The world through a lens
City photographer Caroline Gibello’s work is inspired by her travels to exotic destinations around the globe globetrotter
AFTER completing a degree in zoology and botany, photographer Caroline Gibello embarked on a journey to explore the world. With money saved from her first job as a shepherdess on a Scottish Border sheep farm, she bought her first SLR camera, and with the instruction manual in her backpack set off for Asia.
On returning to Cape Town, she studied fine art photography at the University of Cape Town and since then, in between wild and exotic wanderings around the world, has pursued a career in photography. Her work is exhibited internationally.
She shares her experiences covering exotic destinations which are the backdrop to the many adventures that inspire her work. How many places (cities or countries) have you visited? Lots and lots and lots – too many to count. Where was your favourite holiday? My favourite time is always in the African bush; camping beside a river in an African landscape is by far the best way to spend time away from one’s everyday reality. This is why I choose to capture the African bush; there are moments of reverence that I try to capture in my work and which embody my first book, Water & Dust.
For me, the African bush is a place where time stands still, where the sounds, the smells, the resonance of nature in its entirety are so captivating and transcendent that everything outside of that reality ceases to exist for me. Put quite simply, it is my heaven on earth. And, it is my passion to share this beauty through the images that I capture. What was your favourite city and why? I have travelled to many cities in the world, but Paris remains my favourite city – there is something indescribably but tangibly special about Paris; the ambience, the feeling that pervades my senses when I am wandering through the streets evoke a romantic and passionate nostalgia that is difficult to define. There is something about Paris that lingers in me long after I have left – it truly is a sensual experience. What must a first-time visitor see there? The Sacre Couer. What has been your best holiday so far and why? Difficult question, there have been so many; hitchhiking from Cape Town to Zanzibar, trekking through the Himalayas, riding a Royal Enfield to the source of the Ganges in India, and working with orangutans in Sumatra. Your worst experience on a holiday? Cockroaches crawling all over me while sleeping on the deck of a rickety Indonesian ferry. What place would you visit again? The entire globe!
Next year, my intention is to return to India in March to continue with my Indian body of work entitled A Woman of India. India is the most magnificently colourful, dazzling and visually captivating country. I look forward to exploring more of rural India on the back of a motorcycle and feasting my eyes on the extraordinary and beautiful life scenes along the way.
I will also return to my favourite African wilderness areas in Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania to add to my African portfolios of work. And, a trip to China is long overdue.
The world’s my oyster – so much to see and do; so little time. Your favourite restaurant and food during your travels? Authentic Indian food from a roadside Indian “restaurant” somewhere in Uttar Pradesh. Your favourite place to drink a glass of wine or to have sundowners? Ihaya campsite, right on the Chobe River in Botswana. What do you avoid during a holiday?
Taking more than one bag. As a seasoned traveller and flyer can you share some tips? Travel very, very light, and be open to every new experience and to every person you encounter along the way. Stay light, bright, enthusiastic and embrace the mishaps – they all contribute to the adventure.
RACING STRIPES: Caroline Gibello’s photo, titled
of a herd of zebra crossing a river.
SOUL-SEARCHING: Gibello’s photograph of a young gypsy in India.
OUTWARD BOUND: Caroline Gibello in a vehicle on one of her many travels.