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A Love Letter to Travel Photography

From New York to Paris

By Sophia CareyPublished 30 days ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2024
New York subway, on Cinestill 800T [Canon EOS 500]

We've all pondered the idea of "if money was no object". We've all considered what we might do if we were financially free; if we could make decisions without ever considering the "bottom line".

For me, I have two real passions in life. Past-times, if you will. Things that I wouldn't cease doing if I had all of the money in the world, and things that I would arguably do more of, if I had all of the money in the world.

Travel, and photography.

Paris, Fuji Pro 400H [Fujifilm GA645]

I'm a photographer by profession, so people naturally assume that when I have any downtime, or time away from work, I'd want to leave the camera at home.

But, that's a strange sentiment to me.

I genuinely love my job - I know I'm one of the lucky ones in that sense - and the idea of leaving my camera at home when I step out into the world, or take a break from my usual surroundings, is something of an alien thought.

Glasgow, Cinestill 800T [Canon EOS 500]

It's on my travels that I yearn even more to have a camera in hand. In that moment, it's a natural extension of my eye and, to an extent, of my being. Taking photos around the world, of the people and places that I'm lucky enough to meet, experience and observe is one of the things in life that sparks genuine joy.

Portrush (Northern Ireland), on Kodak Portra 400 [Fujifilm GA645]

The majority of the time, my weapon of choice is the Fujifilm GA645.

It's a medium-format film camera that was designed in the mid-90s. Medium format film and travel are also two things that people rarely put together in the age of mirrorless digital cameras, but the Fujifilm GA645 is special as it has the option to take advantage of fully automated controls (including autofocus!), making it a much "easier" camera to shoot with on the go, for as long as you can hack the hefty weight.

Fujifilm GA645

In my life so far I've been blessed enough to see many corners of the world. From travelling with work to travelling for leisure, my camera and I have escaped onto Greek islands and bustling, busy cities. Some cities not far from home, other cities the other side of the world.

Kefalonia, Kodak Gold 200 [Fujifilm GA645]

One of my favourite trips was to New York City, back in 2021. How could it not be? It's a city full of life and inspiration, perfect for any photographer to get lost in.

New York City, on Cinestill 800T [Fujifilm GA645]

It was my first time in the Big Apple. I spent 10 days exploring the city and within that short period I was able to experience both the icy, snow-covered streets of New York, and also a few days of an unseasonally warm spell.

Brooklyn, on Cinestill BWXX [Canon EOS 500]

I went with my Mum, which was quite the full circle trip for us as a Mother-Daughter pair, as she went with her Mum when I was a young child and we'd always dreamed and talked of the day that we could go together.

New York City [iPhone 12]

Documenting this trip was even more special to me for that reason. When I look through the photos, I can see us there, stood with our hands red-raw from the cold, all hands on deck to load another roll of film as the snow fell.

Central Park, Lomography Lomochrome Metropolis [Fujifilm GA645]

Memories last a lifetime, but photos are such a natural way to jog those memories. As I look through these shots, I can almost smell the air again. I can remember the conversations that we had, the matcha lattes that we drank and all of the countless times that they played Taylor Swift in a coffee shop or retail store.

Brooklyn, on Cinestill 800T [Canon EOS 500]

We headed out to Brooklyn where I was able to stop by Photodom NYC, the place that I would subsequently trust with all of the film that I shot on this holiday, keen to have a local lab develop my photos.

Brooklyn, on Cinestill BWXX [Canon EOS 500]

The experience of entrusting a local lab with my photos is something that I try my best to do in most cities that I travel to. Not only does it help me feel more connected to the creative community in the said city, but it also means that I don't have to stress about getting my undeveloped film past the airport scanners on my outward journey.

Manhattan, Lomography Colour Negative 400 [Fujifilm GA645]

Paris is another city where I left my film to be developed in a local lab, Reportage Image. I wasn't in Paris for nearly as long as my time in New York, but I took some of my favourite travel photos in this city during the summer of 2022.

There's something about life in summer that just needs to be documented, and Paris was full of those moments. From people playing basketball in the parks, to tourists sunbathing by the River Seine, this summer in Paris will forever be imprinted within my memory because of the photos that I was able to capture.

The Eiffel Tower, Kodak Portra 400 [Fujifilm GA645]

They say that the British can only talk about the weather and that much must be true because another defining memory of this trip was the adverse weather conditions: from beautifully sunny skies to a summer storm that I most definitely wasn't prepared for (and thankfully have no photo to include of me, drenched in a t-shirt and shorts because I had too high expectations of a French summer).

But there's a charm about documenting a city, and your short-lived experience of it, on film. In a world overwhelmed by instant technology, there's something therapeutic about capturing a moment and not seeing that photo until days, or sometimes weeks, after it's passed.

Paris, Kodak Tri-X 400 [Fujifilm GA645]

The feeling of receiving your film scans and reliving your holiday that might have become a distant memory after getting stuck back into your daily routine is something that I think is a much more unique experience than those photos that you capture and keep on your phone. That being said, I'm a huge advocate for phone photography. They do say that the best camera you can use is whichever one you have on you.

Paris, Kodak Tri-X 400 [Fujifilm GA645]


About the Creator

Sophia Carey

Photographer and designer from London, living in Manchester.


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Comments (10)

  • Jenifer Nim9 days ago

    I really loved this story and all of your photos! The ones of New York are absolutely gorgeous and now I'm dying to go back there. It's such a photogenic place, and it looks fantastic on film. I went through a phase of using only film cameras years ago and I loved it so much... but it started getting more and more expensive and my local lab closed down so I sadly gave it up. This story makes me want to get back into it though!

  • Katerina Petrou22 days ago

    "As I look through these shots, I can almost smell the air again." This eloquently put sentence is exactly how I feel about photography. As much as I try to be in the moment, capturing the memory in a physical form solidifies it and sustains it. All of the senses experienced in that moment become vivid. Lovely piece.

  • Alexander McEvoy23 days ago

    Wow those photos are awesome, Sophia! I couldn't help but smirk when you asked how New York couldn't have one of your favourite trips. Personally, I loathe the place to my bones, but I love hearing people gush about it! It's always fun to have people overjoyed about something, especially if it's not something you like. The contrast is always a good time. For a couple years now I've been toying with the idea of getting into photography but have been held back because my creative eye is all but nonexistent for anything visual. And stories like this inspire me all the more :)

  • Rubesh27 days ago

    Your passion for travel and film photography is inspiring—your words and photos beautifully capture each moment and memory.

  • Anna 27 days ago

    Congrats on your Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Well done for your victory.

  • Caroline Craven27 days ago

    Your photos are amazing. I really loved the one of Central Park in the snow. Amazing. Do you shoot digital pics too or stick with film? Either way, you’re super talented and I loved the article too.

  • Christian Bass28 days ago

    I can relate to it. I've no idea, how many times I got ask what my job is, I'm a photographer. Next question usually is, what I do in my spare time. Always answering, taking photos. I spoke with a lot of photographers around the world and it always is the same. I guess, we have the luckiest job in the world. Well written and congratulations on your top story.

  • Andrea Corwin 28 days ago

    Forgot to congratulate you on the TS!🎉

  • Andrea Corwin 28 days ago

    I too, love to travel and take photos. So I loved your photos in this about the world story!!

Sophia CareyWritten by Sophia Carey

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