The Grand Canal in Venice in the fog | Photo by David C. Phillips
Photographic print available in the shop
The cold months of the year usually invite to reflection. As soon as the clocks are literally turned back, time, instead of racing by, seems to turn on a new mechanism, marked by the changing leaves. But this change in rhythm and pattern was felt very early on this year, back in March. As the first flower buds flickered to life and turned their faces to the sun, lockdowns descended on the whole world.
Travel came to a halt. People halted, too, sheltered in place and reflected. Then we once again sought refuge in nature and discovered that we could find beauty in the blackest of times. We started to cherish familiar territory and learned that travel doesn’t have to be about the destination, or not even about the journey, but about a fresh perspective on things. Travel is always about a leap of faith. For now, we have to put our faith in the vastness of our imagination, in the solace and beauty of our close surroundings, in the joy of rediscovering our own countries and in the flighting power of watching a sunrise from the peak of our own mountains. It is time to travel with intention. It is now that we can set the pattern for the future.
I have asked photographers and travel writers to join me and tell their stories during these exceptional times we are living. My guest today is photographer David C. Phillips It is a great pleasure to carry some of David’s photography in the shop starting with today. These photographs capture a wanderlust in a quiet sort of way. Each one is timeless in itself. Each filled with the emotion of the adventure and of the moment. Travel should be very personal, it should never be about sightseeing, but about living in the place we are visiting, however short or long that time might be. But I will let David’s beautiful photography speak for itself, and here David is sharing his thoughts on life and travel at the moment.
Above the rooftops at sunrise in Venice | Photo by David C. Phillips
Photographic print available in the shop
What are the positives you have taken away from lockdown?
I am almost embarrassed to say that, for us, lockdown has meant a tremendous increase in sales of our fine art photographs. Not what we expected at all. But it makes sense. People are stuck at home looking at their walls and naturally they think of what they could put on them to brighten them up. Since our photography is aimed at lifting the spirits, it’s not surprising we’ve seen a very considerable increase in sales.
On the travel side of it, we mostly haven’t. And we have missed that. But recently I took the plunge and flew to London, spent two weeks self-quarantined and then moved on to Paris to settle. It’s gone really well and life in Paris is getting better. I am taking a lot of photographs.
What helped you escaped during that time?
I think we were too busy to pay much attention to the restrictions. Honestly, we’ve been busier than ever. I didn’t feel any need to escape.
We all have more or less taken travel for granted. How do you think travel will change from now on?
Definitely more thought and planning will go into every trip. And I think we will value the travel we do much more than we have done. As you say, it has rather been taken for granted.
What is the first place you have travelled to after sheltering in place? What did you find the most surprising about this experience?
The first trip was accompanying my wife, Georgianna Lane, on several expeditions from our home in Seattle to some flower growers in southern Washington State and Oregon in order to help her with the photography for an upcoming book. It had to be done in order to meet the publishing deadline. What was most surprising was the enthusiastic help we received from everyone we contacted and met. They took precautions, as did we. But overall the experience was very easy and encouraging and resulted in really great photos for Georgianna’s book.
Are people creatures of place? Why is travel essential?
Well, I can talk from my own viewpoint. I love to discover new places and to dig under the surface, meet the people and photograph the place and the people so as to reveal their character. I am happy when I am traveling about half the time. But then I am ready to go home and consolidate edit, publish and then go out and start again. To me, there’s a world to discover and I’m not talking about resorts and fancy hotels. I mean real people and real places. So I don’t really know about everyone else. There does seem to be a general curiosity about the world. I don’t really know about holiday travel. For me, it’s always work and I prefer to go places with a specific intention in mind. I haven’t taken a vacation for as long as I can remember. But my work is very enjoyable.
But if there was a place you never wanted to leave, which one would that be?
It’s funny you ask that. The only place I never want to leave is England. But I’m not there any more! In my mind it is the closest thing to home. But I’m not seriously attached to anywhere. I usually find that if I have a purpose to be somewhere, I will live there happily and put up with any adverse conditions.
Three places I really want to go back to are Venice, Bhutan and Cusco and the Sacred Valley in Peru. But there are many others I want to go to. Too many to count.
Life and travel now: Photographers and Travel Writers Share Their Thoughts