Desire – n. a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment
Dream – n. an aspiration; a wild fancy
“Sitting by the pool without a care in the world was a dream come true”
While walking past the window of a travel agency, it’s not the words that catch your eye. When scrolling aimlessly through the world of newsfeeds and updates, it’s not the status about how terrible drivers are or how someone tripped in front of Starbucks today that interests most people. If you’re a traveler like me, it’s the beautiful photos of faraway places that make you pause, click even! And dream a little.
I have a very vivid memory, of an afternoon in London about 30 years ago. With about ten minutes before departure, I was sitting on a commuter train in an old, dingy Victorian Charing Cross station. As I looked out the window, all I saw were the grey faces of the grey people all walking on autopilot, doing what they did every day because it was what they had always done and probably what they continued to do for years thereafter. Now, at this time, a group of friends and I had just booked a holiday to the balmy Spanish island of Mallorca. I still had the brochure in my hands and I remember looking away from the grey platform with its grey passersby and down at the colorful, glossy photographs, reading over and over the description of the hotel we would be staying at. And looking at the photograph of a turquoise blue swimming pool with people lounging in the warm sun, I felt the strong pull of desire. I wanted to be there more than anything in that moment.
Desire drives us
Desire drives us, gives us the will to live. It’s all the things we look forward to. From your first early morning cup of steaming hot coffee to putting your feet up and relaxing at the end of the day, it’s the desire for those moments that help us get through all the stuff we don’t want to do. The drive for long hours, for saving money, for dealing with stress, often stems from the desire for the reward at the end of it all – the house, the car, the dream vacation.
I first really thought about the concept of desire in relation to travel when I attended one of my initial training courses as an overseas rep for a tour operator back in the 1980’s. It was suggested to us, the audience, that the holiday company wasn’t just selling a ticket to somewhere in exchange for money. We were in fact selling a dream.
At that time in Britain, the second highest priority (and also the second biggest expense to a Brit) was his or her annual holiday getaway. It was the thing they desired and the thing they worked for all year long. And at the time, it was our responsibility to give them their dream through brilliant customer service and brochure after brochure of lovely descriptions and tantalizing photographs of warm, sunny beaches and drinks by the pool. Today, the tourism and travel industry continues to sell dreams, but instead of just brochures, we have websites and the open world of social media. A dream destination, once showcased by two images and a brief description in a small rack of brochures can now easily go unnoticed without eye-catching photographs to stand out amidst the chaos of constantly updating newsfeeds and tweets.
The Infinite Search
This idea that the travel industry is the marketplace of dreams has really stuck with me over the years and has since become a sort of subconscious mantra on which my photography and my company is built. I photograph hotels and destinations in hopes of inspiring someone else to have the same moment of desire I had 30 years ago on that train in London. After years of photographing, I finally realized what I really do: I photograph dreams for a living and I have found passion in that.