Travel is an immensely personal experience for the ardent adventurer, and our featured analogue wanderer is a testament to that. In October 2014, Singapore-based Samantha Ann Francis traveled to Nepal, setting foot on Kathmandu — the capital and largest city — for the first time and taking a 5-day trek to Poon Hill. As part of her ongoing personal travel photography series, she decided to capture the unique charm of the country through a number of popular experimental film photography techniques. “It was my attempt to recreate the surreal beauty of Nepal through cross-processed colours and double exposures, each colour scheme depicting the mood and energy of the setting I was in.”
In her photos around the well-known landlocked country nestled in the Himalayas, we can indeed see her personal approach to telling some of the compelling stories, scenes, and landscapes she came across during the trip, made even more interesting by the saturated hues and tasteful doubles.
Wanting to know more about the trip, her Nepal experience, and photographic ventures around the country, we asked Samantha to tell us more about it for this week’s installment of Wanderlust.
Can you tell us something about this set and your trip?
This set of photos from Nepal is part of “Dreaming Cities”— a personal ongoing series of travel photography which compiles my journeys as a traveler, in a bid to explore the romanticized and sometimes unreal expectations of our travels.
These photos were shot during my 10-day trip to Nepal in October 2014 where I visited Kathmandu for the first time and took a 5-day trek to Poon Hill. It was my attempt to recreate the surreal beauty of Nepal through cross-processed colours and double exposures, each colour scheme depicting the mood and energy of the setting I was in.
You took many photos of the locals and slice of life during this trip. What can you say about the experience of interacting with them for your photos?
I think the experience was mainly positive and spontaneous, especially during my 5-day trek to Poon Hill where I had the fortune to stay among locals in the guest-houses and the chance to interact with them on a day-to-day basis. The beauty of sharing daily meals and accommodation with the locals is that you eventually gain a slightly deeper understanding of their perspectives on life and culture, no matter how different or similar it may be to yours, compared to if you were to merely visit them once or twice.
Photography-wise, were you in pursuit of anything specific for your visit in Nepal – like photographing the landscapes, capturing street scenes, or taking portraits of interesting people you meet along the way? If so, do you think you managed to do it the way you wanted it?
Personally, I try not to restrict myself especially when I’m traveling. As a wide-eyed traveler, I try to create images of anything that catches my eye or moves my heart. It could be anything; a stranger who smiled at me, the city bathed in a particular sunset, or even an imagination I had of the place. It is always the mood of a place that I want to try and remember, through my photos.
Was there anything you wanted to see, experience, or photograph but missed during your visit?
I guess the trip was satisfying on its own but left me wanting more, especially to see the parts of Nepal I hadn’t had the time to visit, such as the Eastern Terai. Nature and humanity is boundless after all!
What do you consider to be the highlight of your trip?
The highlight of my trip was definitely the one night where a few of us trekkers got to huddle up next to the heater, drinking raksi (traditional Nepali alcohol) with the locals and chatting the night away.
Can you give an important piece of travel advice for film photographers like yourself?
Keep your gear as basic as possible because you don’t want to be fumbling with the knobs and lenses when a great moment comes by. I also try to keep 2 cameras loaded with film at any one time because I never want to be out of frames when I want to take a shot.
Lastly, if you could take just one camera and one roll of film to a dream destination, where would it be, which camera and film would you bring, and what will you make sure to take photos of?
I’d take the Lomo LC-A+ together with a roll of Kodak Elitechrome EBX to New York and I’ll be sure to try trippy multiple exposures of the city lights.
Interview by Joy Celine Asto / Photography by Samantha Ann Francis
For more of Samantha’s work and photos of Kathmandu, Nepal, please head to the following links: