Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Photographer

There is a section in the excellent book 'Travel Photography' by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz (first published in 1998) that addresses the issue of "Loneliness & Worse" for the dedicated Travel Photographer.

They write: The majority of travel photographers are either single, or have very understanding partners who are willing to put up with prolonged and erratic absences. Many relationships fail under the strain, the more so when the photographer comes home full of anecdotes and excitement, and the partner has been slaving away at a nine-to-five job.
(Hicks, R & Schultz, F, 1998: 4)

My own continuing travels for the sake of snapping have brought home to me (especially when I am away from home) just how isolating and lonely the business of travel photography can be. Walking into a hotel and reserving a room "for one", standing at the bar on my own while all round me are chatting away to each other, and (for me worst, of all) eating alone in a crowded restaurant all serve to emphasise the point that I am well and truly by myself.

At this time of year, when the nights are drawing in earlier, and I am away, the point is driven home even harder, as I don't have the opportunity (and evasive tactic) of shooting until late in the evening. It means that I have have more time to sit by myself and wallow in the misery of being the lonely long-distance snapper.

The real irony, is that I have always thought that one of the main benefits of travel is to share the excitement with someone else. But, unlike Hicks and Schultz, I don't have a "partner" either in the field or at home, at the moment.

So, there is an an opportunity, here, for a travel and photography orientated person who wants to see some of the world to team up with a travel photographer who wants to share the world that he is seeing. My email address is in the right hand column!


  1. I suppose Stephen you could substitute the word Photographer in your Title with many more professions and find the same stresses(if I can call it that) in the term "Long Distance" and in particular the strain it puts on relationships.
    Hope your request for a "travel and photography orientated person" results in a filled postbox with suitable offers. Make sure to keep us posted

  2. I take your point Ger. The problems associated with work that involves travel could equally apply to any number of jobs that require the worker to be away for long stretches (criminals excluded from this point). The irony for me is that I travel alone, for the sake of travel, and I am of the view that travel is best enjoyed in company! Thank you for your good wishes. I won;t hold my breath!!

  3. Ah I don't know Stephen -- much stranger things have happened.
    I'm a wee bit optimistic actually.

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  5. The concepts of optimism and inebriation are not necessarily mutually exclusive, are they?

  6. Good sir, are you insinuating I am an optimist?


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