Photography. Travel. Culture. People. Art. Food.
A friend recently texted me, “If Facebook is an accurate indicator, we are living amongst the dumbest f****s in the universe. For the few worthwhile photos I see, I have to wade through an endless sea of s**t.” My friend is arguably right. Our brains are inundated with narcissistic selfies and thousands upon thousands of social media snaps which are given no thought and create a sea of images to search though with no regard for traditional photography norms. The “fine art photography book” is becoming more and more rare. Travel as an effort to unite people and embrace diverse cultures and places is becoming a niche market, while any easily recognizable landmark in the world is bombarded with people more focused on “the Gram” than the experience.
At the same time, we have entered an age, particularly in the United States, where walls are more common than welcomes. This site is about creating a community of truly great inspirational photographers, travelers, and writers sharing their craft in an open, supportive, educational exchange. Making the pie bigger for all of us, if you will.
Photography. Travel. Culture. People. Art. Food…and not politics, selfies, or an endless sea of social media images.
Stay tuned, check back often, and join us on the journey.
Why should you enter your email and follow along on this project?
A lot of reasons, really.
Maybe you want to be inspired. Maybe you want to laugh. Maybe you enjoy watching spouses publicly argue.
From a photography perspective, maybe you want inspiration, ideas, and perspective on what makes great travel photography. Maybe you want to learn more about photography.
Maybe you want a place that is open to discussion about the human connection that photography brings to the world, particularly in a time when watching the news can be anything but inspiring.
From a life perspective, maybe you want inspiration to do that thing that you never thought you would actually do, or could actually do.
Maybe you like to read interviews and see images from professional photographers around the world. And maybe you just like travel writing.
Whatever the reason…enter your email address. Follow along. Nothing to lose, you can always unsubscribe.
Follow the red dot as we traverse the big blue dot.
What is Red Dot Blue Dot?
Red Dot Blue Dot (RDBD) is about people connecting with each other, primarily through photography and travel. The Red Dot represents the photography equipment we use, Leica cameras (in addition to our phones). The Blue Dot represents the world we travel, the destinations we capture (and capture us), and the people we meet.
Who are we?
We are Keith and Amy. We’ve been married over 17 years, and along the way have found that we share a love of travel – even though we approach it from very different perspectives.
In 2018, we decided to do an extended trip along with some shorter ones. We made a conscious decision to focus on places we haven’t been before in an effort to shake out of a rut as we mark a big transition in our careers, going from doing what we were “supposed to do” to shifting to full-time to our own business.
After 20 years in city and personnel management, Keith is now a Certified Professional Coach and consultant working mainly with professionals considering a career transition. After working first as an associate at a big law firm, then as a partner at a mid-size firm, a dean of students at a top 5 law school, and then for a national non-profit legal and policy organization, Amy is now a Certified Professional Coach and consultant who works primarily with attorneys on career issues and career transitions. We also conduct trainings, consult, and help clients stop tolerating and start intentionally building the life and career they desire. (Check out Apochromatik.com for more on all of that.)
In mid-April of 2018 we realized we had the chance to travel for an extended period over the summer. There were, of course, a few catches. In order to make it work, we had very little time to get ready, a growing business (both of us) and a day job (Amy), not much time to plan (fine with Keith, but extra stressful for Amy), and lots of other obligations to fulfill before we left.
We don’t have unlimited time or money, we aren’t 22 anymore, and we aren’t going to spend 12 hours trying to get and edit the perfect selfie. We aren’t doing this “before” – before grad school, a mortgage, or careers. We are doing this at a time in our lives where we have a condo, careers, family obligations, and lives in Chicago that are hard to leave.
But as we prepared for our departure on July 1, we were excited to have the opportunity, and appreciate our readers coming along. In fact, our readers actually voted on one of our destinations, Odessa, Ukraine!
Keith shares images, interviews with local photographers and others, Amy shares thoughts on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it (miles and points galore!), and more. We hope that we can inspire anyone else who is wondering if it’s too late for them to do something like this – whether “this” is a career transition, an extended trip, a bucket list item, or just saying “enough” to all of the “shoulds” and embracing the possible.
Here we go….
Voyager I cameras were turned to take one last image of earth and our solar system...the resulting photo contained a pale blue dot.
"Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
— Carl Sagan, Astronomer
Travel is about people. Photography is about connecting with people.
“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
— Alfred Eisenstaedt
Connecting with people results in life changing experiences.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
— Anthony Bourdain
More than a guidebook, more than vacation, more than taking selfies.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Any camera from a Polaroid and a Holga to a Hasselblad or a Leica will make the same images. You must love what you use and use it as much as possible. Use the equipment you love to make a connection.
After taking the photo of the two peasant women in Shanghai, I thought that if I just had a big zoom lens, then I would be a real photographer. Ha! I went to camera stores in Hong Kong but didn’t find what I was looking for. In one store, I saw a sign for Leica, which I had never heard of and didn’t know how to pronounce. I asked, “What are those ‘Leesa’ cameras in the corner?” The salesman corrected my pronunciation and said, “They are very expensive and very complicated — and not for you!”
After I got back to Los Angeles, I went into a camera store to buy the zoom lens and stood behind a lady buying a new camera. I heard the salesman ask her, “What do you like to shoot?” I thought that was an interesting question and went downstairs to come up with an answer. When I went back upstairs it was my turn and the salesman asked me, “What do you like to shoot?” I responded, “Funny you should ask. I like to photograph people and I travel a lot.” He asked, “Have you ever thought about a Leica?”
My blood ran cold because I knew Leicas were “very expensive and complicated.” He handed me a Leica M6. It felt great. I asked, how much? This was in 2000, and I was stunned when he told me the camera cost $1,800 — and I would still have to buy a lens. I asked for time to think about it. He said, “I understand. Take these brochures. Go home. You won’t sleep tonight.” He was right. I was up most of the night looking at the brochures, which included many photographs by famous street photographers and an interview with Henri Cartier-Bresson. I was captivated by his philosophy and images. The next day I went back and bought the camera. I said to the salesman, “Please tell me I won’t regret this purchase.” He responded, “You’ll only regret it if you don’t use it.” I decided then and there to use the heck out of it.
— Craig Semetko