Photographer Amos Chapple started his career in New Zealand’s largest daily paper in 2003.
After two years chasing news, he took a full-time position shooting UNESCO World Heritage sites. And in 2012, he went freelance and traveled to 70 countries, where he “has seen almost nothing but kindness, decency, and beauty”.
I asked Amos to tell stories behind his 10 favorite photographs for the Bird in Flight magazine.
Shepherds leading their flock into the fields in Palangan, Iran
— It was my first trip to Iran. I’d been in a difficult situation in New Zealand and had kind of thrown myself out into the world. I was taking a slow, meandering route towards an English teaching job waiting for me in Saint Petersburg. I didn’t know how hard things were going to be in Russia so on this trip I photographed and travelled like I had nothing to lose. I did some reckless stuff.
However, this photo and a dozen others from the trip were published across two pages in The Guardian. That cemented the idea for me that I needed to go places or do things which other people were unwilling to do. In a strange way, putting myself in danger gave me a sense of safety — the sense that maybe I could actually survive from photography when everyone was saying it was impossible.
A love letter to Toledo, Spain
I think everyone’s best images are little love letters to the places they’re photographing. I shot this picture early one morning in Toledo during my first ever visit to Spain. For a 24-year-old Kiwi kid who’d hardly seen anything of the world, Spain in summer was such a revelation.
I can still remember the taste of the cheese and how the pebbles on the beach stayed warm after dark. I feel like the Spaniards have life so right — there’s a love of chaos, fun, and family. Yet they’re diligent and civilized, and religion is strong.
Mosquitos — a big part of life in Yakutia, Siberia
The mosquitos were such a big part of life out there but I just couldn’t figure out how to photograph it properly. Then one day I was trying to cross a stream and I fell in. I took off one of my gumboots to try to squeegee out my sock, and the moment I did that, all these black mosquitoes descended on my white, waterlogged foot.
The contrast was just so superb I took the other sock off, waited about one minute, took this photo, then put my socks back on and limped and whimpered my way towards the river. I remember thinking I would give a lot to be able to plunge my feet into icy cold water.
Text: Ivan Kuznetsov and Amos Chapple
Photos: Amos Chapple