Boarding Pass – Kali Vermes

I first met Kali Vermes about a year ago, although I’ve been friends with her parents for nearly a decade now (their garden was site of my interview with David Lebovitz). We instantly hit it off as we talked about her passions as a photographer and for plants, and her plans to start a new project creating terrariums. Less than a year later, it’s been so fun seeing her vision come into fruition. That’s why I loved seeing her responses on today’s Boarding Pass, to visually see the way in which plants play a major role in how she beautifully documents the world/her travels through her photography. Thanks, Kali!
last trip taken:
I left in December for a month long ride through the rural Southern tip of India (Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu). A trip I had always dreamed of taking.
next trip on deck:
No planned destinations as of yet. If I’m lucky maybe somewhere warm like Naples or Istanbul end of September…
One place you would go back to again and again:
New York City because of its shear energy, variety of people, food, and activities. I’m always discovering something new even in the most common places.
place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
New York City for the same reasons as above and because you are always surprised.
preferred method of transportation:
I like using a bike for the energy rush and walking for the meditative moments that it conjures at every old and new corners of the city I find myself in. I also get into a special kind of mood when I am on a train, I find it soothing to see the landscape unfold beside me at different speeds.
place you’ve never been but dying to go:
Dreaming of Japan for an immersion in their textile, ceramics and culinary history.
place you’d never go back:
Kassel, Germany. Except for the very large and well thought out art fair, Kassel is a city without charm and I found it difficult to eat properly. Every 10 years all of the big art fairs in Europe take place on the same summer so on this rare occasion back in 2007, I skipped from the Venice Biennale to Art Basel, then to the outdoor sculpture show in Munster, and finally to the Documenta in Kassel. I will carefully plan my stay if I ever go back for the next “grand tour”.
most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
An enchanting evening in Hampi (Kernataka, South India). Sitting by a river at sun set watching birds flock to their night time sanctuary. An array of birds flew over us, the highlight was the sight of a majestic peacock flying onto it’s resting branch.
how do you prepare for a trip?
I try to get in touch with friends in the country I’m heading to or friends of friends who were recommended to me so I can meet with them once I arrive. I like to get an insiders point of view right from the start, hear their stories and get suggestions on what to do and where to eat.
how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I always try to carry a camera with me and a little note book to write down names and collect samples of plants and scraps of paper.
what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
I try to find those moments that suspend time, those places and instances where a quiet harmony creates an instance of grace.
on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
At least 2 rolls a day.
what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
I take too many cameras with me and end up having to lug around a big heavy bag. I’ve been slow at shifting from film to digital. I use a Canon G9 now but for the past 10 years I have mainly been using my beloved Yashica T4, a simple point and shoot with which I’ve shot some of my favorite pictures. I also use a Leica M7 awarded to me by the fashion house Hermès for a picture I took in 2004. This camera brings memory to life with incredible sharpness.
what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
Life takes over and everything stops at the end of a trip and my pictures stay in the dark for weeks. Then one day I decide to pick everything up again and I start working on the editing. This process gives me a fresh eye and a renewed pleasure to sort out my photos.
favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
Every day small functional objects that have character, like a woven shopping bag, or a basket, or colorful combs and sandals. I also like to bring back food items like spices, teas…
links: (terrariums) (photography)


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