The Photographer’s Adventure

Jake Baggaley - Aokigahara[Jake Baggaley, from the series: Aokigahara]




An English playwright and novelist once said that “every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul” (Somerset Maugham, W.). This sounds very apt for the work of recently aforementioned photographer Alec Soth, where his subject appears a way of commenting on speculations of a universal inner monologue, but for most artists it is in making the work , as much as in its review, in which they find their adventure. Photographers have been the architects of great adventures for years; from Richard Avedon’s American West (1985) to Lee Friedlander’s America By Car (1995-2010), utilising the power of the camera as a key to gain access – and often reason – to enter the places they wish to discover.

Jake Baggaley, who takes his stylistic inspiration from a more contemporary breed of photographers in the shape of Simon Norfolk, Simon Roberts and Leoni Purchas, is another one of photography’s explorers. Even whilst completing his degree at the Arts University College at Bournemouth (UK), it was infrequent to see Baggaley in the classroom – let alone the country. In his three years of study he chose projects that would ensure him a voyage across seas to photograph the stories and people that he found most fascinating – from the morbid beauty of the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mt. Fuji with the notorious highest concentrated suicide rating in Japan to the people living in the dangerously radiated ground zero in Chernobyl.


Jake Baggaley, Chernobyl[Jake Baggaley, from the series: Chernobyl]


Now as a graduate, Baggaley pursues his commitment to photographic exploration as a social documentary photographer and will be embarking on his next journey later this year as a part of 3JD Mongol Rally where Jake, along with his brother Joe and two friends, Jordan and Dwayne, will drive from his home in South of England to the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, in order to raise money for two charities – Children’s Hospice UK and The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. Journeying through eighteen countries and eleven thousand miles of terrain, Baggaley will be photographing some of the most infamous destinations along their route including ‘The Door to Hell’ in Darvaza, Turkmenistan (a gas hole in the Earth that burns 24/7) and the most polluted city on Earth, Baku.

There is no doubt that the imagery to follow will be that of intrigue, but with no corporate sponsorship, 3JD aim to raise money through direct donations to Children’s Hospice and The Christina Noble Foundation via their website The team are also looking for people who can help them with the more practical sides of their journey – from what to do when their car breaks down, to language help as they cross borders.  – without which, the journey will not be possible.


To see more of Jake Baggaley’s photography, visit his website at: and learn more about the Mongol Rally by visiting

Let’s just hope they take a leaf out of Aron Ralston’s (127 Hours) book and let people know where they’re going!

3JD Mongol Rally 2011


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