Photographer Brian Hodges has an uncanny ability to capture people and cultures in remote corners of the world. A single image of his can speak multitudes. Stephanie has long-admired Brian’s work and, in fact, hung one of his photographs in the Figue office — a continuous source of inspiration throughout the day. We spoke with Brian about everything from his favorite places to travel to the secret to getting a great shot.
Which comes first: the location or the photograph?
For me, the location comes first. I have an insatiable curiosity and simply love to go where I’ve never been before.
The secret to getting the shot:
The incongruous combination of detailed preparation and luck.
What I have learned from other cultures by photographing them:
Verbal communication is entirely unnecessary to convey mutual understanding, love and respect. In far-flung locales where I don’t speak the language, I’ve discovered all these things can be communicated with the eyes only.
The most inspiring places I have ever been:
Morocco remains one of my favorite travel destinations. Spectacular geography — desert, ocean, mountains — coupled with the immense cultural depth there never ceases to surprise me. I’ve visited at least half a dozen times but will never feel particularly comfortable there. Ironically, comfort is not something I’m looking for when traveling as that tends to make me complacent with my photography.
Where I want to go next:
I’m heading to Bolivia next week with my family. Why? Among other reasons, this is an improbable Christmas destination. I often enjoy traveling as a contrarian over the big holidays. Bolivia has the greatest percentage of indigenous inhabitants of any South American country and I’m excited to see what that looks like. In addition to the people, the geography looks extraordinary.
The story behind the Papua New Guinea photo hanging in the Figue office (below):
I flew on a four-passenger propeller supply plane — full of rice sacks to be dropped off to locals — to a remote grass airstrip in the western highlands village of Simbai. The pilot promised to return but didn’t show up until five days later. I lived in the village guest hut owned by the one-eyed village chief. He carried a hatchet and wore a western neck-tie. In this photo, the little boy was somewhat intimidated by my presence. I mimicked a jump — everybody laughed — and asked the boy to do the same. This singular image captured the moment where levity meets levitation.