Travel + Photography // Finding a Balance

Allie Harrington
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If you know me personally (or even if you’ve just been following the blog for a length of time), you know that my husband Kelly and I love to travel. We are eager to see new places, taste unique foods, and be exposed to cultures unlike our own. We are always excited to get out of our comfort zone, and we try to balance exploring and relaxing in our lives. I’ve learned that for Kelly to truly relax, we have to get out of Medford, and away from any projects that will distract him from true rest! I must admit that my computer and camera go most places with me about ninety-nine percent of the time. My husband normally has to pry it away from me, and talk me into being present, which is something I need and something that rejuvenates my soul.

What draws me to travel is my love of capturing people and sharing their stories. It truly gives me life to tell people’s stories all around the world. I tell their stories through my lens, get to know their journey, and give them portraits. In this there is a tricky balance; I have never wanted to go somewhere, snap pictures of impoverished, malnourished children and come back home to exploit them, blow it up on a poster, and use that image of a child improperly. I’m always very careful when taking pictures while I’m abroad, especially in third world countries. I never want to take advantage of anyone, but I do want to dignify them by sharing their stories.

That’s why I’m always very careful of asking those I photograph, if they would mind me snapping a picture of them. I love getting to photograph the people I work with abroad and give that to them, it’s a valuable gift to most as it’s one thing that truly belongs to them, and most likely one of the few images the have of themselves. We are selfie-happy here in America, but most countries do not have dozens of albums that capture their lives on their coffee tables. On our recent trip to India, I pulled out my camera to capture some of the kiddos, to laugh with them, to hear their stories and to give them these precious snapshots of their darling smiles…below are just some of these amazing children. (And feel free to check out this incredible non profit, Tabithas Heart based out of Kolkata).

All in all, I’ve learned that sometimes for me to truly be present and engage with my surroundings, I’ve got to leave my camera behind. I may not have anything to show from my vacation, pretty pictures of my breakfast, my feet in the sand, a gorgeous shot of me posing in a sunset, or any other detail, but I get to take in those memories fully and enjoy them thoroughly.

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