I recently read an excerpt from a book entitled, A Year in the World, that reminded me of the magic of travelling. Ever since I was young, I've felt an insatiable Wanderlust—a need to not only see other parts of the world, but to experience them on a level that is "close to the ground"—to experience life as a native. I often wonder about the lens through which others view the world, and how their experience shapes their perceptions of me as an American traveller.
I believe that it is this same curiosity that calls me to travel that also attracted me to photography. When interaction with others is impeded by a language barrier, it causes one to slow down, to watch, to observe. My perception of the new is intensified by only being able to observe and react by photographing. My purpose in photographing is similar: to create photographs that enable experiences rather than a mere visual replica of what I've seen around me.
"Travel pushes my boundaries. When you travel, you become invisible, if you want. I do want. I like to be the observer. What makes people who they are? Could I feel at home here? No one expects you to have the stack of papers back by Tuesday, or to check messages, or to fertilize geraniums. When traveling, you have the delectable possibility of not understanding a word of what is said to you. Language becomes simply a musical background for watching bicycles zoom alongside a canal, calling for nothing from you. Travel releases spontaniety. You become a godlike creature full of choice, free to visit the stately pleasure domes, make love in the morning, sketch a bell tower. You open, as in childhood, and—for a time—receive this world. There's the visceral aspect, too—the huntress who is free. Free to go, free to return home bringing memories to lay on the hearth."
—Excerpted from A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes