From a chance encounter with an oracle to daily life in an ashram and a rural Tibetan home, Adventures in Travel Photography is a light-hearted collection of travel stories about unexpected friendships and photo opportunities that emerge from a series of connections with people on the road.
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Very refreshing! Unlike the travel writer that is fixated on sharing their “amazing experiences”, April Fonti only reveals herself in these scenes because she has too much integrity to pretend that a mysterious white woman has not just fell upon these far-flung locations. We sense that if she could just become a part of the scenery she would do so – happily snapping her pictures from those quiet spots. Instead she let’s herself be taken into these worlds at the pace of each of her hosts, honoring them so well that, at times, she sets aside the photographic mission and puts the camera down, letting the scenes tell their own story.
Where she is trapped in her own Western perspective she is honest, goes lightly, and does not apologize. There is danger but little heroics when she is off-off-off-grid, writing simply and practically, as if she were a strong swimmer in tricky currents. Her subtlety allows for her own amazement and growth to flicker compellingly in the shadows behind these rich portraits. We end up wanting to know more about her. What we do know, is that she is a strong swimmer.
I have always felt uncomfortable taking photos of people in developing countries. The first time I visited India, it felt like such a horrible voyeuristic experience, that I sold my camera to keep going, to keep seeing.
Since then I have travelled through India many, many times on my own. Although I ended up developing a successful career in commercial and editorial photography back in Australia, I never travelled with my camera again.
That was until 2009, when I was on holidays from a very hard-headed job as a picture editor at the national news agency.
I had decided to subsidise the trip by taking a few glossy type stock photos as a tax write-off. But the stock photography never happened and instead, I fell into a very slow and intuitive way of travelling that led to more natural photo opportunities.
Follows is the story of my journey towards finding a more authentic way of approaching travel photography in developing countries.