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Street photography adventures in Beautiful Colombia
Featuring gorgeous landscape, fascinating stories, happy people and so many colours
Last November I was fortunate enough to live one of my dreams: go on a street photography trip with some incredibly talented photographers in a one of a kind location: Colombia. This was my first trip of this kind and I absolutely loved it!! Soooo much! The one of a kind location was Colombia and it was the most fascinating place I’ve been to so far.
Colombia is definitely a country that needs to be seen, understood and appreciated in all its beauty and wonder. Our Colombian adventure took us to three amazing places, each different and each incredible.
Our adventures in Medellin, Jardin and Cartagena
We spent the first 5 nights in Medellin, an impressive city which used to be the murder capital of the world only 20 years ago. Since then it changed and developed so much that made me feel so humbled about the people’s resilience, strength and ambition in making things better. We saw streets with beautiful colourful decorations made from recycled plastic bottles and cans. We saw incredible graffiti on the streets that felt like it should have been in art galleries instead. And we saw amazing infrastructure to support the people in developing this country, like free public libraries and micro-finance for small businesses. Imagine all this topped with the most welcoming and friendly people I’ve ever met. Medellin was amazing!
Our next stop was Jardin, a colourful town surrounded by such rich greenery with streams full of glistering fireflies. Here we enjoyed walks in the nature, coffee with locals and drinks and chats with people in local pubs. We got to slow down and enjoy more of Colombia and it felt amazing.
Cartagena was our last stop and the hottest with a very steamy tropical climate. Featuring cobblestone streets and colourful colonial buildings it was the perfect place to go on photography adventures in the morning and afternoons, and enjoy cold drinks and naps when the day was hottest. My favourite part about Cartagena were the incredible graffiti on colourful houses and the morning we spent in a fisherman village.
Colombia – the land of colours, passionate dancers, proud and friendly people and inspiring stories
This was my first South America adventure something I’ve been dreaming about for so long! Before the trip I was trying to picture in my head what’s going to be like in Colombia. No matter how excited I was, I soon realised I was doing such an injustice in my head! Colombia was so different from anything I imagined. I found it to be happy, loud, overwhelming at times, full of inspiring people and stories and examples of hope and hard work!
I loved to wake up in the morning and explore places as they were waking up to life. I adored to stop and take in all the colours, smells and flavours around me. I felt humbled to hear stories about how a place can change for the better
Incredible people with inspiring stories
For me one of the most important outcomes from street photography is understanding how people live, what’s important to them and what makes them unique, while trying to relate, to see things from their point of view and to empathise with their challenges. While I know we all see the world through different filters based on our own experiences, I think kindness, curiosity about people and smiles are a universal language.
I found the Colombian people to be really kind and warm people, with friendly faces and “right back at you” smiles.
I admired them for so many things like their hard work, their resilience in face of danger, their way of re-inventing themselves and their passion of personal and community development. We’ve been invited in their homes, we’ve been given coffee, shots of wine and heard stories about their communities. It was so good to feel welcomed.
My top tips for a good street photography experience in Colombia
– Start early, recharge at lunchtime and go out again later. You’ll get to enjoy the places coming to life and the nice soft light of the morning and in the afternoon. When the weather is too hot just go for a nap and some relax time.
– Treat people with kindness and respect, like you wish yourself to be treated. I found that everybody was incredibly welcoming and friendly and even curious to talk to us and practice their English.
– Keep it light. Although my Nikon D750 is not the tinniest camera in the world, I enjoyed shooting with only one lens, my 35mm and zooming in with my tiny legs 🙂
– Learn about the place: ask questions, keep an open mind and heart and learn as much as you can about the history and culture. It will help you relate, understand circumstances and know how to interact with people better
– Dress comfortable and wear very comfy shoes. No need to say more here.
– Slow down. Best advice I’ve received for my wedding and family photography and is so incredibly on point for street photography too. Slowing down allows me to see things better, to follow my interest and to capture stories that do better justice to a place.
I feel like I can go on and on about the things that impressed me, the places I’ve seen, people I’ve met and fascinating thoughts that went through my mind, but I’ll keep it for my journal as I don’t want to bore you all to death.
My Colombia Street Photography super team
Last but not least, here are some photos from behind the scenes featuring the amazing group of photographers I’ve had around. Thank you guys for all the breaks where we took time to look at each other cameras and learn from one another. For me receiving critique about my work is a vital way of developing and I’m always grateful when I’m given advice on how I could do things better next time.
Hope you enjoyed this article on Colombia street photography. To keep up with my adventures please check my street photography Instagram account.