Based out of Seattle, Washington, Andria Lindquist is a portrait photographer with a huge heart for photography and the people she captures. With an aura about her that is rare to come across in the photography world, Andria is not only exceptionally talented, but she also has a down to earth, inviting personality. When coupled with her dedication to her work, it’s no wonder she has become such a force in the wedding photography industry. When we met Andria two years ago at WPPI, we instantly fell in love with her. She remains one of the VSCO team’s favorite photographers, and we always enjoy keeping up to date on her latest work. Previously, we spotlighted some of Andria’s portrait work on our journal and also shared an in-depth tutorial she created, explaining how she uses VSCO Film™ with LR3.
Recently, Andria traveled to the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand for a month long trip with her friend and fellow photographer Tohnya Kae. Keeping their travel options open
for the month, Andria and Tohnya were able to travel throughout Asia without being burdened by deadlines. Living in the moment, they let their trip evolve naturally, taking in their foreign surroundings at a relaxed pace with no rush to get to their next destination. With a desire of experiencing not just the places, but more importantly the humanity and culture of these countries, Andria’s images mirror the personal and relaxed attitude that their trip encompassed. Andria’s photos hit on a spot that many travel photographers miss; amongst the busy streets and noise, she somehow can focus on a quiet setting or scene, capturing a moment easily overlooked.
What prompted you to take a trip to Southeast Asia? How long did your trip last, and how long did you stay in each location?
Travel is what revealed I was a photographer. It’s always going to be important to me. Initially, I was most inspired by a big world map my grandparents have in their basement. Pins on where he, she and they have been throughout their lives. It’s packed. I now have the same map in my living room and filling it every chance I get. Because I own what I do, I’m able to create what I want for what I want my life to look like. With that, my goal is to take a month off each year and see a new place in
the world. This past year was SE Asia. I’d never yet been on any Asian continent, and that’s really what led me there. It was completely new. I took the trip with a best friend of mine, another photographer ,Tohnya Kae, and we were abroad for a month. We knew a handful of places we wanted to see but booked nothing ahead of time, keeping it open to being able to add on more days in places we loved and leave places we weren’t so keen on. We ended up being in the Philippines just over a week and a half (should have been WAY longer!), Vietnam for only a few days and then Thailand for a few remaining weeks.
What is the most important thing you learned while on your trip?
I learned how to slow down. Since I started shooting 3 years ago, I have been working my butt off, 6-7 days a week, shooting double headers, staying up late and just growing my business. As anyone knows, when you own what you do, you don’t escape it. Even when we’re on vacation and “not checking email”…we still do. NOT on this trip. I did NO work. It was beautiful. I think more than anything, the trip just cemented how much personal good comes for me in traveling. I’m stretched, I grow and I learn. I never want to stop. It cemented the fact that I want to fill up that map in my living room. I want to inspire my grandchildren to take on their own international adventures. I want to remember just how achievable it is to create a life you love. If you’re willing to go after it.
On your blog, you raved about the generosity and cheerfulness of the people you encountered on your trip. Can you tell us of your fondest memories and the people that stuck out to you?
Yes. Gosh. Mostly, I have these memories in the Philippines. I was just overtaken by them, their kindness and the overall incredible spirit that the Filipino possess. Maybe because it’s in such stark comparison to the material possessions they have. In Coron, it was like going waaay back: dirt roads, limited water, electricity off a generator that would inevitably go out every night. Just nothing; the people had barely anything. But generosity and kindness is just made into who they are. Many days, we rented a private boat for just us two (like $15 a day) and would go island hopping. One of my favorite memories is pulling up shore and being bombarded by this local family group ‘vacationing’ for the day there. They ran up to us cheering
and asking to take a picture with us, exclaiming, “Yes!! I got a Souvenir!!” They insisted that we join their picnic and gave us whiskey and just about everything else they were eating. Just the happiest, most friendly, joyful people. Such simple and basic lives they lead, but so content. It’s wonderful and inspiring.
One more memory that stands out was in Koh Samui, a town off the Southeast coast of Thailand. We’d just gotten out of a massage and came out to a completely abandoned area. No cars or taxi’s were out. We stood on the side of the road for a while and…nothing. Still with a few miles to get back to our little resort, walking wasn’t really a realistic option. So, it just happened to be that 4 waitresses had just gotten off their shift. They offered to take us back on their scooters! I learned that my gal was in her 30’s, had come to Thailand to make better money and hadn’t seen her little son for 7 years! But she just explained it without stress and such happiness in her spirit. It was incredible.
What is your favorite part of shooting while traveling in a foreign country? How does this compare to when you take images at home?
Being in the right place at the right time, that’s what I love. To create an image that makes me feel like I was lucky to have been there. You’re only there a certain amount of days, and life will continue going once you leave. So, I enjoy being able to just be a fly on the wall and document that feeling, the color, the habits and the textures. It’s amazing because I know I’ll have these images years down the road. They’ll mean so much and tell such a story to me, but really, it was just another day
in their lives. I just got to capture a very simple thing: life. But I’ll likely never be back to that exact spot or see those exact people; so, it almost feels like a responsibility, when I’m there, to document the emotion and atmosphere of that place.
I definitely try to maintain the same mentality when I am shooting at home. Probably the only difference is the frequency that I actually take my camera out and shoot the every day where I am. So a flip switches on me when I’m abroad, it’s like a responsibility. I’ll only be there a short time… I either choose to capture those places or just let it remain a memory.
Do you have any more trips planned for the future? Do you know where you would like to travel next?
I just returned from Mexico and Australia, but that was for weddings. For personal travel, I’m totally thinking about where I’m going to be heading off to this year! Actually, tentatively planning on going back to SE Asia. I NEED to spend more time in the Philippines! It is truly one of the most incredible places in the world and damn cheap too! So, definitely planning on at least spending a few weeks island hopping through the Philippines, drinking as many mango smoothies I can, finding more fresh water lakes, diving and getting to know more of the Filipino culture.