Interview with Travel Photographer Colin Roohan

Colin Roohan is a passionate travel photographer and one of the brilliant professionals I had the opportunity to interview this year. His photographs showcase vivid and rich cultural experiences documented along his travels around the world, from Peru to Croatia and all the way to India, Vietnam, and United Arab Emirates.

More than that, they capture what the photographer calls “moments of true bliss”:

Moments of true bliss typically occur while I’m traveling, whether conversing with a sadhu or belting out “99 Luftballoons” in a singing room packed with Koreans, I am at peace – my chi nice and centered.

Colin Roohan is a creative individual who has the power to inspire those who witness his work. So, let’s discover more about the story behind his craft and travel experiences.

Portrait of Colin Roohan Travel Photographer
Colin Roohan – Travel Photographer

G.M. Could you please tell us about your first encounter with photography? What made you start as a photographer? 

C.R. My mother was an avid photo hobbyist so growing up I constantly remember wanting to use her camera. There is something so tactile about old SLRs; you want to pick them up and play with them. Later in life, I moved and worked in Seoul, South Korea for a few years. It was here that I truly immersed myself in the craft. I became part of large ex-pat photo group and began competing in competitions and joining photo-shoots to learn all that I could from a great group of talented people.

G.M. What is your favorite travel photography destination? 

C.R. I would have to say India. It is a place that is very challenging to travel in, but I feel that makes any valuable material you shoot there more rewarding. In addition to that, South America has been good to me as well. The people and the scenery are phenomenal there, and I feel it is a country that evokes so much emotion in every facet of life.

Nashik, India, Travel Photograph by Colin Roohan
Nashik, India © Colin Roohan Photography

G.M. What project is held dearest to your heart and why? 

C.R. I worked on a book that documents the Seoul subway system, and that will always have a place in my heart. It was the first big project I worked on and it really helped me elevate my photography as I started to cater and conceptualize my work toward publication.

G.M. How important is post-processing in your work? Is there an editing software you prefer using? 

C.R. I’d don’t put a huge emphasis on post because honestly I find it boring. I generally use Lightroom and enjoy the occasional VSCO preset. To be frank, though, I try to get the image right the first time in-camera that allows me to spend less time on the computer and more time in the field.

Squid Boats by Colin Roohan
Squid Boats, South Korea © Colin Roohan Photography

G.M. What camera gear do you currently use? Do you take with you any additional equipment on a shooting day? 

C.R. I generally travel with a few Nikon DSLR bodies, a few prime lenses and a mid-length zoom. Most of my assignments require me to be out on my feet for roughly 10-12 hours a day so I cannot be burdened by cumbersome gear. Other than the cameras a speed light and a tripod are the other items I sometimes bring along.

G.M. Where do you find inspiration? Could you name a few photographers that you consider influential for your style? 

C.R. I love a lot of classic photojournalists: McCurry, Abercrombie, Smolan. In addition to those guys Flash Parker and Chris Burkard‘s works always move me.

G.M. How would you define your photography in three words? 

C.R. Nostalgic, classic, reminiscent.

G.M. If you could start again as a photographer is there anything you would do differently? Are there any sectors you’d like to explore more?

C.R. I wish I would have studied photography in school and earned a degree in the field. I think having a diploma would have opened up a few doors for me along the way.

Photograph by Colin Roohan
© Colin Roohan Photography

G.M. If it weren’t for photography, what else would you do?

C.R. I love surfing but, funnily enough, I never take a camera with me to a session. I love being able to enjoy life and unwind; leaving my camera, phone, other gadgetry behind.

G.M. Any words of wisdom for photography enthusiasts at the beginning of their journey? 

C.R. Shoot a lot! When you first start out shoot as much material as you can; try different cameras, different films, different subjects. It is important to experiment when you’re first starting, and I think it can play a vital part in helping you narrow down an area you may want to really focus on.

picture of cholon market by colin roohan travel photographer
Cholon Market, Saigon Vietnam © Colin Roohan

G.M. Can you tell us a bit about your current and future projects?

C.R. My recent assignments have been for a large organization based in the USA that helps countries grow their tourism sector. In May, I went to Peru and in August to Brazil.

Thanks to Colin for sharing his experience and enthusiasm for travel photography with us. Discover more of his beautiful photographs and projects at Colin Roohan Photography, on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

Disclaimer: All photographs featured in this interview belong to Colin Roohan and are protected by copyright.

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