The glass passport

Richard is a British photographer attempting to travel to every continent through a series of creative trades. Also known on the web as "The Glass passport" he offer his professional photography worldwide in exchange for food and accomodation. 

 
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When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?

Buying a Fujifilm X-Pro1 in March 2014 was my first camera purchase. I can now trace back a bubbling interest in photography several years prior to that but that marked the beginning of actively pursuing it and teaching myself as hobby.

It wasn't until I went for the nuclear option and quit my office job in June that I decided to not settle for a half-measure and put my heart and soul into photography full time... with a twist.

 
Trade 27 - Rabbie's Trail Burners: Covering plenty of ground exploring various corners of England with bus tour company Rabbie's

Trade 27 - Rabbie's Trail Burners: Covering plenty of ground exploring various corners of England with bus tour company Rabbie's

 

Can you tell us a bit more about your ongoing project « The Glass Passport »

I am attempting to travel to every continent by trading my professional photography for food to eat, a place to stay and transport between these creative exchanges. Sofa surfing, living out of a suitcase and documenting every trade along the way. As long as those that want to trade with/hire me cover these basic needs I'm there with my camera.

Stripping back to my core motivations all I wanted to do is get out in the world and photograph more. Travel but without sacrificing my professional development. I'd learnt about people living these bartering lifestyles to various extents and this project became the answer that I was looking for.

 
Trade 26 - Yestival: Camped out in Sussex with 400 others of the YesTribe community hearing stories of adventures, challenges, personal breakthroughs and alternative lifestyles.

Trade 26 - Yestival: Camped out in Sussex with 400 others of the YesTribe community hearing stories of adventures, challenges, personal breakthroughs and alternative lifestyles.

 

What is the biggest challenge you faced so far in your career?

This project! I wasn't particularly established as a photographer at all (even in the conventional sense) prior to launching it. So getting it off the ground, managing logistics and continually trying to improve my work towards the standards I hope to achieve one day is a formidable learning curve.

I'm anticipating all of this amplifying as I take my first international step with the project first thing in the new year.

 
Trade 34 - Declan Perring: Actor and ball of energy. We set up a makeshift studio in his dining room to refresh his headshots.

Trade 34 - Declan Perring: Actor and ball of energy. We set up a makeshift studio in his dining room to refresh his headshots.

 

What’s in your bag?

Two Fujifilm X-T1 Bodies
XF16-55mmF2.8 WR
XF50-140mmF2.8 OIS WR
XF35mmF1.4
XF18mmF2
A Nissin i40 Flash

The whole lot fits into an ONA Camps Bay rucksack.

 

How do you edit on the go?

I edit my images with a 5 year old Macbook Pro that still handles everything very well but perhaps a bit weightier than I would like when on the move! I have to ensue I factor in the time at each location/trade for editing wherever I can set the laptop down for a couple of hours (pretty much exclusively using Lightroom).

 
Trade 37 - Jane McGill: "Do you want to come with a couple of us hiking in Wales?" Just like that I ended up on the summit of Pen Y Fan for trade 37.

Trade 37 - Jane McGill: "Do you want to come with a couple of us hiking in Wales?" Just like that I ended up on the summit of Pen Y Fan for trade 37.

 

How do you see the photography business evolving?

Technology will obviously keeping on increasing the accessibility of producing high quality imagery. I know that means photography is an increasingly saturated profession but it also provides more and more options to experiment, share and be creative in using photography as a tool to tell stories and get your take on the world out there.

 
Trade 35 - Laura Maisey: For each trade I take my own selection of photos to capture the location. Laura lived next to the stunning deer of Richmond Park.

Trade 35 - Laura Maisey: For each trade I take my own selection of photos to capture the location. Laura lived next to the stunning deer of Richmond Park.

 

Trade 31 - Kimberley Mills

How we consume is the only real power we have.
— Justin Mills
Trade 31 - Kimberley Mills: Photographing Kimberley's yoga practice started in her studio before progressing to Wandsworth Common, Richmond park and even odd looks from passers by on Millennium bridge in the center of London.

Trade 31 - Kimberley Mills: Photographing Kimberley's yoga practice started in her studio before progressing to Wandsworth Common, Richmond park and even odd looks from passers by on Millennium bridge in the center of London.

 

Having just arrived for trade 31, my new hosts were keen to try the new Sushi place that had recently opened in Balham. We headed out for and spent the evening talking recent events, the role of University, Tim Ferris and, among other things, hot dog eating contests. The best projects/trades rarely start with photography, they start around the table with dinner and good conversation.

 
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I spent the better part of a week staying there to create some imagery for Kimberley's Yoga business. Initially beginning in her studio, the nature of the project gave us time for creativity to evolve the shoots and try ideas in other locations around London as Kimberley got used to me photographing her practice. In between more food centric socialising and joining in her yoga classes myself that is.

Again, as with some of my favourite trades I had the tendency to set off for the next project with new friends instead of a new clients.

 
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Richard-Tilney-Bassett-XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR-161118-151317
 
Richard-Tilney-Bassett-XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR-161117-134852
 

Where can we see more of your work?

I document every trade as a photo essay on my website The Glass Passport and you can also follow the project on Instagram @theglasspassport

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