When it comes to being well-traveled, Harry Fisch sets a fine example. The sights his camera lens have photographed are enough to leave us speechless, inspired and envious all at once. Naturally, you don’t get the photos he has been able to take without stepping foot way outside the confines of everyday life.
For all of his work photographing around 27 countries in the past few decades, Harry Fisch has received praise in the form of winning some of the world’s most prestigious contests. His accolades include championing the World National Geographic Photo contest in 2012 (he was later disqualified for editing out a small bag), becoming a finalist in the SONY World Photo Awards and in Spain’s Photoespana.
Because we know that photography, like many forms of art, is built on the inspiration of years and years of artists’ work, and that there are few better catalysts for creative stimulation than the observance of others’ art, we think Harry Fisch is someone you definitely want to follow.
When and how did you decide to pursue photography seriously?
I shifted from photography as a lifelong pastime to a passionate full time, absorbent, professional activity around 10 years ago. After a solo travel through India, once my home, I decided that this should be a way of life for me.
Is there a particular photo of yours that has an interesting story behind it?
Each and every image is linked to a story. Not one has been prepared in advance as they belong to a personal relation, a short encounter or a visit. Perhaps the least predictable of them was a family portrait of twenty-three country people in a small village, near the Pakistani border of India. I came to bring back a picture, taken one year before, of a nice looking couple. Unexpectedly, they invited me to tea in a small room in their very humble home. In less than ten minutes I was surrounded by a small crowd of twenty-three relatives: children, women, men, dogs – everyone wanted to be in the picture. I shot only one picture and realized that something magical had happened.
Which type of camera do you rely on the most?
The cameras I use are quite unusual for a professional travel photographer: Fuji X’s. Light gear, not extremely fast –which is not a problem with the type of photography I do – while offering excellent final quality. Non-obtrusive, quiet cameras.
What is something about your style that has changed most significantly over the years?
I would say the treatment of colors on the final print and the decision on how to incorporate sharpness and movement. Happily, I have not yet come to the point were I feel I have reached my “final” style. Only by crisis and doubts can you grow, and from time to time, my style deviates conscientiously from what “should” be expected.
Why travel photography?
It is, for me, the greatest excuse to jump to the other side. The camera allows me to put myself, for short periods of time, in the position of “the other” while keeping my own life apart back home. Travel, and the close contact of photography, lets you understand different points of view and different cultures.
Any advice for travel photographers? In your opinion, what does it take to be one?
Curiosity, persistence, planning and hard work. There are various types of travel photography but most of it relies on storytelling as well as the passion for true contact with people of all kinds and different perspectives.
What makes a good photograph to you?
An image that goes beyond the mere aesthetics, that generates an atmosphere – an emotion. It could be something difficult to recognize, does not have to be color or black and white. If, additionally, it adds some intrigue and tells a story, then it has it all.
Get Harry Fisch’s article in Resource Winter 2013 issue here.