I love traveling! Taking off for the unknown, discovering new cultures, trying out exotic flavors…I am addicted to it. After a few months spent home in France, the desire to take off again just gets stronger!
So I pack my bags again and fly off to a new destination or head back where I’ve been before to revisit places that have had a strong influence on me. If there is one thing more than anything that motivates me to travel, it’s the people I meet.
The people I meet are my most wonderful memories!
Discovering a country through its inhabitants is (in my opinion) the best way to learn about a culture and make truly valuable memories. You need to take the time to live life and join in daily activities: be an actor in your own travel adventure!
You shouldn’t conclude that I don’t plan out absolutely anything. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s not about compiling a list of monuments to visit, but about traditions to be discovered through the people who live them today. Temples and other marvels are nice visits. But what interests me takes place elsewhere: I use my 5 senses and experience bold and enriching travel sensations.
After these shared moments are over, the moment to take leave always follows. Each will go his own way, keeping the thought in mind that one day maybe our paths will cross again.
How do you say “Thank You”?
I asked myself that question for a long time. When people you’ve just met share everything they have with you, how can you leave without thanking them for their kindness? I start off with the principle that people one meets are not to be bought, so I don’t give them money. Sharing in daily expenses (buying food for example) goes without saying. That’s not really saying “thank you”. Pens or other objects like t-shirts have no soul and don’t mean anything. I want to leave behind a true symbol of those moments we spent together.
Give a photo!
At the beginning of 2012 in Sri Lanka (the following photo came out of my second trip to this country in 2015), I came up with the idea of giving instant photos taken with a good old Polaroid 600, which works with Impossible Project 600 film.
I’ll never forget the eyes of this fisherman when I gave him that first polaroid photograph! After we talked together for the better part of a morning, I asked him if he wanted a picture… He was sitting on the beach with a cigarette hanging from his mouth, fixing his net. My welcome that first day in Sri Lanka came in the form of an enormous smile!
A different approach to taking portraits:
During my travels, I have never asked a local, “Can I take your picture?”So then you get a shy “OK” and you set up the shot, adjust the focus, shoot, and then show the picture on the camera screen and then off you go as quickly as you came. What a great way to generate frustration in a matter of seconds…
Here’s a tip: Take your time and turn the photo session around: “Can I give you a photo?” You’ll see how everything will change.
Impossible film for Polaroid develops slowly. You need about twenty minutes for the chemistry to fully process the picture. For this amount of time I leave the photo in a box so that it will develop in total darkness as soon as the image comes out.
Here the twenty minutes are an advantage. It’s like magic is being created in this little box. Suspense reaches fever pitch. As soon as the shot comes out of its box, a vintage effect always awaits and I love it!
Equal time: one photo for you and one for me!
After giving the photo as a gift, I need one for myself too! So I take my reflex out of the bag: it’s a Canon 60D with a 50mm f/1.4.
The Sri Lankan fisherman I mentioned above was holding the polaroid picture in such a way that he wouldn’t damage it or leave any prints with his rough and worn hands. I was just behind him looking from above his shoulder: the photo was carefully held in his hands. A light went off!
From the first to the latest of these pictures I have given out over my travels (the last was in the Cape Verde Islands a few weeks ago), I always immortalized these meetings with pictures like this: “Hands Holding Polaroid Pictures“.
Hands can say a lot more than faces do because when they are open they symbolize the sharing that is at the heart of friendship itself. On the back, I put down: “Julien France www.jaimelemonde.fr” since you never know, maybe the Internet will make its way to this little corner of the world before long…
Hands Holding Polaroid Pictures
It’s become my trademark. It’s impossible to imagine going on a trip without having one or more instant cameras on me. I have to tell you that quite often, my new friend is more likely to want to be in more classic photos after that. If you want to take portraits or immortalize daily scenes during your travels, why not try this trick!
I sometimes retrace my steps a year or more later, and I can guarantee that with these photos, you’ll leave behind a real impression. Whether it was in Sri Lanka or Turkey, locals recognized me in the street! They invited me back to their homes and each time, the polaroid picture from my last trip was displayed in a place of honor.
Hands Holding Polaroid Pictures – Varanasi, sacred city for Hindus on the banks of the Ganges – India – ©jaimelemonde.fr
He loves to take part in the daily lives of local people and experience authentic adventures. He travels with several cameras in his bags, including the Polaroid. It’s a must for him so he can give photographs to the people who have had a special influence on him during his travels. He is the author of the photo series: “Hands Holding Polaroid Pictures”, which symbolize these encounters.