Visiting new places is exciting no matter who you are, but for travel photographers, it’s also an important part of business. That’s why London, United Kingdom-based travel photographer Ben Pipe is living up to his title. He recently made a trip to the Balkan region of Europe, visiting several countries and creating content along the way.
I believe that to keep developing as a photographer I need to keep traveling and shooting new places and cultures, every year I aim to visit as many new destinations as possible.
Seeking out the unknown, Ben hoped to see as many uniquely Balkan sites as possible. He trekked through several countries, stopping at points of interest along the way.
I didn’t know any photographers or friends who had visited Bosnia or Albania, and so that sense of mystery when arriving in Sarajevo and Tirana was exciting, and a rare feeling in a world now so well trodden.
The images taken on the trip would keep Ben’s portfolio fresh, and keep him inspired as he takes on assignments throughout the year. A self-directed trip like this afforded him the time to take chances as a photographer, and the final images do not disappoint.
In Albania, Ben and his companions traveled to the Accursed Mountains, whose name is attributed to an ancient fairy tale.
Two brothers went hunting and found a beautiful fairy. Asked which one she preferred, she answered: one for his bravery, the other for his good looks. The brave brother killed the handsome one and took the fairy home to their mother, who was so angry she cursed the fairy and the mountains forever.
Folklore wasn’t the only thing Ben discovered on his journey. He also experienced the beloved Stari Most bridge, a Lock-In tower used to protect men involved in blood feuds, and the medieval town of Dubrovnik, where “Game of Thrones” is filmed.
Ben also had the pleasure of interacting with the locals and found that despite language barriers and cultural differences, the people were hospitable and interesting.
Portraits had been lacking from photographic coverage of the Balkans until I met Schkure whilst shooting the church seen behind her. I approached her and attempted to ask for the portrait. We didn’t share a common language, but she still agreed.
By the end of his trip, Ben had a catalog of images to add to his repertoire and a wealth of experiences from beautiful and oft-overlooked countries.
Ever need tips on travel? Ben might be the perfect guy to ask.