A CONVERSATION HANNI GHARIB
Hanni is a photographer based in Copenhagen. His work has been commissioned by Volkswagen and Adidas. Hanni's photographs sends you right on the exploration with him. He's one of the most humbling photographers I've had the pleasure of interviewing.
What place do you call home?
That would have to be Copenhagen, Denmark. Although I was born and raised in Northern New Zealand, I've been a Copenhagener for 13 years and it's definitely the city I know most intimately.
How old were you when you picked up your first camera?
I was probably only 9 or 10 when my grandfather gifted me a Kodak Micro 110 which was basically a 110 film with a tiny lens, shutter button, film winder and plastic frame viewfinder. I'm pretty quite sure I was just stoked about that, at the time, as I am with my current equipment, haha.
What do you love most about photography?
I love when an image captures an atmosphere, a state of mind or the character of a person. When it speaks for itself and no background or caption is needed. Especially with travel photography, which is one of my favorite genres. Traveling is a visceral experience; sights, sounds, smells, tastes, people, and cultures. If an image "brings me back" to the scene where I took it, then I'm pleased with the result.
What is the most exciting trip you have been on?
That is a really tough question...I'd say traveling around China was pretty special. it was eight years ago, but I remember everything about it so vividly. Even though I only scraped the surface of what China has to offer, I still managed to see through historic places, natural wonders, futuristic metropolis, taste local food and see lots of interesting faces.
Where is your next destination?
I'm taking a few days in London in August and then getting some well-deserved sand between my toes in Thailand this Christmas.
What are the top essentials you pack for the road?
Well, my photo gear is obvious, so I'd rather mention some of the other items. Noise-canceling headphones have really become a staple in my travel essentials. A power-bank can be a lifesaver if phone, headphones or camera needs some emergency juice. And a multi-USB charger so I can bring just one charger for all my gear.
Also, I always pack a fresh tee and socks for the long hauls. Literally, nothing is more uplifting a few hours into a long flight, than putting on a cool, fresh t-shirt and socks. Also really important: comfortable shoes. Getting good shots always involve walking or waiting.
What story are you hoping to tell with your images?
I wish there was some deeper philosophy behind my photos, but to be honest most of the time my shots are just a manifestation of something my eyes see. An aesthetic representation of a detail or a scene, without the clutter.
What is your favorite travel memory?
Ah, there are so many, but one that was particularly unique was watching the clouds at sunrise on top of the Yellow Mountains in China. Google "sea of clouds Huangshan" and you'll know what I mean.
Do you usually plan your travels with a solid itinerary or go with the flow?
Ha, ok, so I'm a real planner person by nature so I always have at least a dozen places bookmarked whenever I go anywhere. The shorter the trip, the more I'll usually plan, especially if it's a place I know I won't be coming back to for a while. If I have plenty of time, it'll be more casual for sure. My experience tells me that great memories (and photos) often come from random situations, too. Also, if I'll be bringing a drone with me. I'll usually spend more hours than I should on Google Maps before the trip, haha.