Grid Travel Series: Go Beyond The Instagram Shot

In the age of Instagram, Snapchat and selfies, travel has grown to mainly be about photography, and photography has grown to mainly be about travel. This generation seems to be the most eager about wanderlust and sharing their latest escapades on social media, hence the several #travelgoals posts populating your social media feed as of late.

Grid Travel Series workshop

GRID Socials night

Yet travel isn’t just about landing in an unfamiliar place, nor is travel photography about that picture-perfect landscape image. In each corner of the world, whether it’s in a foreign city halfway across the globe, or the street in your own neighborhood, are stories waiting to be told. While we’ve always taken words to go with stories, photography presents an entirely different narrative that allows us to see things differently.

Grid Travel Series Sonny Thakur

GRID Photo Editor and Mentor Sonny Thakur with his team

This is what the GRID Travel Series is all about. Now on its third year, the week-long photography workshop returns to La Union and uncover more stories in its community.

As Digital Director Chaz Requiña puts it, “We want to teach our participants what travel photography is all about. It’s not about taking a perfect picture about the Mayon Volcano. It’s about finding reasons to return to the same place and discover new and different stories.”

Grid Travel Series San Fernando market La Union

On assignment at the San Fernando public market

The Philippines, in fact, is a country chock-full of narratives brought upon by diverse local cultures that it becomes too simplistic to reduce all those complex backgrounds into a single image. The GRID workshop is essentially a storytelling workshop, and there is a myriad of ways to tell a story of a place and its people.

Grid Travel Series Carmen del Prado Chaz Requina

GRID Mentor Carmen del Prado and Chaz Requina reviewing participants’ work

One thing the Grid workshop won’t teach you is the fundamentals of photography — it won’t delve into things like aperture and shutter speed. What it will teach you, however, is how to go beyond a single “IG-worthy” image and capture a story in a series of photographs, regardless if you’re an amateur photography enthusiast, or a pro looking to experiment in a new field.

Grid Travel Series Flotsam and Jetsam

The Grid Travel Series brought together 20 participants of various backgrounds in a 4-day intensive workshop led by mentors and GRID photographers Luis Liwanag, Sonny Thakur, Carmen del Prado, and Miguel Nacianceno. For the entirety of their stay, mentors guide their students into crafting powerful and stunning photo essays that effectively convey a story. Housed in the dreamy Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel, the experience was like going to summer camp, sparking the call for adventure.

Grid Travel Series San Juan La Union

Pets on the San Juan shoreline

I am not a photographer by profession, and the idea of having my work shown alongside talented photographers terrified me. Yet one thing the workshop achieves is pushing one out of their comfort zone, to tremendous results. Participants are encouraged to literally go around and shoot, whether it’s on the sandy shores of San Juan, or the bustling marketplace in San Fernando. On the other hand, I found a story compelling enough as I found myself in a weaving community three towns away, which favorably translated to my photographs of a local Bangar weaver.

Excerpts from photo essay by Sam Beltran

Grid Travel Series bangar weaver

Grid Travel Series bangar weaver 3

Grid Travel Series bangar weaver 2

If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and have fallen in love with treading the unfamiliar, that’s a good start. The Grid Travel Series will help you scratch the surface, go beyond, and find out what makes it worth returning to the same place, over and over.

Grid Travel Series

This year’s batch for Grid Travel Series 3

The Grid Travel Series is a bi-annual travel photography workshop. Check out more on the Travel Series here, and keep yourself updated on the next workshop schedule.