To celebrate Passion Passport’s five-year anniversary, we teamed up with ONA Bags and created a collection of travel-inspired camera bags in five limited-edition colors, each chosen to represent the vibrant nature of travel and the rich experiences that can be found around the world.
We gifted a different colored bag to five talented photographers and challenged them to incorporate them into their shots, and daily lives.
Next up is Carrie Hartsfield, a landscape photographer and avid outdoor enthusiast currently living in Chile’s southernmost region of Patagonia. We caught up with Carrie to learn more about her journey with photography and how the bag impacted her creative process.
Creatives utilize multiple mediums to express themselves. Why did you choose photography?
I picked up photography when I first moved to Patagonia because I was inspired to learn about the technical and creative aspects of the medium. It felt as though I had an obligation to share the places around me with the rest of the world. No matter how many photos you see of a place, nothing can replace the feeling of being there in person and feeling the immensity and beauty of a landscape. That said, with photography, one is able to get close to capturing that “feeling” and hope that it overtakes a person when they look at an image.
How has photography changed the way you look at the world?
Since taking up photography, I have gained a new appreciation for all of the world’s little things, and the power to capture a single moment and turn it into a memory that others can see. I never woke up for sunrise before traveling with my friend Hannes and learning about photography. Now I look forward to seeing that morning light hit the mountains on the regular.
Tell us a little about your creative process — how do you go about planning a shoot?
When I am planning a shoot, I brainstorm the types of scenes and scenarios I want to capture. Then, I take a few days to think through the process and snap photos on my iPhone of new angles or locations I see. Once I have those in my head, I actually go out and enjoy nature — meaning, I do something like go on a horseback ride, take a mini road trip with my co-worker, go to a family BBQ, etc. During those times, I connect to natural scenes and find inspiration for my shoots.
How does your environment impact your work?
I am located in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, the southernmost section of the continental Americas. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the third-largest temperate sheet of ice in the world, behind Antarctica and Greenland. So, as you can imagine, the impacts of global warming are right in my face. I see them and feel them everyday. Having these things in front of me challenges me to share their beauty and their story with others.
How would you describe your photography experience with the ONA x PP bag?
Traveling with the ONA x PP bag made bringing my camera and taking it out much more natural. Because I was able to keep the bag strapped around me, I could finally ride horses and run around — it made it easy to take out my camera, shoot, put it away again, and keep moving. I used to only use my phone when I went horseback riding for this reason, which is a shame because we typically go to some incredible places that I would end up not capturing. In the same respect, when I am driving in my car, the bag fits next to me in the center console, so I can stop the car, get out, and take a quick shot anywhere.
How does the bag facilitate your creative process?
My aim is to capture authentic moments as naturally as possible. The convenience of the bag enables me to do so with ease. The bag is actually my first solely dedicated to my camera. I used to only use an in-case unit, which I would move from backpack to backpack. This would require me to stop what I was doing, take the bag off, and get the camera out. But this one is small enough that I can bring it anywhere, fit my camera in it, and bring extra tools along.
How has the signature bag color inspired you to get creative in your home?
Most of the photos I took show how I use the bag during my day-to-day experiences — among the mountains and farmlands. I was inspired by the contrast of the blue bag and the yellow pampa fields, as well as by the surrounding landscape of glacial lakes, fjords, and mountains.
Why is collaboration in the travel/photography space so important?
Collaboration in these spaces are important for two reasons. First, it engages wider audiences and inspires them to experience the world in a new way. Collaboration also challenges the makers involved to reflect on their daily experiences while developing unique ways to show their world view.
Like this interview? Stay tuned to read more in our ONA series — and if you’re a photographer, consider grabbing a bag for yourself!