A world well travelled with Saraya Cortaville

October 9, 2019

I am delighted to feature you on our website Saraya, I have been a huge fan of yours for some time and enjoy your travel images as though I am there myself..

“I started my journey in the darkroom”

There are so many questions I would like to ask, can I start by asking…..

RISE: Is photography something you wanted to do from an early age?

I have always been enthralled by the magic of photography, the way the photographer has the ability to capture that moment in time forever is very powerful to me.

I started my journey in the darkroom at a photography evening class, I always loved the processes in the darkroom with the images appearing in front of me!

RISE: You clearly have a love of travel, your images are exquisite, where did this passion to travel come from?

I used to scour the pages of National Geographic when I was younger in awe of the images from remote and far flung places. I would imagine myself there and promised myself that years later I would visit those places in person. The difference and intrigue of other cultures and countries has always inspired me.

RISE: You have a strong connection with the people within your travel images that pull the viewer in, how do you gain this trust?

I am very lucky when I travel that I often have a translator with me. They are able to explain to the community the reason that I am there and the purpose of the images that I take. 

I also have the benefit of time, as I am based within the communities for a good period, as such my beautiful subjects are used to me being around and taking images of them in their home surroundings. Because of this I am able to capture natural and authentic images.

RISE: How do you set about planning your expeditions, especially as you have never spoken to the people and families you are going to document?

The communities that I am asked to go to are very well prepared for my visit; the groundwork has always been done beforehand by the charity that I will be working with. It makes life an awful lot easier for me to hit the ground running if you like. 

The only planning for me to do is decide when is a good time for me to arrive in a community to capture the most suitable images for the NGO’s benefit. 

I have found that this is often a key moment of the projects such as community days or key hand over’s. 

These big occasions allow me to fully illustrate how the projects have made an impact on the communities as a whole and the celebrations are a really special way to see this.

RISE: Your images are truly breathtaking. Is there one image you have taken that is particularly special to you and why?

When looking back at my images all of them are special to me, there is always a story behind each one. I may have stayed with the family or interviewed them for a specific reason but each and every one will remind me of a wonderful time and place.

RISE: Where is the one place you have visited that has touched you personally?

Tanzania will always hold a special place for me as it was my first real, big expedition. The decision to take four months away from my family, friends and my business was an enormous leap of faith but one that has rewarded greatly.

I met some of the most beautiful and inspiring people in one of the most beautiful and photogenic countries, Tanzania really started my expedition journey.

RISE: What is your greatest fear when travelling?

I try not to worry too much about anything when travelling! If I took most peoples advice when visiting some of the places I go to I would never end up where I do. 

Really, I am just careful and use my common sense. If a situation doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t! 

Travelling as I do with wonderful local guides having the country knowledge, I thankfully have never been put into this kind of situation.

RISE: I am sure our readers are as inspired as we are looking through your imagery. Is there any advice you could give to anyone wanting to explore their expedition side?

Go on one! You will never look back I can honestly say it has been the bravest and best decision of my life! 

It really has inspired me and changed my complete outlook in life!

RISE: Do you find the time to indulge yourself in other photography?

Of course! I think most photographers would agree that they love the discipline as a whole but tend to specialize in the genres they love!

 I am the same. I am currently experimenting with ICM and abstract images in my spare time, but my passion will always be people and portraits. For me I like to feel connected in some way to my images and for me people are the key element.

RISE: What are your future plans within your photography career?

Goodness only knows! I try not to plan too much.

Something exciting always appears which is a wonderful way to live, I love surprises.

I realise this approach isn’t for everyone but it works for me. I cant seem to work to plans that involve too much time ahead, life always seems to throw me something that turns plans upside down so I’ve stopped trying.

RISE: Is there one place on this planet where you would love to take yourself and your camera?

Any place where I haven’t already been! I counted recently, and of all of the 195 countries I would love to tick them all off, but realize this probably isn’t possible in my lifetime; so far I am only at 34!! 

“It will always be my aim to fill my passport before it runs out”!

Saraya, it has been an absolute joy to chat with you, what a wonderful career we are in, that enables us to view the world from a different perspective. I look forward to seeing more of your travels. Thank You.

You can view more of Saraya’s stunning travels and photography on the following links

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