The Portfolio

These Photos Will Make You Feel Cool and Calm, from Beijing to Beirut

by Anne Cui
All photos by Anne Cui.

Some Instagram s compel us to scroll through hundreds of images. One such account belongs to Anne Cui, one of this year's 24 Best Travelers on Instagram. How does she do it? We asked the aesthete for a behind-the-scenes look at her process.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in San Francisco, went to college in New England, lived in Beijing and Beirut for short stints, and then spent the majority of my 20s in New York City. I spent the first few years of my career working for an American fashion brand and then moved into the realm of international development for an NGO, and I still work for them now on a limited basis. I’m passionate about culture and art and will forever be enamored by hard-to-reach places — something emphasized by working with global teams based in countries like Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Tanzania, Jordan, and Iraq.

How would you describe your photography style?

I think my photography style mirrors my personality — I have extremely eclectic tastes in art, architecture, textiles, and design. I love bright patterns as much as I love a moody monochrome landscape, so that explains why what I shoot can vary day by day. I’m always drawn to unique things, and in travel these interests often draw me off the beaten path. That said, I love finding gems hiding in plain sight.

What do you love most about photographing on the road?

Photographing a street scene or neighborhood can open up conversations with locals, and I love being able to make those connections. One of my favorite memories from traveling was photographing a shopkeeper in a Damascus souk during a weekend trip to Syria in 2006. A group of us shared tea and conversation with this kind man who wanted to know more about each of us and from where we hailed. I still have those photos. They’re even more poignant now.


Take a Look

Baku.
Galle.
Hong Kong.
Macau.
Palm Springs.
Phoenix.
San Francisco.
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