While wandering the globe has been put on pause, I’ve found myself missing our usual travel posts. Sharing the places I’ve actually been always feels like such a privilege and joy. So, I decided to ask some of my favorite photographer friends to share their travels with you. After all, who better to capture the essence of place than these talented women who use their lenses to tell a story? This series will be as much about the photographer as the places we are presenting to you. I find it fascinating to see how these artists see the world. 

Today, I bring you my friend Dorothée Brand. She lives in Seattle, is a dear friend of mine, one of the most talented photographers I know, and I especially love her attention to detail. She and her business partner, Annabel (who lives in NYC) travel the world photographing beautiful weddings as Belathée. This trip found them in Puglia.

puglia travel diary by belathee | via coco kelley

Tell us a bit about you – what’s your background and how did you come to be a photographer?

I started photographing my travels as a teenager while still living in Europe… then did a detour to become a fine art printer once I arrived in the States (all film based back then) and ended up enrolling into a commercial photography program in Seattle in the early 2000’s, followed by a move to NYC and starting to become a full time photographer in 2003 when we started our business. Travel was always an inspiration so we based our Photography business around that motivation. I’ve used Canon Cameras all along, although originally I was even trained on large format 4×5 film camera . A far cry from today’s iPhone photography!

church and olive tree in puglia travel diary belathee church in puglia travel diary belathee

What are your favorite subjects to shoot?

Portraits, landscapes and interiors… but always based around a mood and light as I find it. They are the things that inspire me in life in general so capturing them is just an extension of that.

When traveling (or simply taking a walk!), what typically catches your eye? What things make you grab your camera for a photo?

Generally it’s a certain light or texture, I often go a bit more “quiet” when traveling , finding off-beaten paths and alleyways, a curtain blowing in a breeze or a facade with peeling paint. It really depends on the country and setting but that is mostly my motivation in capturing my travels.

painted doors in puglia travel diary wall textures and colors | photography by belathee

How would you describe your photography style?

Classic portraits of places and spaces with a twist of modern, ethereal & sometimes moody.

You travel a lot to photograph weddings – how does this type of travel make your experience more unique?

It really makes them 100% more unique! We see our destinations through the eyes of our couples, and capture a lot of storytelling images (like these!) around the wedding weekend to tell the essence of the whole trip. It also gives us a deeper sense of purpose to be there “on a mission”. My regular travels sometimes seem almost boring (I joke to my husband) but of course I enjoy them as well!

view of the sea in puglia | photography by belathee view of the sea in puglia | photography by belathee the contrast of light and dark in puglia visual diary old doors - puglia

Tell us a bit about this specific trip?

Annabel and I had traveled to capture a destination wedding weekend in Puglia, Italy at Borgo Egnazia with the US based Destination Wedding planner team, Alison and Bryan. We became fast friends with them and another friend they had brought along for the trip.

Not only did we share an airbnb but we spent all our free time roadtripping, eating, exploring and wine tasting. It was such a treat to have a professional relationship turn friendship very fast. Bryan is a master researcher and they are very well traveled so it was extra special to have them as travel buddies.

white balconies and blue shutter doors in puglia visual travel diary travel diary puglia - belathee for coco kelley cacti and olive trees puglia

When you look at these images, what feelings do they conjure up?

History, family, depth, nostalgia, friendship, exploring

What did you take away from this trip?

Bryan was so helpful in remembering the locations of all the images for us and also gave us some great tips after we went our separate ways. Matera was one of these places that really makes you feel like traveling back in time. It was named “European Capital of Culture ” after we visited, so we felt lucky to get to see it in its sleepy ways.

One thing that really felt special is how welcomed we felt in these towns. None of them are very touristy (yet) and it shows. I am very conscious of that as a photographer traveling… I would rather put away my camera and “not get the shot” in order to have a meaningful conversation with locals.

cities in puglia visual travel diary the white walls of puglia - visual travel diary

We like to say that ‘life is in the details’ around here – how do you think details lend to your photography?

I love mixing close ups and wider angle shots together, always. They both take on more meaning in juxtaposition and I think in editing and displaying travel work, it adds to the storytelling aspect of the imagery. In my experience, that is how one experiences travel… up close & also far away.

I will always stop to take a photo of: Texture!

Thank you Dorothée for sharing these transportive images with us! Dorothée and Annabel also offer some of their travel images as prints on their new site, Belathée Fine Arts

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