Last September, it seemed uncertain whether it would be worthwhile to do our biennial issue on travel photography. The cost of gas had rapidly escalated to more than $4 a gallon. As the general public struggled to afford just commuting to work every day, it seemed as though foreign travel might become a luxury reserved for the rich.
Then something unprecedented happened. The price of a barrel of oil, which had topped out at about $145, plummeted to about $35 in just a few months. Unfortunately, the worldwide economy imploded along with it. But for travelers and travel photographers with some discretionary dollars, the price drop meant they would get another shot at affordable travel.
These are challenging times, but one constant that remains is society’s curiosity about experiencing foreign cultures. The world is a photographer’s playground for great imagery. With the election of Barack Obama as president, Americans can also hope that we will be viewed in a better light around the world and feel more welcome as visitors abroad.
In this issue of PhotoMedia, we examine the work of three of the industry’s foremost travel photographers from the western United States.
Our cover story on San Francisco’s David Sanger will acquaint you with his traditional approach to travel stock photography. His wanderlust has carried him to more than 100 countries, providing him with a broad a catalog of the world.
Chris Rainier, of Telluride, Colo., taps his anthropological sensibility with his black-and-white fine-art-style images of the world’s native cultures, in an effort to preserve their traditions before they are overtaken by Western influences. As the director of the National Geographic Society’s All Roads Project, Chris has spearheaded an effort to build relationships with local photographers who document their own ways of life.
While Art Wolfe is the most featured photographer in PhotoMedia’s history, we felt compelled to revisit his work since he embarked on his ambitious and award-winning “Travels to the Edge” TV series on PBS for the last two years. Art shares behind-the-scenes tales about the making of the show and provides some insight into his business decisions to diversify into this new channel and reach a broader audience.
On a personal note, I became more aware of the precious gift of sight and the joy of photography after recently undergoing cataract surgeries on both eyes. After a noticeable decline in my vision over the last year, it is extremely gratifying to be seeing perfectly again and discover that modern medical procedures can achieve such results.
Now more than ever, please let our advertisers know that you noticed their ads in PhotoMedia – our future depends on it. They deserve the utmost appreciation for supporting this publication and enabling us bring you in-depth coverage of the world of photography for free. We welcome your opinions and encourage you to share PhotoMedia with others who love photography.
Gary Halpern, Publisher