Photo: mikebaird

American Photo asked photographers to reveal their favorite places to shoot. What are your picks?

COMPILED BY 25 professional documentary and travel photographers, American Photo‘s recently published list of the 25 Best Places in the World to Photograph is an assortment of destinations around the world that provide ideal backdrops for culture, wildlife, architecture, landscape, and underwater photography.

Photo: muha…

Each of the contributing photographers also shared their reflections on why their favorite destination stands out. Judging from the answers, scenery alone isn’t always what makes for the best photograph.

In addition to some obvious picks, the list and accompanying photo gallery included a few unexpected spots. The following selections and remarks captured my curiosity most:

Culture: New Guinea

“It’s like going back into the Stone Age culture,” Chris Rainier says of New Guinea. “And that’s pretty cool in the beginning of the 21st century.”

Wildlife: Antarctica

Paul Nicklen — “I will always be exploring ecosystems, documenting what is disappearing due to climate change. We are losing a lot more than just ice.”

Photo: adomas

Architecture: Oman

Jen Judge — “The contrast between the barren desolate landscape and the ornate ancient architecture seems like the ultimate balance between man and nature.”

Landscape: Namibia, Africa

George Steinmetz says, “Interesting things take time to reveal themselves.”

Underwater: Red Sea

Jeff Rotman — “Every place is unique. But the Red Sea’s special beauty is its lush and rich coral reefs…”

Though their “best” places to photograph are miles apart, the photographers share a common connection to their surroundings. They have explored a place enough to learn what time of year the colors change, where the wildlife congregates, and what the traditions of its people are.

Any location can become your “Best Place in the World to Photograph.” The most memorable photos don’t always come from the most beautiful places. Much like the richest travel experiences, great photographs come to those who allow a place to show them its secrets.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your favorite places in the world to photograph in the comments.

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Community Connection

Over at the Traveler’s Notebook, Paul Sullivan asks What’s the most photogenic city in the world?