In today’s increasingly hectic world, travel is more accessible than ever before. We live with a generation of jetsetters: we can step outside our front doors and be on the other side of the world in less than a day. Matching the modern popularity of travel is a contemporary resurgence of travel photography that gets to the heart of a location and brings it to the attention of people around the globe. With the world at their feet, travel photographers have an endless supply of photo opportunities to explore. The world’s beauties have never been more accessible. Armed with their cameras, contemporary travel photographers are turning their twenty-first century wanderlust into the perfect photographs.
Determined to showcase the world to their peers – and presenting a challenge to the ‘Generation Instagram’ – a wave of contemporary travel photographers are proving that the art of photography is still very much alive. With the world as their playground and a lust for the perfect shot, here are the top 10 contemporary travel photographers in the world right now.
Jeremy Snell is a Hawaiian born photographer who has made himself known for his portraits of people around the world who are often unseen. He is more concerned with people than the places themselves, and has built a portfolio of his travels to the outermost corners of the world. His mission is to photograph the locals of isolated locations, such as Mali, Uganda and India.
His intimate style captures the locals in a way that makes the observers feel as if they are being personally introduced to the real person behind the photo.
With the passion for photography running in his paternal ancestry, cameras have always been in Finn Beales’ blood. Having grown up watching both his grandfather and father being keen photographers, he caught the passion himself as a teenager. With a preference for the natural beauty of isolated regions, Beales describes his style as being totally absorbed in the scale of the world’s physical wonders.
He is known for travelling to isolated locations all over the world, where he spends 72 hours encapsulating the unique atmosphere of each one. The results are love letters to Planet Earth, capable of humbling almost any observer.
Annapurna Mellor is accomplished in both writing and photography, but it is through the latter that she truly stands out from the crowd.
Travel photography exists to tell the stories of the world’s places in photographs so true to life that the observers feel like they have been there themselves. In contemporary travel photography, this storytelling trend has a spiritual emphasis. Annapurna answers this trend through her use of colour. She perfectly captures the spiritual essence of every location through its colours: from vibrant reds capturing the joy of India, to dazzling golds that embody the feel of Thailand’s holy temples and worshippers.
Lauren DeCicca is a keen traveller and photographer living in Burma. She’s well known for her profound portraits of the local residents of every place she visits.
DeCicca strives to photograph people suffering from PTSD, depression, disease and other common problems in the world’s most deprived countries. More photojournalist than pure photographer, she expertly captures the reality of life. She describes her ultimate aim as mending the “schism” between these people and the observers, through a series of images demonstrating the similarities between their spirits.
Vallen Alexander Gillett
Vallen Alexander Gillett is an urban photographer whose talent lies in capturing the common grit and spirit of urban life. He is unique amongst professional photographers in that he has never taken a photography class. Instead he has learned through self-tuition and trial and error. He has nonetheless excelled in urban photography.
His images blend elements of street photography with harsh shadowing through a black and white lens. The result is reminiscent of the Pulp Noir film genre, as in Million Dollar Baby and Pulp Fiction. His series on New York, entitled “Streets of NYC”, shows a side to the ‘city that never sleeps’ that is usually only seen by true New Yorkers.
The second photojournalist to make it into this list, Fabio Bucciarelli, is an Italian with humanitarian priorities. His pictures focus on telling the story of war from the front line, from the perspective of the innocents caught in the crossfire. A portfolio that heartbreakingly captures the harsh reality of war on locals.
His most successful venture has been documenting the Syrian civil war (“Battle to Death”), which won multiple awards and has been featured in national publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal. His images are striking and at times harrowing, profoundly showcasing life in a war zone.
Mattia Passarini is another on this list focused on capturing the story of a place through honest, profound portraits of its local residents. He believes, like other portrait photographers on this list, that the true spirit of a place lies in its inhabitants. Specifically, he has a passion for photographing the diversity of life in remote regions, and in recovering lost or dying cultures. He has a portfolio that is largely centred on unique traditions and indigenous tribes.
Capturing indigenous people and their everyday lives, Passarini perfectly depicts cultures that are on the brink of extinction.
Based in Singapore, Nguan’s photography tells a different side to the story of living in one of the world’s megacities. His images find a way to portraying calm in the storm that is city life, focusing on scenes that bring stillness even to the busiest place.
The most profound example of this unique style are shots of Tokyo’s famously hectic Shibuya, where the world’s craziest crossing is showcased in an almost peaceful light. His photos are a freeze frame, a snapshot in time where for a second everything stands still. They’re the cities you know and love, only something is different.
Natalia Horinkova combines her passion for travel with her talent for photography, and her style reflects the combination of these interests. Passionate about meeting new people and soaking up local culture, her photography is focused on capturing the everyday life of the people she meets from all over the world. Some of her best photos include a local woman balancing fruit on her head during her daily walk to work and a man diving for fish in the sea in Zanzibar.
From Bali to Madagascar, Natalia has a talent for turning the most mundane tasks into captivating works of art.
His style blends elements of street photography with a flair for capturing the harsh reality of the elements. Often situated in some of the world’s biggest and busiest cities, Jacrot’s portfolio is focused on thunderstorms, pouring rain and snowfall. He is known for his photos of the New York City that residents experience during rain storms. One significant shot is that in which Times Square is witnessed in an incredibly rare state of abandonment.
A more recent project saw him hike through an intense blizzard in Iceland. The photographic outcome is, quite simply, breathtaking.