Wisdom from a Shy Photographer
“Find a place to sit and let nature come to you,” advises Paul Teolis, a photographer with G Adventures in Toronto. He was talking about photography in the Antarctic, but his wisdom applies everywhere, “You don’t want to miss the experience while you are looking for the shot.”
Paul is quiet, almost shy. As a photographer, he would prefer it if you didn’t even know he was there. “My first trip to the Antarctic was an assignment to shoot pictures for a travel brochure. I asked them to let me be anonymous, but what does the captain do the first time all the passengers were assembled? He announces, ‘We have a photographer on board.'” Still Paul finds that his fellow travelers can be as interesting as the penguins and petrels he loves to capture on film.
“Do something!” is his favourite way to get people to pose. [I’d like to include more of his images here, but he is understandably shy about releasing his work into the broader internet.] And people do. Paul has pictures of heroic poses, people leaping and even one of a passenger staring down a penguin. “Aussies and Kiwis are great to travel with,” he enthuses. “You never know what they’re going to do next.”
But what impressed me most about Paul is that he captures on film the kind of experience that we at Travel Whisperers aspire to in our 20 Minute Vacations: the narrative, the story, the experience. Whether it’s in a single image, like the picture of a rugged man who looks like he’s made from the same weather beaten wood as the old boat he’s next to, or a photographic essay, like his series about a group of giant petrels fighting over the remains of a giant jellyfish. You can tell a story in pictures. You can close your eyes and experience being there.
Paul works with G Adventures, who run sustainable immersive global tours. Having visited their offices and met their staff I don’t know if they’re more playfully serious or seriously playful. I just know that I want to go with them.