Chinese opera has a long, rich history that dates back to 200 A.D. Over the centuries, a handful of styles of opera emerged — each with its own distinct makeup, music, and acting traditions — reflecting the eras and tastes of the changing dynasties. Sichuan opera is the youngest style, emerging around 1700 in Chengdu, Sichuan province, where it is still performed today by a dwindling roster of troupes.
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It was in 2006 when I traveled to the sacred city of Varanasi for the third or fourth time; this time in search of real sadhus rather than those I encountered on the ghats of the river Ganges. The more photogenically flamboyant of those would "earn" a few rupees from tourists and photographers who sought to augment their inventory of exotic portraits of these characters; perhaps paying them a tidy sum if they agreed to be photographed in a rowing boat or next to a temple.
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Readers of The Travel Photographer blog know of my current long term involvement in documenting Chinese Opera of the diaspora; an involvement that will culminate into the production of a coffee-table book bearing the same title. It is for this reason that the blog has been recently populated with posts with excellent work of Chinese opera by travel and documentary photographers.
Travel photography as a genre is one of the most open in terms of the subjects it covers. Many travel photographers specialise in a particular aspect of photography such as travel portraits, landscape or documentary photography as well as shooting all aspects of travel. Much of today's Travel Photography style is derived from early work in Magazines such as National Geographic magazine from photographers such as Steve McCurry. This genre of photography entails shooting a wide variety of subjects under varied available conditions, e.g. low light photography indoors, available ambient light photography for exteriors of buildings and monuments, shooting on the streets where sometimes conditions may be hostile, capturing moments which rarely recur, capturing the magic of light while shooting landscapes, etc.
My personal opinion -after having met many such characters- in India; either in Varanasi, Rishikesh, Vrindavan et al, as well as at the Kumbh Mela, is that the majority of them are fake in the sense that they're not dedicated ascetics, but individuals who are adopted a vagabondage lifestyle, begging for alms and food...under the guise of being holy and religious. 

However, the most challenging of all the tasks involved in producing these photo films is to have the models literally become actors in the stories...not only because I want them to look the part of the betrayed lover, of the returning scorned avenger, of the famous singer haunting her past venues, but because I like them to narrate the story itself.


Chinese opera has a long, rich history that dates back to 200 A.D. Over the centuries, a handful of styles of opera emerged — each with its own distinct makeup, music, and acting traditions — reflecting the eras and tastes of the changing dynasties. Sichuan opera is the youngest style, emerging around 1700 in Chengdu, Sichuan province, where it is still performed today by a dwindling roster of troupes.
Alessandro Bergamini tells us that he is an Italian travel photographer from Finale Emilia in Italy. He started his photography with an old camera donated by his father, and traveled to some of the most remote regions of the world, capturing the spirit and visual cultures of his encounters. He perfected his post-production techniques to better reflect the atmosphere of the images he gleaned from his travels. During 2019, he offers travel workshops in the Wakhan Corridor (Afghanistan) and Kashmir.

If you’re interested in a professional mentoring program, I offer monthly subscriptions that include creative challenges, assignments and feedback in order to improve your photography. Mentoring also includes direct access to ask as many questions as you want about anything related to being a travel photographer. Email me at [email protected] for further details.
The other challenge is to scout for and find the locations for the photo shoots; locations that provide a "badge" of authenticity to the resulting photo films. In the the case of The Girl of Nanjing, it was the water town of Qi Bao near Shanghai....and in the case of The Legend of Hua, it was the water town of Xinchang' at some distance from Shanghai as well...while the backdrop to The Songstress of Temple Street was Hong Kong's famous Tin Hau Temple and the Canton Singing House.
When I was just eight years old I would flip through the pages of National Geographic and imagine being a photographer in Africa. I was captivated by the faces and places that seemed worlds apart from my typical Middle American hometown. Fast forward years later, and I'm living the dream as a travel photographer working throughout Africa and Europe. If you've ever wanted to travel the world with your camera, here's my advice to help you get started and thrive in professional travel photography.

This year and I signed a long-term travel photography contract with Cape Town Tourism, the official tourism board in my favorite city in Africa. Meanwhile, I've sold tens of thousands of image licenses through multiple agencies over the years, host local workshops and photowalks in the cities I visit, and I'm constantly working on partnership and sponsorship deals behind-the-scenes. Even my travel photography website works hard for me, as I often get offers and inquiries directly from visitors.
Visit Paris, the magnetic City of Light to explore its iconic attractions. Book tickets to Rome to wonder at its various historical structures - the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon, to name a few. Go to South Island in New Zealand to marvel at its majestic landscapes at every turn. Heart-pumping activities and historic landmarks awaits you in Dubai. Visit it to experience one of-its-kind attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, and the indoor Ski Dubai. Book flights for Santorini to revel in its breath-taking sunsets, pastel-hued villages, and colourful beaches. Take a trip to Hong Kong for its towering skyscrapers, frenzied street markets, and serene Buddhist monasteries.
To Thuvan Dihn he explained that he had been but testing an invention of his own with which his flier was equipped--a clever improvement of the ordinary Martian air compass, which, when set for a certain destination, will remain constantly fixed thereon, making it only necessary to keep a vessel's prow always in the direction of the compass needle to reach any given point upon Barsoom by the shortest route.
Travel in the Middle Ages offered hardships and challenges, however, it was important to the economy and to society. The wholesale sector depended (for example) on merchants dealing with/through caravans or sea-voyagers, end-user retailing often demanded the services of many itinerant peddlers wandering from village to hamlet, gyrovagues (Wandering Monks) and wandering friars brought theology and pastoral support to neglected areas, travelling minstrels practiced the never-ending tour, and armies ranged far and wide in various crusades and in sundry other wars.[7] Pilgrimages were common in both the European and Islamic world and involved streams of travellers both locally (Canterbury Tales-style) and internationally.[9]

As an approved photographer on stock libraries, you can possibly get access to client briefs where you can submit your work direct to the client, meaning they’ll consider you for the project and see your profile. Otherwise there’s usually a marketplace type system for you to upload your images and have them added to collections based on themes, destinations and seasons.


Besides the travel publications like National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, etc., the demand for this genre exists in industries like Travel, Photo Education, etc. Many travel photographers are today leading photo-tours through companies such as Intrepid Exposures, utilising their knowledge of unique travel locations, experience of working as professional photographers and using this to help travel enthusiasts take great travel images during their trips. Many others are doubling up as educators in the field of ambient light photography. Some of them are doing assignments which intrinsically use their strengths, e.g. shooting exteriors or interiors of buildings for architects and interior designers. Photographers like Steve McCurry are often commissioned to shoot commercial advertising work using their skills from travel and documentary photography to produce powerful advertising images.
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The winners of the competition get a photo commission to an exotic destination – great experience and priceless exposure, as the images are printed in Wanderlust. Many of the past winners of this competition have gone on to become professional or semi-professional photographers. "We are often been approached for the contact details of certain photographers," says Lyn. "Organisations, such as travel companies or tourist boards, sometimes want to buy an image for their own use, or to see what else the photographer has in a similar vein. It can be a fantastic showcase."
Travel may be local, regional, national (domestic) or international. In some countries, non-local internal travel may require an internal passport, while international travel typically requires a passport and visa. A trip may also be part of a round-trip, which is a particular type of travel whereby a person moves from one location to another and returns.[11]
A pretty picture is not enough. It needs to be high quality and it needs to be original. For magazines, you need to consider issues such as leaving space on the image for word placement, positioning your subject off-centre so it doesn’t fall down the page join, and possibly placing the subject on the right-hand side of a landscape shot for maximum impact.
When you really love photographing a certain subject, it shows in your work. If you've built a cohesive collection of images around a particular people or place, consider hanging it in a gallery or selling prints or photo books online. Share your work with artist's galleries in and around relevant locales until you find someone who bites. Southwestern USA photographer Brett Edge took it a step further and opened his own gorgeous fine art gallery in Moab, Utah. Photographer Vivienne Gucwa published a coffee table book featuring her New York City photography. Just getting started? Share your work online for exposure, and upload it to print-on-demand websites for effortless print sales.
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Alessandro Bergamini tells us that he is an Italian travel photographer from Finale Emilia in Italy. He started his photography with an old camera donated by his father, and traveled to some of the most remote regions of the world, capturing the spirit and visual cultures of his encounters. He perfected his post-production techniques to better reflect the atmosphere of the images he gleaned from his travels. During 2019, he offers travel workshops in the Wakhan Corridor (Afghanistan) and Kashmir.
Whether you're licensing photos through an agency or you're working with local businesses, destination photos sell. If you're just starting out, consider uploading your best work to sites like 500px, where you can offer your images for license quite easily. If you already have a strong portfolio of work, consider applying to Stocksy, the most reputable agency in the stock photo business. Interested in reportage? You can sign up for a Demotix account to get started in travel photojournalism.
Visit Paris, the magnetic City of Light to explore its iconic attractions. Book tickets to Rome to wonder at its various historical structures - the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon, to name a few. Go to South Island in New Zealand to marvel at its majestic landscapes at every turn. Heart-pumping activities and historic landmarks awaits you in Dubai. Visit it to experience one of-its-kind attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, and the indoor Ski Dubai. Book flights for Santorini to revel in its breath-taking sunsets, pastel-hued villages, and colourful beaches. Take a trip to Hong Kong for its towering skyscrapers, frenzied street markets, and serene Buddhist monasteries.
In contrast with most of my peers, I seldom use Photoshop and have never used Lightroom. However, I rely on three post-processing/editing apps as my tools of choice...these are Color Efex Pro (originally of Google and now part of DxO Software, Iridient Developer (the raw image format processing software for macOS, and well known for its ability to process Fujifilm X-Trans raw files), and lastly ON1 Photo Raw ( a raw processor, photo editor and plug-in collection all in one).
Whether at home or abroad, when you know the ins and outs of a particular location, you can provide photography tours and location-specific workshops to serve both tourists and serious photographers. In Greece I found a professional photographer offering pricey photo tours in Santorini, a popular island with stunning viewpoints that are difficult to locate. Part of this photographer's service was to unveil these secret locations. Back in Holland, photographer Michiel Buijse offers nighttime photography workshops in Amsterdam, helping photographers shoot stunning long exposures along the historical canals. Consider what you can offer in a location you know well. 
Hi Jan, so happy to hear this article was useful. I’ll be sharing more on how I manage my photography business over the coming weeks in various articles…typically for Instagram I try to post once daily and for ImageBrief I simply respond to relevant briefs that suit images I already have on file. Keep an eye out for new posts weekly and hopefully I’ll cover something of interest to you 🙂
When I was just eight years old I would flip through the pages of National Geographic and imagine being a photographer in Africa. I was captivated by the faces and places that seemed worlds apart from my typical Middle American hometown. Fast forward years later, and I'm living the dream as a travel photographer working throughout Africa and Europe. If you've ever wanted to travel the world with your camera, here's my advice to help you get started and thrive in professional travel photography.
Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LGW) C$ 631+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LGW) C$ 665+ Flight Halifax - London (YHZ - LGW) C$ 675+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LHR) C$ 685+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LGW) C$ 690+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LGW) C$ 690+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LHR) C$ 707+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LCY) C$ 725+ Flight Halifax - London (YHZ - LHR) C$ 739+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LTN) C$ 773+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LHR) C$ 773+ Flight Toronto - London (YTZ - LHR) C$ 780+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LTN) C$ 793+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LTN) C$ 797+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LHR) C$ 801+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - STN) C$ 805+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LCY) C$ 830+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LCY) C$ 834+ Flight Ottawa - London (YOW - LHR) C$ 840+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LCY) C$ 864+ Flight Ottawa - London (YOW - LGW) C$ 897+ Flight Edmonton - London (YEG - LGW) C$ 909+
Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LGW) C$ 631+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LGW) C$ 665+ Flight Halifax - London (YHZ - LGW) C$ 675+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LHR) C$ 685+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LGW) C$ 690+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LGW) C$ 690+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LHR) C$ 707+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LCY) C$ 725+ Flight Halifax - London (YHZ - LHR) C$ 739+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LTN) C$ 773+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LHR) C$ 773+ Flight Toronto - London (YTZ - LHR) C$ 780+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LTN) C$ 793+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LTN) C$ 797+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LHR) C$ 801+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - STN) C$ 805+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LCY) C$ 830+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LCY) C$ 834+ Flight Ottawa - London (YOW - LHR) C$ 840+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LCY) C$ 864+ Flight Ottawa - London (YOW - LGW) C$ 897+ Flight Edmonton - London (YEG - LGW) C$ 909+
However I didn't realize that he had done lovely work documenting a rural Chinese opera troupe in Sichuan featured on the International Business Times..thus providing me with valuable inspiration for my own long term book project involving Chinese opera of the Diaspora. My primary focus in this project is on the "rural" or provincial troupes who perform their art during Chinese celebrations and religious observances.

The origin of the word "travel" is most likely lost to history. The term "travel" may originate from the Old French word travail, which means 'work'.[3] According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the first known use of the word travel was in the 14th century. It also states that the word comes from Middle English travailen, travelen (which means to torment, labor, strive, journey) and earlier from Old French travailler (which means to work strenuously, toil). In English we still occasionally use the words "travail", which means struggle. According to Simon Winchester in his book The Best Travelers' Tales (2004), the words "travel" and "travail" both share an even more ancient root: a Roman instrument of torture called the tripalium (in Latin it means "three stakes", as in to impale). This link may reflect the extreme difficulty of travel in ancient times. Today, travel may or may not be much easier depending upon the destination you choose (e.g. Mt. Everest, the Amazon rainforest), how you plan to get there (tour bus, cruise ship, or oxcart), and whether you decide to "rough it" (see extreme tourism and adventure travel). "There's a big difference between simply being a tourist and being a true world traveler", notes travel writer Michael Kasum. This is, however, a contested distinction as academic work on the cultures and sociology of travel has noted.[4]


Love your site! How do you go about not needing work visas to do photography for tourism boards, hotels etc? I see a lot of travel photography in foreign places, but in most countries its illegal to work there and next to impossible to get a work visa as a photographer. Any advice on reaching out to brands/hotels/tourism boards etc overseas without finding myself being deported for working in their country?
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The patrician-looking (and rather taciturn) sadhu in the top photograph did tell me that he had a family, had held a managerial position in the Indian Railway from which he earned a pension (now paid to his wife), but had decided to detach himself from temporal life and was currently studying the Vedas. These are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. He was the embodiment of a real sadhu who had really espoused the Vairāgya, and was far different from the "sadhus" I encountered on the ghats of Varanasi (below) almost 8 years later.
Another place to capture expressions are the subways; either on the platforms or in the cars themselves. My favorite images are the one of a young woman avidly watching a movie on her smartphone, while wearing a single hair roller to tame her fringe....and of the young girl who appears to be viewing a smart phone screen on an ad on a subway platform while her mother is busy texting on her real phone.
Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LGW) C$ 631+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LGW) C$ 665+ Flight Halifax - London (YHZ - LGW) C$ 675+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LHR) C$ 685+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LGW) C$ 690+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LGW) C$ 690+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LHR) C$ 707+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LCY) C$ 725+ Flight Halifax - London (YHZ - LHR) C$ 739+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LTN) C$ 773+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LHR) C$ 773+ Flight Toronto - London (YTZ - LHR) C$ 780+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LTN) C$ 793+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - LTN) C$ 797+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LHR) C$ 801+ Flight Toronto - London (YYZ - STN) C$ 805+ Flight Calgary - London (YYC - LCY) C$ 830+ Flight Vancouver - London (YVR - LCY) C$ 834+ Flight Ottawa - London (YOW - LHR) C$ 840+ Flight Montreal - London (YUL - LCY) C$ 864+ Flight Ottawa - London (YOW - LGW) C$ 897+ Flight Edmonton - London (YEG - LGW) C$ 909+ 
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