From the other side of the camera lens. Photo by Bart Pogoda.
Announcing the newest installment of our 24 Best series: 24 Best Travel Photographers.
The photographers who made our heavily obsessed-over list may have wildly different points of view, methods, processes, experiences, and intentions, but what they all have in common is a spirited approach to documenting what's happening in the world.
For travel nerds like us, there is nothing more inspiring than being absorbed into tiny pockets of humanity on the high seas or peeking in on natural landscapes we thought only possible in our dreams.
Our aim with this list is to spotlight hardworking pros with a range of styles. Some document warfare in global hotspots; others, kitchen tables in the countryside. All of them help connect us with the cultures, climates, and landscapes that we never knew existed but are now dying to discover.
What we love: The way Albert points his lens on the world's conflicts without flinching is at once moving and slightly unnerving. We also like how his Instagram includes none of his work (political) but all of his life (family, mountains).
What we love: Her travel portfolio is full of quiet moments in colorful settings. Her portraits bring light and life to the places that they're shot. She makes us feel like we're getting to know the locals right along with her.
What we love: The colors. The compositions. The moments captured forever, like a girl doing needlework in Guatemala. Ballis is a Melbourne-based photographer whose photo essays (Iceland, Belize, New Zealand) desperately make us want to get on a plane.
What we love: Lots of concrete and city shapes around Europe captured in bright, high contrast shots. As a photo columnist for AD Architectural Digest Germany, Sebastian inspires us to look up, under, and around buildings we walk past every day.
What we love: We're totally blown away by his hyper-real depictions of maritime life and nautical gems ... and then we learned he also works as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. His images, often juxtaposing humans and animals and a dark and looming sea, remind us of the best kind of movie stills. With every photo, we feel like we're in the middle of the action.
What we love: The visual storytelling and vivid realism in everything from breakfast table still lifes to portraits to hotel interiors. It doesn't hurt that her work often centers on hunting down the incredible boutique hotels, charming cafes, and colorful shops that make a place tick — and whets our travel whistles.
What we love: The Dutch photographer's delicate and minimalist imagery asks viewers to contemplate the world's expansive landscape and the relationship humans have to it. Her editorial work is equally spare and bold.
What we love: The World Wildlife Foundation's South Africa photographer in residence spends time observing, absorbing, and photographing animals (and humans, too) in their natural habitats. There is a heaviness to every portrait and a sense of respect for every scene the camera captures.
What we love: Crisp and uncluttered, the self-taught photographer's images capture the spirit of our curated, small-batch, artisanal times, which makes her carefully articularted travel scenes of Paris, New York, and South America feel incredibly Of the Moment.
What to love: De Los Santos photographs markets, dining clubs, kitchens, farms, and all the ways that culture is exchanged across the table. As a regular contributor to National Geographic and Saveur, she traverses the globe documenting ingredients, techniques, and the universal joy of breaking bread.
What we love: The habitual nomad (he spent 10 months on the road in 2014) is inspired by wild and adventurous places like Mount Kilimanjaro and Western Madagascar, though he doesn't shy away from luxurious destinations in Italy and Greece. We're especially fond of his bright pops of color.
What we love: From the streets of Buenos Aires to the souks of Marrakech, Petrow has taken Fathom along on several international journeys, capturing characters, street scenes, and food around the globe. If you've ever tried to shoot a beautiful plate of pasta in Rome or a bowl of Andong Jimdak in Seoul, you'll know this is no easy feet. We can't wait to see where she's headed next and what's for dinner.
Last seen: Explaining how Punta Mita avoided becoming the Señor Frogs-ridden spring break destination of your nightmares.
What we love: That he's an adventure photographer with a lovely edge. His aerial shots are stunning, out-awesomed only by his photo of a guy kite-surfing a glacier. (Kite-surfing a glacier!) We want to live in Scott Dickerson's world. (We want to have the adrenaline to live in Scott Dickerson's world.)
What we love: With a portfolio of work that spans four-and-a-half decades, we'd be hard-pressed to find another photographer who has covered the U.S. surf scene as thoroughly as Divine. He started out snapping fellow surfers in his hometown of La Jolla, California, and worked his way up to photo editor positions at Surfer Magazine and Surfer's Journal. Looking for an afro or psychadelic paint job? Explore his surfer archive one decade at a time.
What we love: The Croatian documentary photographer covers conflicts and cultures all over the world with a humanitarian focus. His website is as notable for his commentary as for his images. Next up: He will spend a month in Albanian mountains photographing 40 women who live as men because their families don't have sons, a tradition only found in that part in the world.
What we love: We featured a series of her Cuba photos last fall and have since fallen even harder for her portraits, her interiors, her food photography. She infuses soul and warmth into everything she captures. We remain so impressed with the body of work she's compiled on her many trips to Cuba — a Cuba that will be changing all too soon.
What we love: Most travelers dream of packing up and spending life on the road. Which is exactly what 25-year-old Mankins did in December 2014 in his 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser. Last we checked, he had documented more than 40 U.S. states. We love his clean, optimistic style and are continually inspired to explore our own backyard more carefully.
What we love: The professional iPhonographer covers outdoorsy stuff — high deserts, beautiful mountain ranges, animal portraits — in a poetic manner that makes us want to spend a night under the stars.