Continuing with my trip around the globe, I made a stop in Myanmar. While in Myanmar I traveled to Bagan, home of thousands and thousands of Buddhist shrines. On our way back to the ship to head onto Vietnam we made an impromptu pit stop at an elephant conversation camp at 6:30 in the morning. This was one of my first time taking pictures of animals, so I got to learn some of the challenges that come with that, such as eye contact, respecting the animals space, while dealing with lighting challenges, movement and more. Overall I was so happy with how my pictures from Myanmar turned out and I actually enjoyed photographing animals so much more than I thought I would!




Another stop on my Semester at Sea adventure was in India. I traveled to Cochin, New Dehli, Agra, and Varanasi in five days! India was absolutely gorgeous but quite a challenge to photograph. Two days after I left, United Airlines cancelled all flights in and out of Dehli due to the high pollution. It is hazy everywhere and actually quite difficult to see. Another challenge is the amount of people. There are HUNDREDS of people around you at any given time of day or night no matter where you are. In fact, the Taj Mahal receives around 30-40,000 visitors PER DAY. I was extremely excited to take on these challenges with my photography skills as it made lighting extremely difficult. Many of my photos kept coming out banded as well. Another challenge that I faced in India was taking pictures of religious ceremonies. Much of what makes Indian culture so rich is the Hindu religion. However, it is so important to be culturally aware and respectful while being able to capture the ‘real’ India. I learned so much from my week and definitely improved my photography skills while having an amazing time.


I visited Ghana for five days in Fall 2017. It was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I spent my days at an orphanage learning about child slavery, visiting native tribal villages, but most importantly visiting the Cape Coast. Cape Coast is home to the slave castles, where Ghanian men, women and children would be held by their captors until ships would bring them to the Americas and the Caribbean. Being from Charleston, South Carolina slavery has always been a devastating, but important part of my city’s history and culture. For me this felt like coming full circle and to have witnessed it has really opened my mind.

Ghana was an amazing chance to get to work on my photography because it was so colorful in the city, but it was always so grey in the sky. It rained every day that we were there, so I was able to take advantage of shooting with more color contrast. I was also excited because I was able to photograph a lot of kids, which definitely comes with its challenges. Many kids were so excited because they’d never seen photos of themselves before and they kept jumping up to touch the cameras and begging to have their photos taken. This challenged me as a photographer because I’d never felt the struggle from being present in the moment vs. wanting to get the perfect shot. This experience definitely showed me that there is a balance and sometimes its worth it to just put the camera away and not waste an experience for the sake of a shot.

Check out some of my favorite photos from the week below!

First image taken by Meaghan Mackey.


My Favorite Photo

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I took this picture in September 2018 when I was in Ghana while participating in the Fall 2017 voyage of Semester at Sea. This is my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken for several reasons. I spent my first day in Ghana volunteering with 50 other students for required volunteer hours. We went to City of Refuge Ministries about an hour from the capital, Accra.┬áCity of Refuge works to rescue the nearly 7,000-10,000 children currently enslaved at Lake Volta, the largest reservoir in the world.

The child photographed attends the City of Refuge school now that she has been rescued. Though she spoke little English she confidently came up to me and asked me to take a picture and showed off for the camera.

I took this photo on a Nikon 3400 with a 35-80mm lens. It was super overcast and rained for a while throughout the day. I think the strongest part of this photo is the compelling content. Many of the children at the orphanage had never seen a photo of themselves before and their excitement was infectious.

I will always keep and love this picture because it reminds me of one of my best memories from Semester at Sea.

About me

My name is Lara Tedesco Barker and I am a junior Visual Communications major at the University of South Carolina. I shoot on a Nikon 3400 and edit using the Adobe Suite, mostly Photoshop. My passion is travel and I’ve been to more than 40 countries and lived in two. I began taking pictures during my first study abroad in Peru in 2013. The more I traveled and took photos, the better they started to turn out. I am in my fourth photography class at the USC. My favorite type of photography is portraits, but I’ve been expanding into landscapes as well as videography. I am excited to see what else I can learn and improve on during this class.

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