Photographer – Greg Funnell
Greg Funnell is a London based photographer who travels the world on commission for brands, campaigns and NGOs. Often found in off the beaten path locations, we caught up with Greg following his recent adventures into the remote Argentine Wetlands, discovering the unique culture and heritage of some of the country’s most hardy gauchos.
1. How did you discover photography?
I discovered photography in my mid teens. One of my core subjects at school was art – any free period I had I was painting. I stumbled across the work of Don McCullin and the Magnum Agency whilst working in the local library. I started to get more interested in photography and it soon became the norm that any free period I had at school I would spend in the darkroom. Slowly the photography took over from painting and drawing as my main interest.
2. Tell us about your recent project Gauchos.
Gauchos was a collaboration with the Argentina based writer Amanda Barnes. We were interested in capturing a part of the essence that is the Argentina Gaucho a much romanticised figure who’s way of life is perhaps dying out. I have done a few projects now that look at disappearing ways of life, a capturing occupations and traditions which are in some sense timeless. We produced a small book from the work which is now available to buy through my website.
3. You must have met a lot of interesting characters along the way, can you tell us more?
Yes we certainly did. Omar was a gaucho from an area which translated as ‘The End’ in the local dialect, because of its remoteness. The population is around 30 people, 42 horses and thousands of cattle spread over hundreds of hectares. It used to take over 12 hours to arrive at the nearest town by way of canoe and horseback. He hosted for a night in his homestead and the journey to get there took us over 8 hours on horseback, with us having to swim through a rivers with the horses – a very interesting experience.
4. What did you find most surprising about life in the Wetlands?
The diversity of wildlife there is amazing – partly because of the lack of encroachment by humans. It is not an area that can not be easily developed so hopefully it will remain a haven for the hundred of species that currently call it home.
5. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in all sorts of places, through writing, literature, cinema, art, music. I love being somewhere new where I am learning about something for the first time – it allows me to go with an open mind, I discover, explore and then translate the place through photography.
6. What’s your best travel anecdote?
Golly – that’s a tough one. There’s been some interesting experiences I have had through work. One such one was getting stung by a scorpion whilst on assignment in Guatemala, just as we were trying to get to a hospital a gunfight broke out in the motel we were staying in. All on day one, we still had the rest of the week to go there finishing the assignment.
7. Tell us about some of the other offbeat destinations you’ve been to for a work project.
I worked in northern Tanzania with a tribe called the Hadza or Hadzabe, a hunter gatherer tribe who are excellent trackers and hunters. The have all sorts of knowledge and understanding of the natural world which is sadly lost in some many other parts of the world.
8. Where will you always return to?
The older I get the more interested I am in exploring areas closer to home, trying to get a deeper understanding of places on my doorstep, there are so many areas of my own country (the UK) that I have yet to properly explore.
9. What do you like to do when not working?
At the moment I am in the middle of a house renovation so I spend most of my free time doing DIY! However I love to get outdoors on go camping when I can, cooking and sleeping out under the sky is a real pleasure for me.
10. Where would you most like to visit next?
I’m really keen to see more of Japan, I have only been once I would love to see more. I also want to explore more of South America – particularly Peru.