Professional photographers may emphasize how important it is to prepare yourself thoroughly on your destination. That’s not what I do. In fact, most of the times I enter a new city or country without any preparation at all! But as soon as the plane touches ground, I start my research. I look, touch, feel, sniff & taste everything, and I talk with a lot of people. That usually helps me to get an idea of what’s going on somewhere pretty quickly.
If a guide tells me we really have to go somewhere ‘because all photographers do’, for me that’s a good reason not to go there. If the cab driver tells me a specific area is very attractive for tourists, I tell him to head the other way. And if I find a location or an area that I like, I don’t mind skipping all my plans for the rest of the day, just to stay there.
While on assignment in Lima, Peru I was driving through the endless slums of this huge city, when a peculiar tent, built from an old parachute, caught my attention. It turned out to be a tiny little circus, run by a family of less than ten persons. The setting was as beautiful as the people were. In just an hour I shot some of the most amazing portraits. And all this on a location where no serious guide would ever, ever have taken me. That – to me – is what photography is all about!