The world through a lens

City pho­tog­ra­pher Caro­line Gi­bello’s work is in­spired by her trav­els to ex­otic des­ti­na­tions around the globe glo­be­trot­ter

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - TRAVEL 2011 -

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.

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