A question we get asked a lot is: what’s it like to work at Getaway? We have lots of stories of trips wonderful and wonky. In our ‘Inside Getaway’ column every month, our deputy editor shares stories from behind the scenes. This one is from the March 2017 issue.
You don’t see all that many gigs advertised for honeymoon photographers. Weddings, sure. Birthdays, yeah. Corporate events, all the time. But for life’s more personal moments, most of us would prefer not having a photographer pop out from some nearby shrubbery, take aim and snap the latest addition to their much-anticipated Deer in the Headlights: Couples Edition portfolio.
Nowhere, aside from gossip rags, do those lines cross more than in travel photography. Public spaces contain people (mind-blowing, I know) and while we’ll always ask for permission to take someone’s portrait, getting a release from everyone between your lens and the Taj Mahal is a little trickier. Adjunct to that, our quest to bring you unique perspectives and uncover ‘secret’ spots sometimes collides with others’ quest to find a place as far away from people as possible.
Teagan Cunniffe discovered this while shooting a story in the Seychelles, an island I’d always thought was exclusively occupied by honeymooners. Turns out (see page 70) it’s a fine place to go whether you’re attached, resolutely unbound or recently severed. Still, every year thousands of honeymooners are lured in by its powder-white beaches, warm water, secret coves and two very naughty words: package deal. ‘Authentic’ travellers will turn their noses up at the notion, but they’re lying to themselves if they say the phrase ‘all inclusive’ doesn’t send a little hedonistic tingle down their spines. I got goosebumps just typing that.
I imagine Seychelles to be the kind of place where those package options are endless: ‘Hi. Yes we’d like the Honeymoon Plus package, the all-you-can-eat buffet and two secret-cove experiences, please.’
‘No problem. Unfortunately the Krauthammers in Room 208 have booked the secret cove for sunrise. How about the sunset slot? Here’s a map.’
On this particular day, on the small island of La Digue, it was a French couple who got that proverbial sunset slot. And as it happened Teagan was converging on the very same spot, driven by something more ethereal than love even: dusk.
Now if there’s one thing you should know about photographers, it’s that something very strange happens to them when the light turns pink and soft. They lose all common sense and morph into black ops combatants. They can hurtle over jagged rocks in slops at tremendous speed and clear entire bays in a single stride, all with one eye firmly pressed to their viewfinder while rattling off the shutter like machine-gun fire. Anyone between them and the last rays of light becomes Canon fodder – immortalised in print as a nameless, faceless silhouette. This is how I imagine Teagan arrived at said cove, around the same time that Monsieur and Madame Package Deal began swimming out towards the endless horizon that one of them was no doubt comparing to their endless love.
As if the presence of a photographer wasn’t enough, Teagan pulled out a secret weapon that would kill the mood quicker than spinach in the teeth: a new drone. It rose from behind two boulders like a military chopper, blades whirring and navigation lights flashing like there’d been some sort of crime. Using all of her thumbs and not all that much of her prudence, she steered the offending aircraft out to sea beyond the couple, who had in that time moved straight from shock to archetypal French contempt.
And then the drone did something that 100% of helicopters do in movies. It fell out of the sky. And into the drink. (The problem was later diagnosed as a dispute between the controller and its operator.) And then the couple laughed, which I guess means there’s only one thing more satisfying than swimming in a secluded cove with your new bae. And that’s watching a brazen photographer fish a soggy drone out of the Indian Ocean.
This story first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.
Our March issue features a self-catering trip to the Seychelles that you can afford, a secret Karoo retreat, learning to fly-fish in Rhodes and a Joburg road trip for beer lovers.