Photographer Richard Silver was about to take a lucrative job in New York real estate sales when something made him hesitate. He told the firm he'd get back to them in a week, but he never did. Instead, he went in a drastically different direction: In January, he picked up his camera and set out with 75 strangers for a Remote Year, during which he's traveling to 12 countries — living in each for one month — and shooting the gorgeous natural and man-made scenery along the way.
"The idea to travel with so many people was the enticement for me. Usually I travel alone or go on tours with people I don't know for a couple of weeks at a time. This was an opportunity to travel for a full year, and I jumped on it," Silver says. "I was hoping to explore the world in a new way and be inspired by other people — and I am, so far."
This is not the first time Silver's photography has brought him around the globe. A lover of architecture, he's known for his dizzying "Vertical Churches" series, which includes stunning panoramas of cathedrals in locales including Los Angeles, Iceland, South Africa and Shanghai. While in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he visited the Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento to shoot this beauty:
Silver's latest journey has taken him to South America, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. "Remote Year has been pretty amazing. I have traveled through South America before but to really explore other areas of the countries has just made it so much more than the adventure I expected," Silver says.
Silver says he has photographed almost 40 new churches during his travels. The one in Colombia pictured above is lovely, but, he says, "Argentina has offered me the best churches to photograph on this trip. Buenos Aires and Salta in particular have exquisite churches."
These images are shot like any other panorama, Silver says. "The difference is that I shoot anywhere from 5 to 9 photos from the pew up through the ceiling then to the back of the cathedral. In Photoshop I photo-merge them to complete the panorama," he says.
When he wasn't photographing holy interiors, Silver turned his lens toward landscapes. In Chile, "Torres del Paine was spectacular," he says of the national park that's pictured above. "Patagonia was a real highlight for me; it has been on my list for a long
time," he adds.
Silver, who has been shooting photos since high school and has been a full-time professional photographer since 2011, has his work shown in more than 75 galleries all over the world. In addition to the vertical cathedral panoramas, he's also known for his tilt-shift photos, like the one above of Glacier Lagoon in Iceland.
"This technique plays tricks on the eyes," he says. "I do everything in post production and do not use a tilt-shift lens. By keeping part of the image in focus and part out of focus, you are making the viewer look at the in-focus part. By having the two separate visuals together in one image, it has the illusion of depth, which makes the people look like models or just very small."
It's this photo of construction in Las Vegas, though, that's his favorite tilt-shift. "This has always been my favorite because to me, it is still my best shot."
Silver has another photo trick up his sleeve: time-slice photos, as seen in the above image of the Obelisco de Buenos Aires in Argentina. To accomplish this look, he takes about 40 to 50 photos in one hour as the sun sets. "In Lightroom and Photoshop, I choose 36 photos, then slice them together for the final single image," he explains.
"This year is something that I am hoping will inspire other people to explore. There are many people working remotely that would love to do live this kind of life, and as I travel longer and longer, I want them to know that they can do it, too," says Silver.