Personal Growth

My Travel Essentials: Bertrand Linet

Personal Growth - January 2016

A Documentary Photographer's Secrets

Bertrand Linet, American Aperture Awards 2014's best documentary photographer, lived and worked in Brazil for 20 years. Today he hunts for picture-perfect moments in the colourful bazaars, exciting festivals and far-flung communities of Asia.

From the Indian Himalayas to the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea, Bertrand transforms splinters of everyday life into soulful images that have appeared in such popular publications as Lonely Planet and National Geographic. Bertrand's secret is simplicity: he travels light to look less intimidating to locals and get as close as possible to his subjects.

Bertrand Linet
Bertrand Linet - Documentary Photographer


My wandering lifestyle is my family's greatest concern. My 22-year-old niece Anne-Laure gave me a buckeye nut's seed as a protective talisman. I always keep it with me as it reminds me of my loved ones. It also wards off rheumatism, arthritis and headache... some say it boosts male potency. Unfortunately, the spell didn't work for my gear.


Travelling the world teaches you to trust others more than you normally would. During the Khumb Mela in Allahabad, the biggest religious gathering in India and the world, I joined 100 million people at the convergence of the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers. I learned the hard way: someone broke into my hotel room while I was shooting, and I lost the best part of my equipment. Now I use a wire mesh to secure my luggage wherever I go.


My job forces me to edit pictures on the go so I can supply photos to agencies within 24 hours after shooting. My MacBook Air is the right compromise of portability and speed, and helps me get the job done on time while keeping my backpack light .


Hungarian war photographer Robert Capa said that you must get close enough to take great pictures. Obviously there are some risks. When I was shooting the last shark callers on a small dingy in remote Kono, Papua New Guinea, we capsized and I cut myself on the reef. The next day I had high fever and swollen wounds - and no medications. An Australian nurse who volunteered in the next village rescued me with antibiotics. Since Kono, I never leave home without Amoxycilin.


Reading novels is my 'escape' from the routine of a life constantly spent on the road. Before discovering E-book readers, I used to carry 4 to 5 kilos of paper with me at all times. I will never go back to weighing myself down with books. My E-reader is like a Cineplex for the loneliest corners of the planet.


Contributing Writer: Marco Ferrarese

Contributing Photographer: Bertrand Linet