The New York Times travel section published my photographs from an adventure travel story in Bolivia this Sunday. You can see the slideshow here.
Writer Ethan Todras-Whitehill and I spent three days in a jeep in the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia’s giant salt desert, one day bicycling down “the world’s most dangerous road” (with the t-shirt to prove it), and one day hiking outside La Paz, hooking up with talented and super-sweet Bolivian-based American photographer Bear Guerra and his delightful wife, the journalist Ruxandra Guidi.
Here are some images that didn’t make the NYT’s cut.
On the Isla del Pescado © Susana Raab 2008
Cactus is not a Four-Letter Word © Susana Raab 2008
Our Second Flat Tire © Susana Raab 2008
Rux Navigating the Foliage © Susana Raab 2008
Planet of the Giant Cacti © Susana Raab 2008
The Salar and bike ride are definitely not to be missed, however word to the wise, I would definitely hire a private jeep because the group tours’ schedule involves too much driving and a redundancy of stops that one could easily eliminate for the opportunity to spend more time at the amazing places, and less time in the jeep. Also bouncing around in the jeep for 8 hours/day does not facilitate the fecal hoarding that the Bolivian authorities seem to expect from their guests in the Salar as mandated by delicate signs such as this:
I really enjoy photographing travel. It can be a challenge, as I have seldom gotten an assignment that gave me more than one day at a location – many is the shoot that has gone badly because of weather and no time to wait it out. Most of the time I am photographing a list of stuff that was compiled during the writers’ visit during the high season, and I’m left in January to wonder where all the tourists are. This is not a complaint, it’s what it is. But it’s a nice mental respite in one way from some of my personal work, where I am really trying to put a layered visual statement into my work, (you may argue otherwise, but this is my intent). I think Degas (?) or Matisse (?) , well one of the impressionists, said something like (I paraphrase) “The world is filled with enough ugliness, this is why I paint beautiful pictures.” It’s nice to just try and make pretty pictures sometimes.
I really love the mix: travel, portraits, reportage, personal projects. They are all welcome distractions from the other.