How about sketching or painting your travels?

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

To be honest, I did not like the Climate House in Bremerhaven (Germany). Even after almost a month, when I think about it, I still want to shot a polar bear in the face. Emotional manipulation can do that for you, even if you (mostly) agree with the overall goals.

But one thing that stayed with me is how the person responsible for the Climate House did document his travels for the exhibition: He sketched/painted them in his notebooks:

Photo taken at the Climate House in Bremerhaven.
Photo taken at the Climate House in Bremerhaven.
Photo taken at the Climate House in Bremerhaven.
Photo taken at the Climate House in Bremerhaven.
Photo taken at the Climate House in Bremerhaven.
Photo taken at the Climate House in Bremerhaven.

It’s a beautiful combination of personal notes and small sketches.

And even while loving to photograph, I sometimes wonder whether this intimate combination of text and image isn’t the way to go when it comes to documenting ones travels. In contrast to photos, sketches/paintings allow you to accentuate the important features, making them stick out in memory. And when you take a lot of photos, you might experience a disconnect to your experiences later — something you don’t have if you write down what you feel in the moment you sketch the image.

And sure, there will probably (soon) be an app that allows you to do something similar.

But for personal experiences … perhaps these things do have their uses.

What do you think?


  1. Being a painter, it’s SOP for me to have a small watercolor kit along when I travel. It’s the size of a pencil bag and weighs next to nothing. And what it adds to my journals is something unique – who I was at that time paying attention to what mattered to me in that moment, interpreting it as best I could with a few materials. I have likewise made watercolor sketches of people I’ve met and made friends with in my travels rather than photographing them. This isn’t to sayphotos can’t be as intimate or artful. But few travelers take photographs with a contemplative or artistic aim as opposed to a means to quickly catch s moment.

  2. Hoi Paula, yeah, I see the value in it — esp. when it comes as an alternative to photographing people. And I agree, doing good photographs is difficult, you’d essentially have to do a great environmental portrait. As for the watercolor kit, there are some interesting ones, e.g., with a brush containing water and other features. Never tried it, but seems interesting. BTW, do you have some paintings online?

Comments are closed.