“I see, experience, and notice things that are calm and serene,” says Hannah Gabrielle More. She adds, “…so I funnel all that into what I capture.” Hannah is a London based travel photographer. However, she’s often finding a home away from home as she travels the world on a variety of assignments. We connected to her minimalist themed travel photographs: they’re easy on the eye and calming for the mind. They’re beautiful, and they make us want to live in the world she is capturing – or at the very least purchase a print and put it on the wall! While they’re simple in design, they’re complex in creation. Hannah is an extremely hard-working travel photographer, and she is meticulous in her approach. She ensures no stone is left unturned during the process of developing her work.
Envious of her itinerary, and eager to live vicariously through her, we did the only thing we could do. In true British fashion, we put the kettle on, made a cup of tea, and got her in for a good old chat.
Phoblographer: Hey, Hannah! There are many genres of photography. What is it about travel photography hooked you?
HGM: I would say it’s the combination of serendipity and precise planning that goes into taking a travel photo, coupled with my curiosity and desire to see the world. Travelling has always been when I feel most inspired and driven to create. I’m yet to find a country I haven’t been inspired to document. I also love variety, so the fact that no two days or briefs are the same keeps me learning and pushing myself creatively as a photographer. It’s hard to put into words exactly what makes me so passionate about travel photography, but I feel that’s a good start.
Phoblographer: When you travel, do you meticulously plan where and what you will shoot, or do you roam freely and shoot whatever comes your way?
HGM: It’s always a balancing act between thorough planning/preparation and expecting the unexpected. I’m often sent a rough itinerary of where I’ll be when I’m on assignment. I’ll do some research beforehand to get a feel for the place so I have an idea of what to expect. But I’ll let everything come together when I’m on location and can scout out where I’d like to shoot. This is especially important when it comes to photographing at sunrise or sunset, so you know the shot and where you’re shooting from before the sun arrives/disappears. That being said, many of my favorite photographs weren’t planned. I was simply responding to a situation or landscape I happened to come across – I was in the right place at the right time. Those opportunities only come from being able to wander freely at certain points during the trip and being vigilant of your surroundings! During my assignment in Madeira, I spent a lot of time asking the locals questions about where I might find certain things. I’d also be hopping in and out of the car when I saw something that interested me!
“…that’s the way I choose to see and experience the world, and a minimalist aesthetic is an extension of that.”
Phoblographer: Your photographs are so minimal and calming. By going for this aesthetic, how does it fit with your personality?
HGM: Thank you! I’ve always placed a huge amount of value on the simple things in life and have a preference for calm and uncluttered surroundings. I suppose that’s the way I choose to see and experience the world, and a minimalist aesthetic is an extension of that. Sometimes you’ll find me juggling quite a lot of stuff behind the camera to capture a tranquil looking image! For example, for my camel train shot in the Sahara Desert, I’d woken up to shoot the sunrise and had around four hours sleep. It was quite windy on the dunes. So I was covered in sand and was desperately trying to hold onto a wobbly camel trekking up and down sand dunes. I did all this whilst shooting/changing lenses and making sure I got video footage for the client at the same time.
Phoblographer: Let’s talk about your color palette. Your images have a pastel vibe going on. What is about this look that inspires you to create?
HGM: I’ve always loved earthy, soft tones, so that’s the palette I’ll often seek out when traveling. I like my colors to be less saturated, so I naturally gravitate towards that aesthetic when I’m editing too. It’s an aesthetic I haven’t had to think about too much and feel it goes hand in hand with the way I shoot.
“It’s really a case of trusting in your photographic process, moving around your subject, and knowing your camera inside out.”
Phoblographer: When you travel, do you find that you put pressure on yourself to come back with something of worth? If so, how do you handle that pressure and ensure it does not become a barrier to your creativity?
HGM: When you’re being commissioned, like with any photography job, there’s always a pressure to provide a certain number of assets/deliverables. But photography and travel are when I feel most present and in the moment. So the pressure doesn’t have an effect on my inspiration or creativity. It’s really a case of trusting in your photographic process, moving around your subject, and knowing your camera inside out. This allows you to think on your feet to compose a variety of images. Things will feel less stressful if you’re patient and flexible when it comes to travel photography – mother nature won’t always cooperate and you may need to climb to a viewpoint for a sunrise shoot two mornings in a row. Your work also feels less pressurized when you know there’s only so much you can control. You use the pressure to provide useful parameters and help guide your decisions when it comes to shooting.
Phoblographer: In your opinion, what makes a good travel photograph?
HGM: For me, if the image encapsulates the spirit of the place or conjures a feeling, then that’s the making of a good travel photo.
Phoblographer: Our readers love gear talk. What’s in your camera bag and why does this set up work for your travel photography?
HGM: I shoot on a Canon 5D Mark III and my two most used lenses are a 50mm f/1.4 and 16-35mm f/4 as they set me up for most eventualities – they’ve traveled with me up mountains, into deserts, trekked through forests. I rarely need to use anything else. For low light situations, I bring along a travel tripod, and I always have at least three extra batteries on me than I think I’ll need. Where possible, pack light, except for when it comes to camera batteries and SD cards!
Phoblographer: Having traveled the world over, which country/culture is most in-line with you as a person, and how did that contribute to your motivation to create?
HGM: Having visited both of these countries twice now, I think I would have to say Morocco or Bali/Lombok, Indonesia. Both have a variety of locations to shoot, and the people and food in both are great. I feel pretty at home in any country with a warm climate, a good beach, chilled out atmosphere, and great sunrise/sunset. Overall, Indonesia takes the prize for being most in-line because I love having Nasi Goreng for breakfast!
Phoblographer: Finally, where in the world have you yet to explore that you would love to create some travel photography in?
HGM: In the short term, Sri Lanka, Mexico and I’d love to visit Victoria Falls, so they’re all top of my list! Within Europe, I’d like to visit Croatia and Italy – two places I can’t believe I haven’t been to yet! In the long term, am I allowed to say I’d like to visit everywhere!?