“It’s not the slick, commercial-type vistas that inspire my photography, but rather the quiet little corners and the people I briefly encounter”

Art of Seeing by Benedict Brain
What does travel photography mean to you? It’s an interesting thought to ponder whether you’re backpacking off the beaten track, heading off on a vacation or simply commuting to work… Fujifilm GFX 50R with Fujifilm GF45mm f/2.8 R WR. 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 100 (Image credit: Benedict Brain)
About Benedict Brain

Benedict Brain with camera

(Image credit: Marcus Hawkins)

Benedict Brain is a UK-based photographer, journalist and artist. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and sits on the society’s Distinctions Advisory Panel. He is also a past editor of Digital Camera Magazine, and the author of You Will be Able to Take Great Photos by The End of This Book.

Working on long-form projects is something I talk about a lot in this column. Last time, I wrote about an ongoing black-and-white project on trees in the urban environment. This time, I wanted to examine another project – it’s based on my travels, although I don’t consider it a travel photography project. I even have a working title: In Between.

I’m fortunate to travel the world talking about the art and craft of photography on cruise ships, which gives me a level of access that is the stuff of dreams. Calling the project ‘In Between’ alludes to the nature of that travel. I’m neither crew nor a fully fledged guest, and never in one place for long – more often than not, only a few hours, followed by long days at sea. So the work is evolving to be more autobiographical, more about my impressions and my sense of place than about informative destination imagery.

Travelling in this capacity, I slipstream into some kind of parallel universe between the various ‘worlds’ I inhabit. And this, in turn, informs my picture-making. The short stops in ports can be restrictive and riddled with frustration, however, I’ve come to embrace and even feed off the enforced boundaries. In Between is a travelog of sorts, a snapshot of the world, seen as fleeting encounters with various countries, cultures and characters. It’s not the slick, commercial-type vistas that inspire me, but rather the quiet little corners and the people I briefly encounter.

This pair of images, taken in Barbados, speaks to the essence of my fleeting encounter with the tropical island. Working with diptychs allows me to pair images and create resonance and alternative meanings. These two images are harmonized by their color, and work well together. 

Having a working title and some sort of creative framework to work within help the project evolve. Maybe it could culminate in a small book, exhibition or zine. 

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Benedict Brain

Benedict Brain is a UK based photographer, journalist and artist. He graduated with a degree in photography from the Derby School of Art in 1991 (now University of Derby), where he was tutored and inspired by photographers John Blakemore and Olivier Richon, amongst others. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and also sits on the society’s Distinctions Advisory Panel.

Until July 2018 Benedict was editor of Britain’s best-selling consumer photography magazine, Digital Camera Magazine. As a journalist he met and interviewed some of the world’s greatest photographers and produced articles on a wide range of photography related topics, presented technique videos, wrote in-depth features, curated and edited best-in-class content for a range of titles including; Amateur Photographer, PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Professional Photography and Practical Photoshop. He currently writes a regular column, The Art of Seeing, for Digital Camera magazine.