Photography is not just a hobby, especially when it comes to capturing a moment while traveling. Though it might seem as if carrying around a heavy camera that weighs on your shoulder or remembering to pull out your phone in the middle of an activity might be more of a hassle than the final snapshot, photography allows us a deeper look into our experiences as travelers. It offers us a chance to relive our adventures in ways that our memory fails us.

two women photograph a tree from a vehiclePerhaps no other medium intertwines so well with travel as photography. Because it is entirely visual, you are in control of what you want to capture within a frame. No matter how many times someone has taken a shot of the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, there is a new way to depict these popular monuments. Your viewpoint makes these places unique even though they have been seen through the eyes of millions.

As a writer, I never saw the appeal of taking pictures while I was traveling. I wanted to integrate myself into a location in other ways — I thought that photography would somehow diminish my way of looking at the world. For several years, I refused to take the time to document my journeys, believing I would remember every sight, scent, and tactile experience I had. Of course, I was wrong. My memories didn’t last long, and I found myself grasping for a way to recall the color of the Mediterranean or the way the sun set over Tuscany.

fields of wisteria in tuscanyOnce I picked up a camera, these images were more solid in my mind. Any time I had trouble remembering an essential part of my journeys, I had evidence that it happened, and I could recollect the thoughts and emotions I had in the moment I captured the shot.

Ansel Adams stated, “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Taking pictures is more than creating posts for Instagram and Facebook. It’s more than showing off your latest exploit to friends and family. It’s even more than a creative project you might be putting together in order to encapsulate your journeys. It’s about who you are as a traveler and what you want to say about how a destination changed you. It’s a narrative of your time discovering, growing.

three men practice photographyPassion Passport is headed to the There There festival hosted by Moment at the end of September in order to meet with others who feel the same way about the transformative influence photography has for travelers. We plan on interviewing and getting to know creatives who have shaped their lives around photography’s power to define exploration — internally or by interacting with a certain location.

Photography allows us to avoid Adam’s version of silence. With our cameras, we always have the opportunity to hear our thoughts and the voices from our destinations. We always have the chance to return to the places that shaped us the most.