As a child, I always enjoyed long car rides. My family was a road trip family. We had a big van with big windows. As I grew older, and did my own adventuring, I came to love trains. To look out a window, is magical. It is a familiar feeling, with an entirely new view. The landscape is framed and has its own movement, passing and constantly transforming into something new.
This childlike fascination followed me on all our drives all throughout California. Often starting in the desert, going through dense cities, ascending up into the mountains. This same drive was repeated over and over again, until it became a part of my own experience. I think it also inspired me to start taking pictures. I loved watching from the window, but at some point, I decided to start taking part in the scene.
When I started to do photography, I often remembered my time looking out windows. Seeing the scene for what it was and adding my own framing. That’s what photography has always been. The wonderment of watching the world unfold.
This photo was on a train through Austria coming home to Switzerland. When I look back on my travels, sometimes I remember the views better than anything else. That’s what sticks with you, this the feeling of being present, being in a new place, learning something new about yourself or the world around you.
In this moment, it was a foggy early morning, pulling away from the small Budapest train station. There’s a distinct bittersweet feeling, of leaving one thing and coming back to something familiar. To be at home in a place you’ve never been to, that’s the beauty of any journey. And as you find your seat in a train, you have the choice whether to watch the world outside pass by or to take part.
Jeff Johnson said, “The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn’t even think to ask.” Every time that I get out with my camera, I see a new place and a question is answered.
There are times I purposely don’t pull out my camera. I want to take in the scene, to feel it fully. To trust that the memory itself will have it’s own impact. But there will be times where you just have to pull out your camera and take a picture, it’s the story that can bring you to back to that specific place. Often, I try take at least a couple pictures. I don’t care if they are with the right settings, it’s a quick record. It allows me to get back to living it right away. Pictures are about the scene and the emotion together being authentic of your experience. It reminds me of these scenes scattered through Europe on a train.
What I love about photography, what I love about traveling, what I love about being outside is: the act of being present. It’s an active way to take part in life. As time goes on, I value that more and more.
Pictures explain something about yourself. When you are miles from where you were, it’s a record. It’s something that you can come back and share with others. To explain where you are and where you have been. It can serve as a reminder to yourself. When life gets chaotic and the adventures feel so far away, I come back to my pictures. They remind me what I love to do. Who I am. They remind me to get back out there.
There are new landscapes to be explored, new ways of taking photographs, new ways of being alive in this life.
Aisha Almada splits her time between photography and filmmaking. Her work seeks to find the truth in experience, the beauty in the light and dark, and the faith in perseverance. There is always a new trail to find with her dog, Arwen.