Craig Ferguson is a professional photographer based in Taipei, Taiwan specialized in editorial, commercial and travel imagery. Craig’s work has been published in prestigious guides and magazines like Lonely Planet or National Geographic. Craig Ferguson is also the founder of Taipei Photo School and the Light Your World workshops, two initiatives that let him share experience and knowledge with other photographic enthusiasts that are based in Taipei.
When we saw Craig Ferguson´s work for first time we realize that he´s quite interested in capture the Asian culture, its landscapes, festivals and people, and analyzing his pictures we conclude that he has achieved this goal. Pictures composition, colours and scenes are really majestic. Craig has captivated us and after read our conversation with him we hope you to been captivated as well.
Question.- What does travel mean for you?
Answer.- The short answer would be that it’s a way to see and experience different lives and culture. The longer answer would be that it’s a way to see and experience different lives and cultures, and by doing so, reaffirm that we’re not really so very different. No matter who we are or where we come from, we have more in common with each other than we do things that set us apart. Family, friends, love, security, happiness. People all over the world seek the same things and share their lives with those close to them. The language spoken may change, the God(s) worshiped may differ, the celebrations and festivals may be for different reasons but people everywhere walk similar paths. Travel can open one’s eyes to that fact, and remind us that we have lots to learn and lots to share with those of other cultures. Not everyone is in a position where they can travel, so I consider myself fortunate to be able to, and also that I have a responsibility to portray a fair and accurate view of a culture in my photographs.
Q.- After graduation you went to Asia and according to your bio, you fell in love with this continent. What mean Asia through a photographic vision? Which are the elements that make this continent unique? Beyond the technique ¿How do prepare in order to tell a story with your camera?
A.- Somewhere just over half of the world’s population lives in Asia, and with that great number of people spread throughout the various countries, there’s an even greater number of traditions, cultures and ways of life, and each of them has a countless number of stories to share. It’s that diversity and variety occurring in a relatively small area that gives the continent it uniqueness. When I prepare to tell a story, I have two, more-or-less opposing methods. If I’m going to photograph something specific, then I’ll do a lot of research beforehand. I was recently in Tokyo to cover a religious festival and before leaving I spent time browsing Google Images to get an idea of what things looked like, Google Maps to have an idea of the general area, blogs and news reports to see some experiences others had had, and also a general overview of the history and meaning of the festival. If I’m not shooting something specific, then I won’t do much research, preferring to just go there and get lost and stumble upon things.
Q.- According to a photographic perspective, What kind of things do you analyze when you prepare a destination?
A.- I think this links with a lot of what I’ve mentioned in the previous question. There’s a common saying where I live that says “don’t think too much’. Basically it’s a suggestion not to overly analyze everything, and I think that works best for travel photography. Some of the best travel experiences happen on the spur of a moment, and if you try to prepare for them, you’ll miss them. Sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow.
Q.- Do you have any anecdote that would like to share with us?
A.- This is surprisingly the most difficult question. I can think of a few that mean something to me but trying to think of one that would sound interesting to the readers here is tough. A few years ago my wife and I were in a market in Taipei (where we live) and she bought a shoulder bag from a vendor. The bag was made by a women’s self-help NGO in Nepal. A couple of years later we found ourselves traveling to Nepal, so I searched out the NGO and discovered that they were based fairly near one place we were planning to visit. So when we got there, we took a morning to head out to the NGO and visit. They were happy to see us, and we had a tour of the entire manufacturing process – all handmade – from the dying of the fabric right through the spinning of the wool and stitching of the bags. As well as being interesting to see the process, and buy some pieces direct from the NGO thus helping them a bit, it was a photographically rich environment.
Q.- Where do you think that is addressing the future of the professionals of travel and photography? Are you optimistic?
A.- The world gets smaller and smaller by the day, and that is generally a good thing. Travel is within reach of more and more people, and they all have cameras. This all helps bring the world closer together and that can only be a positive thing. I know that I love seeing high quality photography from all over the world, as it inspires me to visit new places, and pushes me to continue striving to become a better photographer. Overall I’m very optimistic about the future of both, and look forward to seeing what is still to come.