Storyteller: Jason Kirchgessner, USA
What were the reasons for your travel?
Although I've been traveling throughout the United States quite a bit over the past few years, I never had the chance to visit another country. Whenever I thought about traveling internationally, it always seemed like a 'some day' sort of thing—almost in a daunting way. In fact, I didn't even have my passport yet. So when it came time to plan my yearly trip, I knew this was my opportunity.
London was an easy first choice. Thanks to Netflix and Doctor Who, England had always been at the back of my mind as a must visit location. Plus, it's similar enough to home that I didn't have to worry about language barriers or not being able to communicate with anyone.
What compelled you to create this photo book?
I've been a designer and photographer for many years, but only recently have become avid about making sure I catalog my journeys into something tangible. Previously, all of my images would be showcased on a blog or social media post, but it always felt like such a short shelf life. One and done like most other things in the digital world. However, there's something special about being able to hold a bound copy of your work and having it at your fingertips whenever you want to relive a memory.
What is your favorite image and why?
When I was little, I was fascinated by all of the wonders of the world; the history of past civilizations and their cultures. There was something captivating and mysterious about a giant stone temple or pyramid built by a group of people that are no longer around to share their story. But, since I was a kid growing up in the middle of the United States, ever getting to see any of these wonders seemed like such an impossibility. For that reason, there's a single misty shot of Stonehenge (above) that stands out as my favorite. It was early in the morning. The wind was calm. The grounds were silent. The entire structure exuded a sense of reverence. I had so much anticipation built up and being there in person felt somewhat surreal. It was a moment of accomplishment, realizing I was standing somewhere that I never thought I would. And somewhere that my younger self would have been so proud to be.
What is your favorite story behind a single shot in the book?
There's a single shot of the sunset over the river Thames (above). It's neither fancy, nor really of anything of importance. However, it's among my most favorite moments from my trip. At the end of each day, I'd grab a bit of food and walk down to this spot and pause to take in the sights and sounds around me. The area was always busy, usually filled with tourists taking in the view or snagging a quick selfie with their loved ones, but it was the most peaceful place to sit. After a busy day of exploring and moving about from place to place, it offered a quiet moment of reflection—to remember what I had experienced and simply to remember why I was there.