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PRC Nights Online: Travel Photography

April 14, 2021, 6-8pm

Featuring Kamal X with Steve Edson and Ilene Perlman

Travel photography means different things to different people. For some it is documentation of an excursion. For some, it is an expression of the feeling of a place at a particular time, portraying a land, its people, or a culture. Whether it’s landscape, portraiture, documentary, or something in between, photographs during travel tell a story and visually share an experience. During this past year the pandemic has prevented travel for most people and with this PRC nights we can vicariously explore the world and feel pulled into the images as if we were there.

Kamal X, Jazz Street, 2021

PRC Nights Online: Travel Photography features photographer Kamal X who says of his work, “My path to redefining myself was an unexpected journey that was rooted in compassion and extreme honesty. A difficult yet necessary journey that taught me the importance of embracing the truth in order to make progress. As a photographer I strive to create images that represent those same core elements to give a voice to the unheard and misunderstood.” Kamal was born in 1986 and grew up in Newark, NJ. He attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD and Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA though he is a self-taught documentary photographer currently based out of Brooklyn, New York. Photography found Kamal in 2015, after deciding to travel the world in honor of his best friend who passed away due to colon cancer. Kamal’s 2020 work covering the BLM Protests of Oakland, CA and Washington D.C. was featured in the New York Times leading to his first gallery appearance with 111 Minna Gallery of San Francisco, CA. Those images became a series entitled The Beautiful: Oakland to D.C., with which he won 2nd place in Lensculture’s Black & White Photography Awards. More recently, Kamal was featured in Apple’s “Hometown” campaign which highlighted black photographers across America and this year he self-published his debut photography book, A Quest Supreme, which documents 5 years of traveling to more than 40 countries in search of inner peace.

photo by Ilene Perlman

Also sharing work is PRC Member Ilene Perlman who has been photographing within the editorial, educational, non-profit and corporate world for more than 25 years. Her work can be found in leading editorial publications, marketing materials for the travel industry including global travel companies, and in advertising and annual reports. Some of her work for NGO’s has included Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity, USAID, the Peace Corp and Oxfam USA. Ilene’s passion as a travel photographer stems from the thrill of capturing an unexpected moment. Whether traveling to the Comoros Islands for a travel story, traversing rural Yemen and India documenting health programs for an NGO, wandering the labyrinth of the old city in Cairo for an in-flight magazine, documenting the faces of the women coffee farmers in Rwanda, and seeking out Jewish communities in Morocco, Ethiopia, Cuba, and more she cherishes the moments not predicted on her itinerary. For Ilene, her photography has also been a way to explore the political and social complexities of these cultures, that both share similarities and differences with that of the western world, “My camera acts as a veil allowing me to get past the comfort zone that we have created in western society to keep our set distances from each other.  To enter the zone of “intimacy” is something that is much more accepted and assumed in many cultures in the world. My camera helps to let me in and opens me up to the complex world of the people I meet.”

Steve Edson, Siem Reap, Cambodia

After Steve Edson lost eyesight in one eye at age 8, he was given a camera by a neighbor, and it was with that plastic Kodak that he began to consider the qualities of what makes a photograph worth looking at beyond the initial cursory glance. Influenced by Life Magazine and National Geographic, Steve was exposed to compelling stories that talented photographers were creating, and in high school took his first photography class, learning the basics of developing film and making B+W prints. At 15 he was commissioned for his first commercial job, and after attending Goddard College in Vermont, Steve transferred to MassArt where he majored in photography and graduated with a BFA in Inter-Related Media. He then began working for editorial publications, advertising agencies, and corporations enabling him to build a roster of clients while also continuing to explore fine art photography, which he does to this day some 40 years later. Steve Edson will also be sharing work from his ‘Someplace Else’ series where he uses the camera to describe the subtle visual details of his world. Being both a part of the environment and simultaneously being an observer, he creates stories: real and fictional, which tie together diverse visual relationships. ‘Someplace Else’ is a collection of Steve’s images made along the way to other places. They celebrate the small moments between here and there. Believing that he doesn’t have to glamorize travel, he’s free to see the world as it is: in all of its natural beauty as well as in its various states of quirky and humorous juxtapositions. Ultimately as a visual storyteller, Steve is fascinated by the distillation and convergence and the ultimate transformation which an image undergoes from the moments of inspiration to a final framed print.