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Travel Tips, Agencies and Stock Library Options?

Hi Everyone,

Apologies first, this will be a long post.

Backstory then the questions.

I’m in a bit of a creative rut – I’ve recently graduated and I’m chipping away at my own business. I’ve fallen mostly into events and light news work… It’s well paid, especially if I land a couple more clients, but dull and I find myself at a crossroads.

In the early days of my study I was that irritating idealistic youth – ’I’ll change the world with my images!‘. With clearer and possibly more cynical eyes I now recognize that while still holding that objective to heart I’m beginning to aim for the enjoyment of my work, the interesting and possibly important stories that I may cover all while maintaining the finances I need to live a turbulent, but ideally comfortable life.

I digress.

I’m realizing I could tough it out for the next 5 years, send out folios, work for a local paper and push my way up a hierarchy weakened by the online trend. Instead of looking forward to that challenge, the prospect of photographing the proverbial cat-in-a-tree fills me with dread and causes the creativity gland in my brain to shrivel. This, coupled with the dullness of event work, has spurred me to make a change, and like so many in their twenties I’ve heard the call of travel to broaden my horizons. While I’ll have to come back to this one day, travel now while I’m young seems to be a good idea.

I’m keen on the idea of passing through south east asia, India and Nepal and possibly other locations should they interest me. I have a lot saved for this and I expect I’ll have the ability to travel for 6 months, but quite possibly much, much longer than that.

While I expect this trip will give me a chance for relaxation and personal growth, I’m also keen on using it as an opportunity to develop my style and portfolio. With the vast amount of time I’ll have to play with I’m aiming to put together stories as I go – words, pictures and audio. I’m fairly sure of my ability to put together a good story ( www.lukakauzlaric.com ) but I’ve no idea how to sell them.

Here’s the first question: I know a little about agencies and stock sites, but is there a market for travel/human interest stories, and if so, would they accept multimedia and/or words? If not, is there some other avenue I can use? I have a hypothetical story I run around in my head of a fish market in a small village, visiting it 3-4 times during my stay: Broad and detail shots followed by a focus on a young man with his boat heading out with his lantern just before dawn, returning to his stall in the busy marketplace, selling his catch and taking some home for his family at the end of the day. Coupled with words and an audio track containing the sound of his paddles hitting the water, the yelling of the market and the birds returning to roost in the evening. The sell-ability of this exact hypothetical may be quite limited but as an example I use it to indicate the small stories I hope to encounter and document in a very interesting way while immersing myself in my travel and the experience.

I’m packing fairly light – my m9, a 35mm lens, possibly a telephoto if I can get my hands on one, a small laptop and a couple of hard drives for image security. I’m also packing some binaural microphones and a sound recorder allowing me the chance to put together multimedia pieces from the field should I want to.

Have any of you been on an open ended trip like this? What do you wish you knew before you went? Am I heading towards some unforeseen trouble? Or is this simply a stupid idea to mix my travel and work in such a way? Or should I simply stay at home and chip away on the career long road?

The plan is to arrange this once the last of my client commitments end in late July.

Thanks for taking the time to give this a read, I hope to hear your thoughts and honesty’s appreciated!

Cheers,
Luka

by Luka Kauzlaric at 2012-05-11 04:15:29 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

The way you say ‘stay at home and chip away on the career long road’ just makes me cringe. It reminds of this quote by Mark Twain:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover”
- Mark Twain

Hope that helps :P

Pack less and shoot more!

by daniel jones | 18 May 2012 22:05 | Quito, Ecuador | | Report spam→
Thanks Daniel! I’ll admit the more I think about the trip the more excited I get – but any tips on the agency side of things? Is it at all possible to turn this from a holiday into a career move?

by Luka Kauzlaric | 20 May 2012 07:05 | Melbourne, Australia | | Report spam→
Keep it small and keep it focused…. if you want to explore a new place AND expand your professional life and set yourself apart, then think about spending 3- 4 months in one place on one story, not just 3-4 or visits. Frankly, to make your story stand out you will need more time and more images. Also forget about scripting the story in your head before you have even arrived. If you are truly interested in the fishing industry and the pressures on small fishermen then be prepared to be surprised and follow the story where ever it leads you. Wanderlust, “passing through” and an expense account wont get you far in this highly competitive market. If you are investing your time and money then take more care and be more serious about it. Hope this is helpful.

by richard sobol | 21 May 2012 17:05 | | Report spam→
Sobering but helpful Richard. I’ll admit I don’t have the dedication – yet- to spending 3 or 4 months in any one place as I do want to keep moving an seeing all there is to see. In my defence I didn’t want to seem like I had some sort of script – the hypothetical above was the product of an imagination running in excitement at the small possibilities, but I do understand the point you’re making.

Perhaps I’l have to play it by ear. There’s no limit on my time, so if a story really ‘jumps’ out at me I’ll take your advice and hang around for as long as it takes to get the story right.

by Luka Kauzlaric | 22 May 2012 00:05 | Melbourne, Australia | | Report spam→
Luka, sorry I can’t offer any advice on agencies and careers, as I just am not familiar with that side of photography.

I chimed in, because I myself traveled for two years to make a photobook.

I was going to suggest exactly what you said. Be flexible, be on the move when you want, but when something, somewhere, or some people attract your attention stay for awhile. I respect Richard’s view, but I myself am less professional.

When I look back to the book I created, the places and photos that have the most character are from the places where I spent longer. I have a hard time photographing people that I haven’t at least built some rapport with. For others, this is not a problem.

Sooner or later that excitement that is building will overflow!

by daniel jones | 22 May 2012 02:05 | Quito, Ecuador | | Report spam→
Yep…pack less, shoot wide, and stay long!

Building up a rapport with your subjects over a few months could be invaluable.

Oh and be careful on that boat with an M9!

by Matthew Richards | 22 May 2012 12:05 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
Daniel:
Thanks for the insight. Out of curiosity, how did your photobook go? It’s something I could look into as well if there’s a series at the end of the trip – did it re-coup costs or was it a personal exercise?

Matthew:
I intend on packing my things, then unpacking them, discarding 30% of what I’ve packed, then re-packing. Anything I miss I’ll buy! :)
I’m actually thrilled and terrified about taking an m9. In terms of a tool it’s perfect for travel – hitting the sweet spot in terms of size versus quality, but I swear I’m going to insure it twice.

by Luka Kauzlaric | 25 May 2012 06:05 | Melbourne, Australia | | Report spam→
Luka, remember that everything clothing-wise is most likely made out here in SE Asia, as regards packing light, you could almost come out with an empty bag, bar your camera. Clothing is good and cheap and readily available…don’t weigh yourself down – and remember it’s hot out here!

by Matthew Richards | 26 May 2012 00:05 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
Luka, for me it was more of a personal exercise, however I wanted it to be of quality and detail that I could show anyone, including potential publishers. It is mainly a photobook but tried to set it apart with some story of my trip (minimal). I hope interest can be generated in it, but I am not crossing my fingers. I am happy with the way it came out and it will be something I have for the rest of my life. I also do have many friends and family that will pick up a copy and that alone will recoup the cost 10 fold.

by daniel jones | 01 Jun 2012 13:06 | Quito, Ecuador | | Report spam→

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Participants

Luka Kauzlaric, Photographer Luka Kauzlaric
Photographer
Melbourne , Australia ( MEL )
daniel jones, daniel jones
[location unknown]
richard sobol, photojournalist, author richard sobol
photojournalist, author
(www.richardsobol.com)
[undisclosed location].
Matthew Richards, Photojournalist Matthew Richards
Photojournalist
Prachuap Khiri Khan , Thailand


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