In a foreign room
Once, when I was a kid, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My reply was childish but straight from the heart: a tourist!
Well, I didn’t become a tourist, but closely enough I am a photographer, who likes to travel. Sometimes I don’t even know if I travel to make photographs or instead if I studied photography so that I would have a reason to travel.
Photography is very much connected to the experience of traveling, mainly because both deal with the act of seeing, but also because, at least for me, both are intensely related with the geometry of people and scenery within space. Space can be anything from the world to my bedroom; it’s just a matter of perspective and curiosity. Thus, all photographers are travelers in a way, and we all know that tourists take pictures, at least for the length of a trip. It is no coincidence that the photography and tourism industry grew side by side in the same era.
Obviously, tourism and traveling can be as apart as picture taking and photography, as seeing and observing, as a postcard image from a photograph.
Photographers and travelers are searchers, but they also know they will never find what they are searching for, an unreachable horizon that is always in front of the eyes but never within reach. As soon as you go from A to B, you will want to go on to C and D. A photographer is always thinking of the next shot, rarely of the last.
And then there is the space in-between. Between one destination and the other, between one image and the next one. These are places and non-places that stick to your memory for reasons beyond the lines of your map or the lines in your mind. You stay here because of a face you saw on the street or because of the weather or because your car broke down. Or maybe you just want to finish the book you are reading. And then there you are, lying on a strange bed in a foreign room thinking about what is behind you and wondering what lies ahead. You stare at the enclosing wall.