Visiting foreign places through photography and well-written essays is, perhaps, the next best thing to stepping onto the tarmac and leaving. Words and pictures have the power to set us free.
✪ Note: If you’re here to learn how to travel with a film camera, check out “Air Travel With Film,” where I talk extensively about airport security, and X-Ray machines — the greatest threat to your images.
“Stuck at home during COVID.”
I love travelling. I love living in new societies, landscapes, and nature.
Unfortunately, the privilege to do so ceased at the beginning of 2020. The virus has put a damper on any kind of movement; even getting to the office is no longer an option. Though I was lucky enough to get outside for a few local trips this summer, that, of course, does not compare to crossing legal, cultural, and natural borders.
As of fall 2021, going far and away is still — far and away.
The next best thing.
Visiting foreign places through photography and well-written essays is, perhaps, the next best thing to stepping onto the tarmac and leaving. Words and pictures have the power to set us free. Reading stories won’t replace the act of crossing borders and actually being elsewhere, of course. But the good ones will spark the imagination and satisfy your curiosity.
So this week, I decided to rediscover the world through the works published on Analog.Cafe. Being an editor, I’ve read them all at some point, but when taken in as a whole, the essays represent a more complete picture of the community that makes this website.
It’s a huge list.
I feel grateful to have been entrusted by everyone here to edit and exhibit their work in the best light possible. And I’m in awe at how large and diverse our world is, despite feeling small and mundane when one’s stuck at home. 🌎
The list is organized by continent » country » alphabetically by title. If the author isn’t listed, the essay’s been written by me.
Africa » South Africa and Tunisia.
“Dreary Town” is a grungy, experimental photo essay by Enrico Doria, who travels across Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa, and an unknown town in Tunisia. All black and white, shot on plastic Holga and Lubitel cameras, his images present a fuzzy, moody portrait of the urban landscapes. In addition to the African continent, Enrico’s series also feature European cities.
P.S. Australia, Oceania, and Antarctica also need your help!
North America » Canada.
“10 Summer Road Trips to Do From Banff National Park” is a well-illustrated guide to British Columbia/Alberta’s mountainous forest gateways by Elouise Antonina.
“Climate Strike Vancouver” is a short, well-illustrated recollection of a big, peaceful protest at the core of the largest city on the Canadian West Coast.
“KOTD Level Up” is a short photo story of a rap battle event at one of Vancouver’s famed nightclubs.
“Resettle to Vancouver” is a thought piece I composed shortly after moving country of residence for the third time: from Thailand to Canada.
“Sky Train” (Vancouver) is an essay about an autonomous transit system across the coastal Canadian city, sandwiched between the Rockies and the Pacific Ocean. Being built almost exclusively above ground it grants views of expansive mountainous landscapes interacting with a modern mid-sized metropolis.
North America » Mexico.
“An American Fault Line” by Robert Castagna takes on the topic of borders and division and how the lines our governments draw affect the people who live close to the edge. His story features black and white photographs shot primarily around Tijuana.
North America » USA.
“Portraits of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Killeen, Texas” is a series of photographs and interviews by Christian K. Lee documenting the onset of the pandemic in his local community.
South America » Brazil.
“.Casa” is a thought piece by laura.mariagabre where she reminisces about her upbringing in a small town, Santa Catarina, amongst the lush South American mountains. Having moved to a much larger São Paulo, she talks about the subsequent lifestyle changes after leaving her farming community behind.
South America » Colombia.
South America » Venezuela.
Asia » Armenia.
“Inside World/Outside World” is a long series of photographs by norayr taken at his Yerevan apartment as the city began to shut its doors down ahead of the first wave of lockdowns that swept the world in 2020.
Asia » Cambodia.
“Cambodia” is an eight-minute read about my visit to the Southeast Asian country with a bloody history and a swath of socioeconomic problems — in the middle of a jungle paradise.
Asia » China.
Asia » India.
Asia » Indonesia.
Asia » Iran.
“Analog Iran” is a photo essay by Ali MC in which he documents “…the changing face of young Iran… where alcohol and even dancing are forbidden, young Iranian people are forging their own lives, navigating the old and new.
Asia » Japan.
Asia » Malaysia.
Asia » Multi-Country.
Asia » Myanmar.
“23 Days in Myanmar” is my travel diary from a Southeast Asian country known for the political unrest and military dictatorship — a unique place filled with incredible human history and kind locals (though not the best destination for a tourist).
Asia » Nepal.
Asia » Singapore.
“A Better Way” is a photographic call to use public transit by MNKC — I can attest that his city has a wonderful system that is indeed able to move a lot of people in a more ecologically sustainable way.
“The Recyclable Cycle” is an essay by MNKC in response to an earlier call to submissions on the theme of environment. It documents the waste management of a city so small it can’t afford to build landfills.
Asia » South Korea.
Asia » Taiwan.
Asia » Thailand.
“150R” is a photographic homage to a small motorcycle and the places it’s taken me on the windy, mountainous roads of northern Thailand.
“Chiang Mai” is a photo essay about a small city in the centre of northern Thailand that turned quickly from a tourist trap to a permanent home.
“Climbing the Furnace” is a photo story from Chiang Mai’s local crag, featuring a few action photographs taken while dangling from the rope.
“Isaan, on a Cloud” is my retrospective piece about the four nearly “magical” spots in northern Thailand: Doi Suthep, Pai, Doi Inthanon, and Chiang Dao.
“Loy Krathong” is my diary entry about the incredible Festival of Light in Chiang Mai. During this event, thousands of river and sky lanterns are launched by tourists and residents.
“Plastic Thailand” is my documentary piece on the extent of plastic pollution in Chiang Mai back in 2017.
“Rain” is my photo story about the enchanting rain season of northern Thailand, where the floods aren’t as common or scary as they are in the south.
“The Coffee Province” is a very short story about a motorbike trip across coffee plantations of northern Thailand.
Asia » Vietnam.
“Hanoi” is my photo essay from the bustling streets of Hanoi and my culture shock in Vietnam as a western visitor.
“From Church, Charity Shop to a Coastal City in China” is a photo story written by Lee Webb about his voyage across the continent with a small film camera.
“Return Flight” is my short story about a business trip from Chiang Mai to San Francisco (and back).
Europe » Bulgaria.
Europe » Ireland.
Europe » Italy.
Europe » France.
Europe » Germany.
“Forgotten World” by Nils Leonhardt is a thought piece about Aue, a small German town, and how its relevance (along with that of many other places’) is being altered with technological and societal advances.
“Streets of Solitude” is an essay set at the bordering triangle between Germany, France, and Switzerland by Michael Nguyen. He describes his work best: “…these images expose the cityscapes’ gloomy, bleak facade. Empty benches on the sidewalks, a tired bicycle, walls, covered with barbed wire.”
“The Power of Design” is a piece by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke on work by Michael Nguyen made on the outskirts of Munich. A take on daring architectural decisions staging a unique spectacle of colours and geometry in a suburban European neighbourhood.
Europe » Lithuania.
Europe » Malta.
Europe » Multi-Country.
“A Photographic Love Affair Between Siberia & Portugal” is a collection of double-exposures by Justino Lourenço and @yulia_paix. The images were created by first exposing the whole roll in V. N. Gaia, Porto (Portugal) and then taken into Siberia to be photographed on top of.
Europe » Portugal.
Europe » Romania.
Europe » Russia.
Europe » Scotland.
“Inchindown” is a story of two friends going deep underground to photography a defunct military storage facility in Invergorden, Scotland. Their complete piece is a video feature (linked within the article). This is an overview of their work and the photograph that they created — published with permission.
Europe » Spain.
Europe » Sweden.
“Cloudy Days” is a photo story by mariah.peixoto about her move to Sweden for a research-based work internship at the University of Gothenburg in March 2020 — which is around the time when the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the world.
Europe » Switzerland.
Europe » United Kingdom.
“A Terrace in the Sky” by Danilo Leonardi is an explorative photo essay that will take you on a walk around the famous London landmarks, their history, architectural choices, and how they affect the people inhabiting them.
“Trafalgar Square in the Time of COVID” is a thought piece by Danilo Leonardi where he dissects and critiques the phrase “we are all in this together” that infected the English-speaking internet when the pandemic took hold in early 2020.
✪ Note: I may update this list periodically to improve the essays’ relevancy and representation. 🌍