I first boarded a plane before the age of two and moved around quite a bit in the years that followed. I didn’t have much of a choice back then. In college, I remember really wanting to visit a friend studying abroad in Spain, but also feeling guilty about purchasing a plane ticket that would leave me eating potatoes for a month. My dad encouraged me to go, to expand my worldview, to learn about new places and people. I’ve thought of travel more as an investment than an expense ever since. Most of my memories are organized by location as opposed to time. And maybe our memories are faulty, but I love being able to look at a photo and be flooded with recollections of a moment.
In an attempt to preserve my memories a little differently, I created the #KohOnTheGo series in 2014. For each image, I digitally insert a “cutout” of myself against the backdrop of my current locale. Even though my images are created on my computer, the little white outline makes #KohOnTheGo look analog; and while I absolutely love making things with my hands (and I love the idea of carrying around mini cutouts of myself), it’s all done in post, so there’s actually minimal planning involved. I initially had the idea to do something like this while I was on a trip down to Kampot, a sleepy riverside town in Cambodia. My very first #KohOnTheGo tag was posted back when I had no more than 10 followers on Instagram, so I’d like to think it was more for myself than outside praise. The hashtag acts like a bookmark of sorts, marking my arrivals and departures.
As part of a photography class in college, we discussed why people feel the need to take photographs of well-known places when it’s likely that a million (better) photos of the same place exist. I’m still not really sure why we do, but I suppose it has to do with keeping memories. Here, you’ll find some tips for taking the perfect travel selfie and making those memories for yourself. Happy snapping!
Creating something that’s difficult to replicate is key. I’m not against people taking the #KohOnTheGo idea and making it their own, but I do think there are enough obstacles to creating a similar photo that I haven’t seen very many attempts. Consistency is also important. I think that’s why @muradosmann's #followmeto, Michelle Liu’s @chinventures, and Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirngerger’s @howfarfromhome have such substantial fan followings. Find your thing and stick to it.
If I’m in a city, I opt for backgrounds that have some type of monument, symmetry, or vanishing point. In nature, it’s hard to go wrong really.
I know some photographers who would say patience is key—wait for the right moment. Or, just take a million photos and figure it out later. I tend to avoid the crowds altogether.
I wouldn’t expect you to be at the Indian Ocean on the Kenyan coast and to take a selfie in front of a monument in the same way I wouldn’t expect you to be at Badshahi Mosque in Pakistan and to take a selfie in front of nature. Choose something that represents the location.
Underwater selfies are definitely worth the trouble. And if you don’t have a Telesin dome for your GoPro, get one.
100 percent human arm.