The world is both a small and limitless place, and once you begin to explore it, as Lou Jones has, you find out how little you know and how much there is to see. In his new book "Travel + Photography: Off the Charts" (Focal Press Elsevier; $29.95), Boston-based freelance fine art and commercial photographer Lou Jones helps prepare photographers to venture across the globe, sharing invaluable experience beyond lighting and composition. He broaches the realities of the world when you enter into other countries and cultures with a camera.
Caption: Construction worker, Alaman, Cuba. ©Lou Jones
As Jones stresses in his text, "you need to begin the journey with research. You cannot overly prepare before dropping into a new environment." Before you launch your own adventure, you would be wise to investigate this well penned guide. Jones' succinct, informative prose avoids the trap of self-involved rambling we often see from photographers writing about their work. Instead, he shares his color commentary in the photo captions for his photos, relating the unique circumstances of the shot and his photographic approach. In this format, you can soak up the straight information without bothersome detours of sentiment, or browse the images and enjoy the stories behind them. In brief sidebars, Jones shares lessons learned, like his discovery that any insulating material (styrofoam, blankets, cardboard) placed between his boots and the snow lends far more stamina to his legs and feet and allows him to go much longer without getting cold in freezing conditions.
The book covers protocol, consulates, embassies and the State Department, security and what to wear, what to pack in your own medicine bag, what to eat and when to drink the water, cash and credit, tips and bribes, dealing with language barriers, terrorism and taxes. Even if you're not carrying a camera (perish the thought), this book should make you a better, more informed traveller.
Click the link below to hear the Professional Photographer interview with Lou Jones. Topics include which airports are most difficult for photographers to pass through, why you shouldn't try to make jokes through an interpreter, and how Jones persuades even reluctant subjects to say yes.
Audio Interview with photographer Lou Jones
Professional Photographer Technology Editor Joan Sherwood interviewed Lou Jones on November 28, 2006.
Recorded with a SanDisk Sansa e260. Edited with Apple GarageBand 3.
Author photo (left) © Bil Gardener
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