My Story

Looking back over a career in the photography industry spanning 3 decades, I have often been asked by fellow photographers over the years what inspired me to walk the path I had chosen. In a sense, it was preordained for me since childhood – a childhood that was unusual to say the least. Born in Jerusalem into a secular family, I moved to London at a young age after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war. I can still remember how unfamiliar London was to me. The language, the climate, the food. But children adapt, and I was no different. While I never got used to the British weather, the multi-cultural society opened my eyes to a variety of fascinating cultures and traditions. I wanted to learn more about these interesting people and their way of life. My father was a world-traveller throughout his life, so after some constant persuasion we were off on an exotic adventure to the Caribbean island of Sant Lucia. It was here that you could say I had an epiphany. Arriving to this magical place of harmony and natural beauty left me with profound questions about the world and my place in it. That harmony was shattered when we were lucky to escape Hurricane David with our lives. From that moment on I became obsessed with the goal of exploring as much of the world as I could and to live my life each day as if it were my last. I was 10 years old.

3 years on, my father packed my elder brother, myself and our dog onto our tiny sailboat and we left the gloomy skies of England for the last time. 4 months later, our motley crew arrived to the shores of Israel. It was this experience that awakened in me a deep connection to the sea and the mysteries that lie beneath. As teenagers, my brother and I would pack our diving equipment and head to the Sinai peninsula of the Red Sea whenever we had a chance, sparking my love of underwater photography, which was the precursor for my first enterprise – a niche service leading underwater photography tours off the coast of Thailand with the wonderful Nikonos underwater camera system.

By this time, it was obvious that travel and photography were my calling, and after spending 20 years abroad in Asia, Africa and Oceania, I settled in Barcelona, where I lived for 15 years. Throughout my life, photography had become my personal form of artistic expression and creative vision, not just a way of capturing the world. With all the technical and creative experience I had gained in both film and digital and in a variety of formats, sharing that knowledge was the fundamental purpose for creating “Barcelona Photography Tours” in 2000. My objective was to aid other photographers that experience the same difficulties and pitfalls that I myself experienced and overcame, but only after years of experimenting through trial and error. I knew all too well how frustrating it was to envision the perfect shot, only to be disappointed with the results due to a lack of skill, knowing the camera’s capabilities, or even due to being unfamiliar with other cultures and norms in foreign lands. Photographing a variety of photographic genres in different countries, with an emphasis on street photography, candid environmental portraits and unique landscapes has given me invaluable knowledge on how to approach subjects discreetly, navigate around the camera quickly while envisioning a composition, then predicting how a scene will unfold.

Since the creation of the company I continue to challenge myself with my photography, and continue to lead photo tours and workshops around the world with great success. Likewise, I am fortunate to lead workshops in my homeland of Israel and neighbouring Jordan since creating “Israel Photography Tour”, together with “Gigapixart”, a no-compromise approach to dye-sublimated gigapixel sized images for commercial applications. Knowing fellow photography enthusiasts from all over the world and sharing our passion for this art form has become the great joy in my life. I hope to be there with you to inspire you on your own photographic journey.

Laurie Cohen
Company founder, guide & instructor

Photography Tour Guide