Released July 6th via Brighton publishing group Create, ‘Temporary Migration’ is a photo documentation of one photographer’s travels across Nepal, India, Thailand, Laos, and the Gili Island over a six month period. A collection of images for which escapism is the only option, Eleni Mettyear initially felt the images, which were taken over a year ago, were “…a jumble of distant memories and mountains.”
Most of them are my friends from home that I was with at different points in the trip, I've been taking photos of them for years at home so they didn't even bat a lid
Mettyear's process once back from her travels was organic: “It was only once I went through everything, scanned it all and organised it that I realised I had some kind of a body of work that I could actually do something with.” We spoke to the 20 year-old photographer about shooting friends, her favourite stop off, and enjoying the craziness of unfamiliarity.
Dazed Digital: What inspired you to visit those countries?
Eleni Mattyerar: When I was planning my trip I knew I wanted to start in Nepal as my cousin who is half Nepali was living there that year doing an Erasmus and it would be a perfect chance to go and see her.. I had always dreamt of going to India but didn't really think I would ever make it there but luckily it just made sense to go there next as its so close then we just moved down the globe to Thailand and so on to Indonesia.
DD: Who are the girls? How did they feel about you photographing them?
Eleni Mattyerar: Most of them are my friends from home that I was with at different points in the trip, I've been taking photos of them for years at home so they didn't even bat a lid. Beth, the girl on the front cover was the only one I didn't really know... it was like the second day I had met her or something but she was totally cool with it. I think just because of the nature the pictures were taken in it was so relaxed and natural, she just went with it.
DD: Which image is your favourite and why?
Eleni Mattyerar: I think probably the one at the back of the zine, of Beth laying down looking into the camera. It was taken in a forest (nicknamed the fairy forest by Israelis on acid) in the north of India in a tiny little village way up in the mountains of Parvati Valley called Pulga… it was probably my favourite place from the whole trip, I was travelling on my own at the time and just felt at my happiest when I was there so that place means a lot to me… and she looks beautiful in it I love how she is just starring at you with this sleepy look in her pale blue eyes surrounded vibrant green.
DD: The locations looks so far away from any sort of community...or life, how did it feel to be so far away from home?
Eleni Mattyerar: I felt very scared and unsafe at the beginning of my trip whether I was in the middle of a chaotic third world city or in the middle of nowhere, the land was so alien and unfamiliar, each place has its own character and rhythm that is so different to what I was used to I definitely felt very far from home. It took some time but I eventually managed to tell myself to stop worrying about the unfamiliarity of the place and just enjoy being there. Once I was able to do that it felt really amazing to be that far from home...totally free to just be and enjoy the beauty and craziness around you… it's a really special feeling.
DD: How do you know when it's the right moment to press the shutter? What do you look for?
Eleni Mattyerar: Just when I see something beautiful I guess, whether it's an expression on someone’s face or the way the light is falling on someone. I won't usually take a photo of a person unless I know they are comfortable enough with me to not pose and to just do what they want, but some like to pose! Nothing is really staged, all the pictures are pretty 'in the moment' but sometimes while a person is just talking or pacing around I'll say oh stop there for a second and snap. Sometimes I take a photo because I like the combination of colours in the frame, or because I like the symmetry of where a person is standing in relation to a tree. A lot of the time I don't think about it, I just take a picture because I like what I see and it's not till afterwards when I get it printed that I realise it's a good photo.