countries. Having a glimpse of the lonely snowy plains in Biei; looking for the blue door in Portello market; walking in the field in Moravia, Czech; entering into Giuseppe Meazza in Italy; feeling the beauty of desert and sea to the fullest in Morocco... 


The beginners mind of Travel Wind 


“I despise all the shoot because I think all the scenery should be seen with our eyes.” It’s hard to imagine a famous landscape photographer saying those words! But by the roots, it is a trip around Qinghai Lake that results in Nathan’s dramatic change in the view on photography. He said,“This trip made me really aware of the charm of photography and my inner passion of photography. Facing this, it was great pity to record it only with eyes, I had a strong impulse of photography, from out of control.” 


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A city with uniquely humanistic atmosphere is a favorite destination for Nathan. He likes to do everything with local people, such as enjoying meals, drinking coffee, watching ball games as well as going to the fair. The process of listening to their stories, learning the manner of dealing with people can also prompt Nathan to think deeply. Traveling is an approach of bringing change and growth to Nathan. He said, “Now I always talk to my friends and students that photography is never the most important thing. Photography can be a way of recording but not the dominant part during the journey.” 



Nathan is also a map enthusiast. A road map is always drawn by him before and after each trip. On the road, he also goes to a vintage bookstore to look for an old map. He said, “The main purpose of drawing a map is to make the lines simple and proportional on the map so that more people can understand the information at a glance.”

 

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Travel photography group is a project to organize photography enthusiasts to take pictures in scenic spots together. The idea of this project began during the Nathan’s first trip to Morocco in May, 2015. After returning, he made a series of travel sharing sessions. After that the public voice of the plan to take people to go to Morocco for taking pictures is more and more heated. Then, after six months of preparation, Nathan left for Morocco with photography enthusiasts. It has already been the fourth time for Nathan to take a photo group to Morocco in June this year. During each trip, they all will meet many interesting people and things. He said that once he went into the Sahara Desert with the travel photography group to shoot the sunset, however, they were caught up with the worst sandstorm in recent years. On the next day when they went out of the desert, they came across the snow. Just imagine that surprise, all depressed mood was swept away. The interaction with local people is meaningful. Nathan said, “The driver Mohammad got along very well with us during our journey. And on the afternoon of the last day, he invited all of us to his home for lunch. He lived in a ordinary family but the great hospitality and warmth of his families moved us a lot.” 


The Future of Travel Wind 


‘Travel photography’ in the eyes of Nathan is more like a hobby. While some travel enthusiasts or travel web celebrities always make money while travelling, on the contrary, Nathan merely views photography as an addition to his travels. Nathan said, “Nowadays, more and more people are willing to go out to take photos, so I would like to make the thing more professional and more unique, take them to see the world as well as learn photography techniques.” When asked about whether there is competition in the business, Nathan said, “Now more and more people also do this, I think it is a good phenomenon because each photographer has his or her own unique style and familiar destinations. I hope that the market could be better, after all, there are many operational things that need to improve and standardize.” 


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As a photographer, you would love to shoot fresh subjects and explore different destinations. When it becomes a job, he or she needs to be the same place repeatedly. When conflicts between ideals and reality, Nathan found two ways to balance them well. 


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The one way is to seek different subjects. “I have been to Morocco five times. The differences are caused not only by the seasons, weather or luck, but also by the change of the subjects for taking photos and my own focus. During my recent trip, I paid more attention to the details of the local artifacts. I was more concerned about Muslim life and the composition of the old city of Medina formerly. We go to the local taking photos with a certain theme. It will become more interesting, more deep and more meaningful than that of the last time.” 


The other way is to constantly explore a new destination. “Because of time and family, I arrange the tour for 6 to 8 times. In my free time, I go to two or three new destinations in order to stimulate creative passion and to enrich materials for taking photos. Only by coinciding my interests with my work to a dynamic balance, can I work positively in a virtuous cycle.” 


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Nathan said his next destination is Israel. Shooting the local cultural landscape by oneself is also the difficulty and challenge of creation. The theme of the pure scenery, like Scottish Highlands, is what Nathan wants to capture; natural landscapes barely touched by humanity being something that calls out to the deepest parts of our soul. 



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