Agoraphobia is not merely a fear of open spaces. It’s a fear that certain environment is unsafe and with no easy way of getting away. Artist Jacqui Kenny has been living with this disorder, which affects her ability to travel. However, she has managed to find the way to take “travel photos” from the safety of her room – using Google Street View.
This project came to life accidentally, while she was exploring Google Street View and taking some screenshots. Her sister encouraged her to continue, and so the “Agoraphobic Traveller” was born. It shows photos of many beautiful corners of the earth, without the artist leaving her home or even using her own camera. But there’s more to just that. It also encourages Jacqui and other agoraphobic people conquer their fears.
While Jacqui is not a professional photographer, she has always loved photography. But when she started with the “Agoraphobic Traveller” project, she felt she was developing a certain style and aesthetic. An important thing Jacqui points out is that she sees herself as more of a curator than a photographer, and through this project, she curates the world as she sees it.
While working on the project, she is mostly drawn to remote places, like deserts and mining towns. She tries to depict the feeling of isolation combined with the feeling of hope, and this is exactly what I felt while looking through her photos. I find it fascinating that even photos you don’t take yourself, with your own camera, still allow you to develop and express your personal style.
Jacqui’s photos all start with finding the right light. When that’s done, she goes on finding the perfect moments to capture. This sounds like what many of us do when taking photos, doesn’t it? It’s one of the things I also find very interesting: Jacqui’s process is tightly related with the one of taking photos on the spot, using a camera.
Although agoraphobia makes it difficult to travel, Jacqui still sometimes manages to do it. However, it takes a lot of her energy and strength. But as he points out in an interview for National Geographic, her project has helped her go through these difficulties. It helps her express herself creatively, chase the negative thoughts away, and it makes her want to travel more and conquer her fears. Another great side of the project is that it has brought her over 30k followers, and connected her with many people with a similar problem. So other than producing gorgeous images, Jacqui also uses her project to help herself and the others.
About the Artist
Jacqui Kenny is a London-based artist and the “Agoraphobic Traveller.” If you’d like to see more of her work, make sure to check out her Instagram page and give her a follow.