Gavin Gough
Editorial, Humanitarian & Travel Photographer

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Seven in Seven · Day Four

Each day for a week, I'm sharing one of my favourite images from 2017.

Leica M, 50mm, 1/250, f/2.8, ISO200

 

I enjoy photographing landscapes, cityscapes, mountains, forests, waterfalls, architecture... anything, really. But photography is most enjoyable for me when I'm photographing people.

Photographing inanimate scenes is often a mathematical exercise. Exposure settings, focal lengths, hyper-focal distances... finding the right numbers can provide a pleasing mental challenge with a satisfying conclusion.

 
 

But, at its best, there's something about the connection between a photographer and another person that can transcend the numbers to become deeply emotional.

For a few, fleeting moments, a bridge exists between the two of you. You're collaborating and conspiring inside a parallel universe with only two inhabitants.

 
 

The unbroken gaze can produce a burning moment of profound intensity which appears without warning, melting away the instant that eye contact is broken.

The resulting portrait might only ever carry a fragment of that shared moment but, sometimes, if you look carefully at the image and study the subject's eyes, you might glimpse the reflection of the light that shone briefly, brilliantly.

 
 

As photographers, we cannot create those moments alone. They cannot be conjured up, no matter how strong the incantation. They require a catalyst, the chemistry formed when there's trust between photographer and subject.

As a travel photographer, I don't know when those moments might occur. They've found me in Vietnamese street markets, outside remote yurts on the Mongolian steppe, during dance rehearsals in Bhutanese temples and, on this occasion, in a dusty cafe on the road to Ghorepani.

 
 

One cannot predict or manufacture them, one can only be open to the possibility, ready with freshly-charged camera batteries and a lens pre-set to a flatteringly wide aperture.

On a more prosaic level, I'm consistently delighted by how often I encounter people wearing clothes which match the colour of the background they're sitting or standing against. Such was the case with this joyful Nepalese woman who was sitting in the doorway of a cafe on a trekking route in Nepal.

 
 

When I return, I'll carry some prints of these portraits with me to offer her in return for her time and her trust.

I hope that the coming year brings you many such serendipitous moments and meaningful exchanges.

 
 
The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
— Dorothea Lange