Gavin Gough is a freelance travel and editorial photographer, originally from England, currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. His images have appeared on everything from postage stamps to billboards, in magazines, newspapers, guidebooks and advertising around the world, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Telegraph, Geo, National Geographic Traveler, Wanderlust, Lonely Planet and many more.
We´re proud to count on Gavin Gough´s knowledge and experience, so we would like to grant him his predisposition to contribute and share it with our readers.
Question.- Gavin, What does travel mean for you?
Answer.- Saint Augustine reportedly said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read but a page” and I agree with that sentiment. Travel broadens our horizons, allows us to explore and experience cultures and traditions beyond our own and, ultimately, teaches us not only about the wider world but about ourselves as well. We know ourselves better when we can view our own lives in the context of others’. I feel very fortunate to have been able to see so much of our world and I’m always conscious that not everybody has the same chances that I do. Those of us who have the opportunity to travel and explore really ought to take advantage of our ability to learn what we can through travel.
Q.- When did you started to feel that your future was linked to photography?
A.- I used to work as a Systems Analyst but always had a desire to travel more and my interest in photography really came from wanting to record my experiences. I’ve been a full-time, professional photographer for 11 years but I’ve been an enthusiastic photographer for much longer. I guess my
first experiences of photography came when I was a child and I’ve wanted to follow in the footsteps of travel photographers ever since.
Q.- Beyond the technique ¿How do you tell a story with a camera?
A.- I think the most important thing about being able to tell a story is not about the camera but to use all the senses we have available. It’s not possible to tell a story well with only a superficial understanding, we are better equipped to tell the story well when we spend time in a location, getting to know the people, understanding what’s happening and seeing behind the scenes. Often it takes many visits to really appreciate what a story entails and the greatest rewards come when we have invested sufficient time in a story. There are no short cuts.
Q.- According to a photographic perspective, What kind of things do you analyze when you prepare a destination?
A.- Actually, I don’t always do a lot of preparation. I prefer not to have too many preconceived ideas about a location or a story and think I work better when I am open to the experience. I do read articles about a location but tend to avoid guidebooks, other than for planning logistics like transport and accommodation. The best preparation is simply to ensure that the camera gear is working properly, that I have whatever medical and specialist kit is appropriate for the trip and then to keep an open mind.
Q.- Gavin, What’s the most important project that you’ve done in the travel and photography field?
A.- I honestly believe that every project is equally important. If some were more important than others then I might not devote the time and energy that each deserves. The most important project is always the current one.
Q.- Tell us more about your Bangkok Photo School project and its aims.
A.- I founded the Bangkok Photo School in 2008 and we aim to teach photographic skills and techniques to photographers of all levels, from beginner to advanced. But we try to teach more than just the technical aspects of photography, those things that people could read in a book. We try to include a lot of practical work, based upon the experiences of our tutors, who are all working professional photographers. We hope that our students get a lot of very practical advice from their time in our classes, which prepares them to be more creative, thinking photographers.
Q.- Where do you think that is addressing the future of the professionals of travel and photography? Are you optimistic?
A.- I’m always optimistic 🙂 Sometimes, I hear people say that the market is too saturated now that cameras are so affordable and travel is so accessible. It’s true that there are a lot of people trying to be travel photographers but those who are willing to invest the time to really explore a location and tell a story in greater depth will always produce more appealing work and I think there will always be a market for good work. It’s easier to publish work now than it’s ever been and I think that’s a good thing. The Internet allows me to reach a far wider audience and I think the opportunities for photographers are growing all the time. It’s an exciting time to be a photographer.