I have just my tickets to Thailand for a trip next month to photograph the 1st Thailand Ultramarathon and I guess you could say it is making me feel a bit nostalgic. After all, Thailand was the jumping off point for me. It was the first country I visited as a “photographer” over ten years ago now. I have to admit looking back on it now, I was so young and naive- as a photographer that is.
I only have a small selection of images digitized from that trip since at that point in time, digital camera’s were not producing images that were considered professional quality so I was traveling with a Canon 10D (which was the top of the line digital SLR camera available at the time), a EOS 1 film camera, a Maymia 7II medium format camera and a selection of lenses and I even had a whopping 4 gb flash tracks portable hard drive with a 2.5 inch screen to back up my images on and of course a whole bag of 35mm and meduim format film- B&W and Colour. Needless to say, most of my best images from that first trip were taken on film and buried in a filing cabinet in my office.
The biggest mistake I made during this trip, was not doing enough research and planning. Yes, I knew all there was about my camera’s and how to protect my unexposed and exposed film while I was traveling. I even knew how to protect my gear from getting stolen while out shooting on the streets. But I didn’t have a clue about what I was going to do once I got there. I thought, I could just show up and start clicking away and I would end up with a great story to sell to a magazine, boy was I wrong. I had some great adventures and had some great experiences, but since I was not organized with a clear vision of what I wanted to shoot and where I wanted to go, I didn’t have a cohesive story to pitch to a magazine. Sure I got a few shots to put in my portfolio, but it was not the launch pad for my career as an international travel photographer that I expected it to be.
So looking back through these images now is a bit of a bitter/sweet experience. It brings back some great memories- wondering down Koh San Road after just landing in Bangkok and being totally free of all responsibilities with this huge great adventure in front of me and a few painful ones as well- a few broken hearts (mine included), being overwhelmed by the sheer foreignness of the city, and now looking back, seeing all the missed/wasted/poorly executed images that I didn’t capture during that trip. It is partly why I am so excited to go back there, because I know that the first time I went there, I didn’t capture what I wanted to capture on that trip especially the samui villa rentals area.
The above image and this next one, are my two favorite images that I have on my computer from that trip and though I have grown and changed as both a photographer and as a person in the last ten years, I can see the person and the photographer I am today in both these images….
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