We are visual creatures and what we consume affects our day, our creativity, and our outlook. So, I like to use the new year to refresh my social feeds, breathe some new life into them, and get re-inspired for the year to come. With that in mind, here’s a list of travel photographers who have invigorated my feed so far this year and who I personally am going to be keeping an eye on for what they get up to next. I could also have included everyone on our list of female photographers who slayed 2017, so be sure to give them all a follow too.
1. Piper McCay
Piper McCay has worked extensively with African tribes and will continue to do so in 2018. Her work goes far beyond the average, and overdone, tourist/quick-and-dirty shots of tribes and instead digs deep into the culture, the people, the issues, the atmosphere, and the history of the people. She has worked at length with the Omo and Suri (Ethiopia), Himba (Namibia), and the Turkana, Samburu, and Rendille tribes of Northern Kenya, to name a few. She also captures wildlife, conservation, and eco-themed images around Africa. She’s often involved with fundraisers and some non-profit work. In 2017, she contributed to Remembering Rhinos and won the African Wildlife category in the Windland Smith Rice Awards put on by Nature’s Best Photography and the Smithsonian.
2. Rena Effendi
Effendi is a photojournalist based in Istanbul who focuses on Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, as well as on other areas of the Middle East and beyond. Her work concentrates a lot on people, conflict, tension, and quiet moments of real life. She’s been published in Nat Geo and more. Her work makes me think of film photography and makes me pause almost every time.
3. David duChemin
DuChemin is not new to any scene. He’s been churning out photos, e-books, hardcover books, podcasts, and videos day after day for more than a decade. He’s the force behind Craft + Vision, and bills himself as a World and Humanitarian Photographer. But his images — which are a phenomenal confluence of light, balance, moment, and vision — are just one draw; people follow duChemin for his words. He writes often, if not daily, on the realities of chasing dreams, making images that matter, translating vision into action, translating technical skills into powerful images, finding your place in the creative world, and so much more. If you need to refresh, refocus, and refine, duChemin is your man. If you need someone to cut through some bullshit, he’s probably your guy, too. He will both put you in your place and put a fire under your feet to get you moving.
4. Joannes Hulsch
Hulsch is a German photographer specializing in landscapes, especially around Europe. His editing is filmy but not kitschy, always pleasing to view. Most of his scenes are massive sweeping views, sometimes with a human element and sometimes not. His winter shots are to die for right now.
5. The Rawiya Collective
I follow a ton of collectives on Instagram and if you don’t you are missing out. A collective, in the Instagram sense, is an account run by multiple photographers in a region, city, or country, that tend to feature lots of guest posts. This is a great way to get to know new photographers and to keep informed on issues, challenges, or victories in a specific area. Rawiya Collective focuses on photographers from the Middle East. Rawiya means “She who tells a story.”
6. The Wild Born Project/Allegra Ally
Photographer Allegra Ally has been working on the Wild Born Project for years. She dwells with tribes for good lengths of time and documents their processes and traditions for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It’s utterly and completely fascinating, not to mention epically photographed. After traveling the world living with some of the most rural tribes, photographing birth after birth, she herself is now pregnant so I am hooked on watching her closely in 2018 and see how it all unfolds, where becoming a mother takes her, and how it affects and informs her work.
7. Phillip Frerich
Another German photographer for the list. If you love a dose of deep muted greens, dark greys, uber moody light, fog, mist, and rural scenes then Frerich‘s most recent work is right for your feed. His editing style really found its feet this year, and while his whole feed has a lovely matching feel, the actual images are varied. I look forward to seeing what he’ll get up to in 2018.
Brotherside is two brothers: Sandro and Boris. You can expect vivid scenes — especially of colorful homes, streets, and architecture — all around Europe. Often at sunset, sunrise, or in some other epic light, these shots will be a bright addition to your daily intake of photos.
9. Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi
Alhindawi is a reporter and photojournalist often found in areas of crisis. Her images are powerful, layered, and do not let up, even on difficult topics. She’s been showcased in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, CNN, Nat Geo, Doctors without Borders, Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, and much more. She’s Romanian-Iraqi, a former refugee in then Yugoslavia, now American who calls Brooklyn home when she’s not overseas. Her background took her down the path of humanitarian documentary work, and rightly so. Oh, and she holds two degrees, one being in Neuroscience, from Johns Hopkins. So, yeah. This woman is dynamite. Follow her.
10. Shannon Wild
Wild is a wildlife photographer and cinematographer, the likes of which has been published in Nat Geo and beyond. Her feed is full of elephants, tigers, monkeys, Komodo dragons, polar bears, lemurs, rhinos, and so much more. If what you need is a dose of incredible and colorful shots of animals, this is your girl.
11. Malin Fezehai
Fezehai is another photojournalist who just landed a spot as a Surfacing Resident at the NY Times. She’s going to be sent around the world documenting cultural stories about communities and movements. She won a World Press Photo Award with — wait for it — an iPhone photo (a first for the contest). I kid you not. She is a rock star and 2018 is going to be her stage.
12. Michael Bonocore
Bonocore is a whirlwind. He’s like the Tasmanian devil of travel photography. He’s all over the map, and always working on something new — he’s tough to predict or keep up with but that keeps his feed really fun. From volunteering his time as a photographer to shooting with Chris Burkard in Iceland, to gorilla trekking, to the backcountry of Idaho and back again, his work is varied but always excellent. He’s also an accomplished cinematographer. I think his work — whether volunteering or working with brands or just road tripping — comes down to big heart. Which is intriguing, because his name means “good heart” in Italian. Coincidence?
13. Athena Carey
Carey is billed as a fine-art travel photographer. And when you look at her work, it makes sense. She’s not a traditional travel photographer you may picture. Her long exposure work is absolutely serene. Her use of black and white, tones, colors, and shapes feels, well, crafted by an artist. She doesn’t post heaps but what she posts, I would buy and frame in a heartbeat. For 2018 you can expect to see more teaching from her, workshops, and speaking around the world.