Talking with Dianna Snape is always an entertaining and enjoyable affair. This time was no exception. We met for lunch to chat about her recent trip and discuss the highs and lows of being an adventurer extraordinaire.
Over the past four months Dianna has visited Singapore, driven a tuk-tuk from the south to the north of India, journeyed to Tanzania, initiated photography workshops for village children and enjoyed the splendours of northern Italy. To take a holiday is not unusual however a journey of this scope was full of challenges for one of Australia's best architectural photographers.
Dianna felt the call of Africa a year ago and visited for a month. This year she decided to return and combine the trip with a journey across India. Of course photography is an integral part of all Dianna does and through the hundreds of images she has taken we can relive her amazing experience.
To drive across India was an impossible dream but when your vehicle is a tuk- tuk things start to become interesting. Dianna and four friends banded together to make their dream a reality and raise money for Frank Water, www.frankwater.com who provide clean water for the world's poorest communities. The trip called 'The Rickshaw Run', http://www.theadventurists.com/the-adventures/rickshaw-run involves driving 3700 kilometres from Cochin in the south of India to Shillong in the north. Participants have to map their own route and have two weeks to complete the journey. The group drove through rough terrain, visited small villages with little or no amenities and battled the technical intricacies of tuk-tuk engines. Unbelievably they arrived at their destination on time with body and tuk-tuks intact.
Before leaving India Dianna met with her friend and mentor John Gollings, http://www.gollings.com.au. John was in India to document Hampi, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/241 a village in northern Karnataka state and Dianna assisted in the process.
Tanzania was a different story. Dianna travelled back to the village she had visited a year before to set up camp. For the first month she immersed herself in daily Swahili lessons and taught staff of a safari company to use iPads and software programs. In the second month, Dianna established a photography workshop in Arusha at Shika's Watoto Wanaweza Centre, http://www.shika.org.uk/ a community centre for under privileged children. The refuge provides hot meals and a safe environment for children from disparate and difficult backgrounds and offers a safe haven for them to play and talk about their problems. Dianna became teacher and friend and lived in the village with her students. Of course an undertaking of this magnitude requires planning and the help of others and through the generous support of Craig Robinson, from Ted's Professional, http://www.teds.com.au/professional who supplied twenty-five reconditioned cameras, and other colleagues who donated memory cards and laptops, Dianna was able to facilitate the photography lessons. Some of the students have shown outstanding promise but talented or not the students have had the opportunity to discover the world from behind the lens.
Moving on to northern Italy it was time for Dianna to relax and catch up with family. Lots of fine Italian food and wine were on the menu and the beautiful scenery of the Cinque Terre walk helped feed the soul.
Dianna has now returned to her studio in St Kilda and is already back at work busy as ever capturing images of Australia's best architecture.
Some people just dream of exploring, others do. Dianna is intrepid and follows her heart and we are all the richer for her journey.
A little piece of my family travelled with Dianna on her adventure. My father Jack was a photographic enthusiast and accumulated an array of Hasselblad, Leica, Minolta and Nikon cameras over his lifetime. His constant snapping at family occasion was greeted with dread by my brothers and I, but it's funny how things change. I'm now so glad he documented our lives and the occasions that marked them. On his passing I was left with a legacy of non-digital cameras, accessories and camera bags. I turned to Dianna to sort the wheat from the chaff. Most of the items were marked for the museum but my father's camera bags were highly prized. Dianna chose Dad's favourite green camera bag to be her constant companion throughout her travels. It gave me great satisfaction to know that dad's bag was in use and I just know that he would have loved to be in the company of a gorgeous blonde who loved to take photographs and was traveling the globe.