Saturday, October 17, 2009

Transit

I've been reading an interesting book lately called "Transit" by the photographer Uwe Ommer.

This is not just another photography book. It's part photography book, part scrapbook, part cultural sampler, and part epic journey. It's also giant in size, not only physically, but in page number as well (720!).

The genesis of "Transit" was another book by Ommer called "1,000 Families" in which he traveled around the world for years to photograph portraits of 1,000 families showing life and values in different countries.

The "1,000 Families" book was the expected outcome of that major effort, but it seems that "Transit" was the unexpected outcome. You know how some DVD packages come with the movie and then an extra DVD about the making of the movie? Well, "Transit" is about the making of "1,000 Families".

I find this book interesting because of it's massive scope of travel, the storytelling approach of the the narratives, and the funny anecdotes that can only come from a modern day around-the-world adventure into sometimes not-so-modern-day places. And that's what this trip was....an adventure!

But more than anything else, it clearly shows the importance of the family unit in every corner of the world. Every family and culture is different (which this book clearly points out), but in the end everyone just wants to be happy, to enjoy life, to give something back, and to be with their family in their environment. It's a compelling story...

If you're interested in travel, family, culture, photography (or all of these things), I would suggest checking out this book.

I'll end my part of this post by putting up the description of "Transit" from Amazon's web site:

"Around the world in 1424 days: the epic voyage behind the making of the book 1000 Families. Part travel journal, part scrapbook, "Transit" is a unique book that traces the four-year, 250,000-km journey of photographer Uwe Ommer during the making of TASCHEN’s 1000 Families. Called a "family album of planet earth," 1000 Families is a vast collection of portraits taken by Ommer in over 130 countries in all corners of the world. Naturally, a voyage of such epic proportions bears its fair share of anecdotes, adventures, mishaps, and souvenirs, and Transit traces the experience via stories and images. From closed borders and broken bridges to late rainy seasons, curious customs officers, thieves, coups d’├ętat, raging fevers, and a far from "unbreakable" Land Rover, Ommer found truth in the maxim "just about everything that can go wrong, will."

This amusing and original compilation paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to travel to the most remote corners of the globe for four years, meeting countless people and observing the great cultural and social similarities and differences that mark the human race".

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