The most effective and enduring travel photos create a picture of a place by telling a story. This is what aspiring travel photographers work to learn and achieve through practice and trust in their sense of adventure. If you’re one of these creatives who is seeking to tell a story about a place through its landscapes and its people, you might find inspiration in Nandakumar Narasimhan’s beautiful travel photography in the Himalayas in 2014.
Travel photography has a documentary element to it. Perhaps that’s what most people trying their hand on this genre are missing or haven’t thought about entirely. In his travel series, titled Himalayan Winter: Frigid Frames from a Frozen Land, Singapore-based Nandakumar shows us how it’s done.
As the title suggests, he takes us through the Himalayas at a rather interesting time. It’s probably not among the first few places that come to mind when we speak of winter. Still, he went there with the fascination for its hardy people, and how they hold up to some of the harshest winters on Earth.
“Paradoxically, the cold winter only seemed to make the people warmer in their care and hospitality,” Nandakumar said. “Picking up the camera for shooting was very often the last item on the agenda. It was more important for me to find out how they lived and how they beat the winter.”
The entire set, therefore, is a fine example of strong storytelling built around the place. It’s not simply about the landscapes or scenery; it’s also about the people, their way of life, how they survive adversities, and their interaction with their environment. The photos can stand on their own, but Nandakumar also shared details and anecdotes to tell a more thorough story.
Part of what makes Nandakumar’s travel photos interesting is his guts to shoot film in such challenging shooting conditions. I think it was worth all the effort and work in temperatures as low as -20 C. Using films like Fuji Provia 100/400, Kodak Portra 160/400/800, and Kodak Ektar 100, with his Mamiya RB67 and Yashica 24, he was able to take photos that had a touch of nostalgia (almost National Geographic-esque, I think).