The five places that made me: Richard I'Anson, travel photographer

Richard I'Anson, travel photographer, has clocked up almost two million flight kilometres travelling from Australia to India and Nepal alone.


I arrived in Melbourne, from Leicester in the UK, when I was 10, and stayed until I moved to Sydney six years ago. Melbourne is home, where I was introduced to what I'm most passionate about; photography, travel, music and the AFL, especially the Saints.


My first trek in Nepal was the Annapurna Circuit and I was immediately hooked, both with the country and trekking in the Himalaya. Back then it took 21 days and by the end I didn't want to stop walking, which is how I still feel after every trek. Kathmandu is my favourite home away from home. It was one of the first places I started to regularly return to, allowing me to revisit and re-shoot exotic but familiar places, a very important step on the path to creating consistently good travel photographs.


I've made more than 40 trips to India since 1986, when I had my first big overseas trip there. The incredible diversity of its geography and subject matter, and how much of life is lived and celebrated on the streets, makes it a truly exhilarating place for a travel photographer. India taught me to be patient, as a traveller and photographer, and it's where I learned the importance of planning and research to ensure being in the right place at the right time. It's also the place of several career-defining projects, including my biggest and most ambitious book to date (India: essential encounters) and my episode in the Tales by Light documentary series for National Geographic TV and Canon Australia.


I've been drawn to Australia's Top End, from the Kimberley to Arnhem Land, ever since I could drive and make my way there. I love the epic landscapes, the light, the long-distance drives and the contrast with city life. Although most of my work is overseas, I'm lucky enough to return to the Top End every year for my annual photo safari at Bamurru Plains on the Mary River floodplains.


I lived in Nagoya for seven months teaching English as part of a two-year backpacking trip around Asia. It's the only time I've done anything else apart from being a photographer. I regularly taught 70, 40-minute lessons a week and while I didn't see much of Japan, I came home with more money than I'd spent and was financially set up to launch myself as a travel photographer.

Richard I'Anson is a travel photographer and author of the Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Photography. He is a Canon Master Photographer, an ambassador for the Australian Himalayan Fountain and World Nomads Mentor.

He will lead two Top End Wilderness Photo Safaris at Wild Bush Luxury's Bamurru Plains (April 28 and May 2). See