22 October 2013
Region: South East
Chelin explores Rye with the Travel Group and the South East Region
If you asked me to describe Rye in three words, I would say: Quaint, quirky and quiet.
Nan, I'm a window shopper
On Sunday 20 October, I went on a field trip to Rye with the Royal Photographic Society's Travel Group (here), organised jointly with the South East Region. The purpose of the workshop was to understand 'What is Travel Photography'. The choice of location was perfect, and we were given two areas to explore: The old town and the harbour.
Rye is your typical, quintessentially English town: full of history that goes back to medieval times; beautiful architecture covering many periods; quirky doors and quaint little windows; a steep, narrow, cobbled street called 'Mermaid' that ends up in the quay; dog-friendly antique shops; cozy tea houses; a heroic harbour with dodgy smuggling connections; and the unmissable grumpy old man in the church. Rye is made up of layer upon layer of bricks, stones, moss, wood and iron - all living together throughout time, constantly nurtured by the sea.
Sacred and Profane
Because of my family circumstances, we travel a lot and we move houses every few years. Every place we go to has its charm and I always try to see things with the eyes of a traveller. The quicker I can identify the subtle differences and the essence of a place and its people, the easier it will be for me and my family to adapt to our new circumstances and build up our new home.
Many times I have been asked how I can cope with this nomadic life-style, if I feel homesick or if I get tired of travelling so much. And the truth is that I love it, I have always enjoyed it. But recently, since I took up photography, I have found a purpose to it all - through my images I can express how I see the world, what inspires me, what catches my attention - I want to share with others the things I find beautiful and the moments worth remembering.
Curios and Curioser
But enough about me, let's go back to this exercise: What IS Travel Photography? Although Travel Photography can overlap with many other genres: landscape, street, portrait, documentary and record, still or nature photography - its main characteristic is that Travel Photography is about capturing a sense of place. You don't need to go on exotic holidays to faraway lands - Travel Photography can be captured close to home.
In the morning we congregated at Fletcher's House. Liz Rhodes, Travel Group Chairperson, and Terry McGhie, Southeast region Organiser, gave an introduction to the day's schedule and activities; a description of what is Travel Photography and some guidelines. They were also available throughout the day to answer questions. After tea and cakes, we all formed small, ad hoc groups and off we went to photograph Rye. It was a mixture of advanced, intermediate and beginner photographers. I spent all day with Alan, whom I know from the Tonbridge Camera Club, and David, whom I had never met before. It was a good size group and we walked slowly through the old town, taking our time to explore the place, bouncing ideas off each other, sharing opinions and experiences.
Quirky window, quaint curtains
Cozy tea house
David photographing quirky flower arrangements
Mercy at the Wicket Gate
You and Me - made for each other
At the end of the day I didn't feel that I had taken any 'good' photos. I often have this feeling, particularly after a day full of action and hype. I look at the photos on the camera's screen and I am very disappointed. I wonder if there are other photographers who feel the same way? I have to put the images away for a day before I have a look at them on my computer screen. In the end, after selecting the 'keepers' and processing them I was very pleased with the results.
Now it's your turn: try it yourself, grab your camera and go out there, explore your neighbourhood and try to see it with the eyes of a traveller. What does the architecture say to you, what do you find beautiful, what don't you like about the area, what are the people like? And when you are done, don't forget to share!
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out what I wrote about the Field Trip to Dungeness with the RPS and Whitstable Camera Club here