Travel photographer Tamás Simonyi​ on capturing places & faces all over the world

Travel photographer Tamás Simonyi​ on capturing places & faces all over the world
The striking red and gold colour palette makes this photo from within the Shwedagon Pagoda really pop. (Image credit: Tamás Simonyi​)
  • Mission: Document lives around the world
  • Photographer: Tamás Simonyi
  • Location: Hungary
  • Kit used: Nikon D750 (opens in new tab), Nikon D80, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6, Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5,  Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

"I started taking photos with my East German Praktica film camera when I was a teenager. I already preferred to capture photos of people – mostly my schoolmates. At university I was asked by the school newspaper to submit portraits of fellow students. This was 1970s Hungary, when commercialism was still unknown and we were surprised to find that such cover images lifted sales substantially. I travelled extensively on student trips around Europe and documented my journeys. Looking back on these images, I must admit they would hardly make the bottom half of any photo contest these days. 

I made the switch to digital in 2007, when I realized the format could match the quality of traditional analogue cameras. The additional possibilities ignited my imagination and, despite being always busy as a businessman, I restarted photography in a big way. 

A friend turned me onto Nikon cameras 15 years ago and since then I have invested heavily. I realize that kit is not all important, but it can certainly expand your possibilities. I do wish quality cameras and lenses were lighter though, as I’d happily carry twice as much in my kit bag if I could!

This monk (above) was photographed in Myanmar in front of Yangon’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda. He was sitting there motionless, ageless. The color of his robe and his expression harmonized perfectly with his environment. What really grasped my attention was his sunglasses – the black plastic contrasted with his surroundings and the accessories obscured his eyes, adding a sense of mystery.

Tamás tilted the camera by accident and ended up liking the composition more as a result. (Image credit: Tamás Simonyi​)
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This desert photo (above) was taken in Wadi Rum, Jordan, a couple of hours’ drive from Petra. This is the most beautiful desert landscape I have ever seen, with fantastic rock formations. Our guide decided to make tea in the middle of nowhere, just as the sun was setting. I placed my camera an inch above the ground as I didn’t want to risk sand finding its way into the body. I didn’t realize the frame was slightly tilted, but the image came out even better this way.

This candid shot allowed Tamás to get a natural expression that wouldn’t have occurred if he’d asked the subject to pose. (Image credit: Tamás Simonyi​)
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The lady sitting beside the statue (above) was photographed in Quito, Ecuador. She was deep in thought and occasionally made faces, not realizing who she was sitting next to. I used the long end of my zoom and took one shot, causing her to look up at me in surprise. I bowed in thanks and she indicated it was no problem before sinking back into her own world".

See more of Tamás' incredible work by visiting his website (opens in new tab).

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