“Tarnished Textures Transformed”
For decades I’ve been vagabonding across the globe scouring the back alleyways of distant oldtowns in search of tarnished textures to be used as backgrounds for digital artwork compositions. Now I’m in Rajasthan wandering around India for six months during the cool season.
I maintain no permanent residence.
(All Images Copyright © Glen Allison – Click Photos for Fine Art Prints)
Homeless by Choice
Vagabonding seeped into my blood and deep into my psyche back in the 90s when at age forty-five and after an economic turndown I left a thriving architectural photography business behind in Los Angeles, sold all my worldly possessions and began what ultimately became an extended midlife reinvention of myself as a travel photographer. My very first nonstop trip (homeless by choice) lasted nine years and took me through more than a hundred countries and numerous remote locales.
Vagabonding as a Lifestyle
Back then my target was to capture exquisite imagery of the world’s most famous travel icons, many of which have subsequently been extensively licensed by Getty Images. (You can scroll through a few thousand of those photos here.) Soon, my relentless journey became a modus operandi permanently embedded into my soul. One day I returned to Los Angeles and remodeled a condo thinking LA would be my permanent base. But I soon bored with the city and it didn’t take long before I vowed to never live there again. I was driven to hit the road.
The Glory Days
Like many stock photographers back in the heyday, my lucrative gold-mine-stock-photo-hayride with Getty proved to be an ecstatic time for me. It has generated a hundred thousand publications including most of the world’s leading travel magazines not to mention some very nice pocket change. While I still have stock photo income, the glory days with the mega bucks rolling in didn’t last forever.
Rebirth and Reinvention
Most image contributors in the stock photo industry have taken a major financial hit in the past decade primarily due to the proliferation of imagery on the internet plus the onslaught of digital photography that rapidly created an oversaturated marketplace seemingly overnight ultimately resulting in massive devaluation of online stock photos. By then I’d switched my base to the tropical island of Bali where I had designed and was building a dream jungle retreat encompassing twenty-one water levels with six floating inverted steel pyramid pavilions serving as living spaces. My aspirations ran high. But the pending global economic crisis drastically shifted my gears. It was time to reinvent myself yet again.
No More Baggage
After being footloose for so long I was never going back to seeking assignments and I declined teaching photo workshops. Freedom pulled me by the shirttail. My love for travel kept me exploring new paths. Today I simply cannot plant myself in one spot very long. I have no emotional need for sinking permanent roots and the only baggage I’m allowing in my life is a small camera bag, a laptop and a few changes of clothes. No car, no goldfish. Deep friendships can be forged everywhere.
So I launched into the world of fine art photography with a target of exploring ways to craft artistic compositions that would merge my architectural and graphic arts training with textures and backgrounds found during my travels.
During past decades I’ve lingered in several exotic destinations to execute digital artwork projects that required extensive Photoshop creations but then the urge and the itch for fresh stimuli always struck and I quickly found myself beckoned by the next thrill in some distant land.
Draw from the Past . . . Leap toward the Future
My ceaseless search has opened artistic avenues. I draw from design training as an architect fifty years ago followed by two decades honing my eye as a self-taught architectural photographer exploring nuances of light, shape and color. Now after three decades of almost endless photo travel I keep harnessing new expressions of creativity unleashed along the way. Today I’m crafting art that tightly orchestrates seemingly disparate geometric elements to trigger a visual sense of order when merged with photographic snippets of urban chaos.
Tomorrow I’ll see which way the wind blows.
Read how I stood inches from an rancid, maggot-infested, decaying dead dog to capture a “Blue Taj Mirage” image.
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I only use Lonely Planet guidebooks.