Photography is the art of capturing and framing a single moment in time. While each photographer has their own style or personality, Miguel De La Fuente captures bright and powerful images that represent the complex and layered stories behind them. For De La Fuente, color photography is not only a creative outlet, it also gifts him with the opportunity to travel and enjoy immersive and educational cultural experiences.
Born and raised in a small village in Andalusia, Spain, De La Fuente is thankful for his home’s culture and scenery, but traveling the world and learning more about our planet has always inspired and motivated him. Now, De La Fuente is living his dream and traveling around the globe to locales including Greece, Morocco, Spain, Turkey, and Indonesia. Lucky for us, he brings his camera with him everywhere he goes.
Vibrant photos brimming with color and detail are the hallmarks of De La Fuente’s popular photography, and he seeks personal inspiration in the myriad personalities that compose the bustling global marketplaces and streets that he visits. De La Fuente ensures his cultural experiences are well rounded, thoroughly enjoying sampling local foods and lifestyles as well.
Face the Current connected with De La Fuente to discuss some of the meaningful lessons and most memorable moments of his journeys so far.
Sasha Frate: Where did you grow up, and did living in this region have any influence on your desire and/or approach to travel?
Miguel Angel: I was born and grew up in a pretty small village in Andalusia, in the south of Spain. I am—and have always been—an adventurous person. When I was a child, map books that I found around my home fascinated me.
Doubtless, living in a little town strengthened my enthusiasm and desire to get to know new places, people, and different lifestyles.
SF: From a local’s perspective, what are your recommendations for the best things to see and do in Andalusia?
MA: I am incredibly lucky to be Andalusian. I think this is an usual feeling amongst the population from Southern Spain. Andalusia is the large region in the Spanish country and it has charming features for all types of travelers. Cultural tourism includes architectural jewels such as The Alhambra (Granada), The Mosque of Córdoba, and La Plaza de España (Sevilla), sun and beach tourism with fine and golden sand on the coast of Cádiz, and the famous Costa del Sol in Málaga where you can enjoy the marvelous coves in Nerja. (Its beaches are well known for their crystal-clear water and beautiful landscapes.)
The White Villages Route is a must for tourists (Ronda, Frigiliana, Vejer de la Fromtera, etc.), or Marbella, which is much more than luxury and glamour. Natural features, adventure sports, traditional festivals—you will always have an excuse to visit Andalusia!
SF: You have a vibrant approach to the visual side of your travel storytelling, showcasing the beautiful colors of our world and cultures. Do colorful destinations guide the creation of your bucketlist for travels, and if so, how do you search for and find such locations?
MA: I love visiting all types of places, but I should confess that I tend to gravitate toward those where my camera and I are able to find the most colorful spots. Before starting my trips, I always take my time creating my must-see list, looking for the points I will be visiting to get the most vibrant photographs—it’s one of my greatest passions. Instagram is a useful platform for this due to all the visual content.
SF: What are some of the colorful destinations on your must-see list that you haven’t yet experienced, and what do you most look forward to at these places?
MA: I have a few destinations in my mind that I cannot wait to see! The Amalfi Coast of Italy: a colorful seaside town with pastel-colored houses and blooming bougainvillea—the perfect combination for me. Cuba: not only because of the spectacular photographic reports I will take back, but also the fascinating Cuban culture and the lifestyle of its people. The Maldives: a dream place with a special inspirational design of perfect natural blue.
What I most look forward to from the places I have visited is always the same: to get to know the way people live, to walk by all the corners around the city, to try traditional and favorite food, and to be part of the people and not just a tourist who sees the most popular attractions. I want to be someone who feels and understands the local perspective.
SF: What are one or two places you’ve visited that have a unique story behind how they choose to use certain colors in their towns?
MA: I choose Greece, for sure. I had always dreamed of visiting the Greek islands since my love for photography awoke within me. In Greece, flowers are mixed with their cobbled streets and white walls creating a beautiful splash of color. These Islands were like a real paradise for me.
My trip was a care-free journey full of emotions over the Cyclades islands. Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking cities in the world, with marvelous architecture built right on the edge of rugged cliffs that creates an amazing landscape. In Oia, you will discover a magical view to an endless blue from the Aegean Sea. The streets of Mykonos look like they are always ready to take a perfect shot. It is such a gorgeous place to walk around with its perfect white cobbled streets full of colors and lush bougainvillea. Finally, on Paros island, I found some hidden places to avoid the crowded villages and the visit was more peaceful and relaxing.
The Greek culture is well-known for its impressive architecture that the Greek Empire bequeathed, and the sensation that the culture offers you is extremely extraordinary.
SF: What are some of your favorite natural materials that you’ve seen used on your travels that create beautiful textures and colors everywhere you go in that town/region/area?
MA: I love the natural resources of bougainvillea in Papua New Guinea. For this reason, I always try to travel in the spring season since it is the time when the bougainvillea flowers are completely bloomed.
In line with the previous question, Santorini shows you the different shades of blue from the seas, and in combination with white walls topped with blue domes, it’s such a unique atmosphere not found elsewhere in the world.
SF: Can you share one or two of your favorite food and/or tea experiences? Where were you, what did you eat/drink, and what made it unique and special?
MA: Each time I drink tea, I remember my trip to Istanbul. After every meal, they serve you a cup of traditional apple tea. As well as Turkish coffee, it’s such a different experience to have a small cup for coffee drinkers who have never tried it in Turkey. The time I was enjoying my Turkish coffee at a restaurant near the Blue Mosque, my girlfriend took my photo and it became my profile picture on Instagram for a very long time.
Regarding food, my favorite food experience was in Morocco. Moroccan cuisine is pretty particular and delights palates of all travelers, but take into account that you have to open your mind to savor new tastes.
SF: Marketplaces and local shops are often fun and interesting places to experience local goods and culture. As you love to hit the color filled spots, what has caught your eye along your travels that you found fun and interesting?
MA: Marketplaces and local shops are the best way to discover the culture of the place you are visiting.
Chefchaouen, widely known as the Blue Pearl, is one of my favorite destinations in Morocco. It is full of local shops that decorate its narrow streets, and I can’t remember how many times I have gone to this town. It is located relatively close to where I stay, so every single time that I visit it, I feel right at home. Here it is easy to find an explosion of colors, and there exists a beautiful tone of blue everywhere.
SF: Nature often gifts us with pops of color and contrast, creating beautiful scenes and dreamy environments to wander through or sit within and enjoy. From cacti to flowers, fruit trees and more, you’ve captured a lot of this beauty on your travels! What are some of the top locations you’ve discovered that were hard to leave, even though you left with beautiful and memorable captures?
MA: One of the most impressive natural places I have ever visited is Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida (Indonesia). Getting there was quite an adventure! We went by ferry from the island of Bali and once there we rented a motorcycle to get to the beach. You have to drive over dirt roads, but it was well worth it. The beach views from above are quite a spectacle for your eyes and are a delightful refreshing sensation that I will never forget.
Another country that fascinated me by its nature is the U.S.A. I traveled with my friends and we did The West Route by car passing through four states. We stopped at Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.
SF: You often travel with your partner Nuria, a native to another beautiful location: Marbella, Spain. Are there any hidden gems, a must-visit eatery and/or beach that you/she would recommend in the Costa del Sol region?
MA: As I mentioned before, Marbella is not only for luxury tourism; that is mainly focused on the luxury marina and shopping complex of Puerto Banús. Marbella is also home to one of the most beautiful and charming old towns in Spain—a hidden gem itself. Walking along the seafront is a relaxing moment we enjoy when there’s nothing planned, especially at sunset. There is a site I recommend to everyone who visits Marbella: the wooden bridge which projects out into the sea. Local people will help you to get there!
La Costa del Sol is an amazing place to live; there is always something to do.
SF: As a travel duo, what are some favorite (unique and/or particularly memorable) activities you’ve done together?
MA: Nuria and I love traveling—our second date was a crazy and improvised trip to Morocco! After it, we knew we could continue to create unique memories together.
All countries and all adventures have something special, but from my experience, one of the best experiences as a travel couple is our trip over the island of Bali and Nusa Penida. We explored the island by scooter, and we loved it! You are in total contact with the people and nature, and it gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to moving around. We got up early in the mornings—about 5:00 am—and we got ready for new adventures to make the most of every day we spent there. We always say that if we had the opportunity to live in a place other than the one we do right now, we’d choose Bali just to spend several months far away from the stressful European way of life.
Another experience that I personally loved was crossing the Strait of Gibraltar on a friend’s small sailboat. We left from the port of Málaga and spent four days sailing by the sea, visiting various cities in northern Morocco.
For us, this is just the beginning and we look forward to new experiences together.
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