That Everyone is Wrong about Other Countries

In March 2015, I read a wonderful article on The Atlantic called “For a More Creative Brain, Travel” with the subtitle “How international experiences can open the mind to new ways of thinking” – by Brent Crane, a journalist and photographer based in Massachusetts. There was a sentence in there from Mark Twain (1835-1910) that stuck – “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” – taken from the great American writer’s travelogue The Innocents Abroad (1869). Similarly, British writer Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) – famous for his dystopian masterpiece Brave New World (1932) – is supposed to have observed, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” He wrote a whole book called Along the Road: Notes and Essays of a Tourist.

Serge Horta

Huxley’s words are a guiding principle to Serge Horta, a Hong Kong-based photographer, who has been to over 40 countries. Coming from a background in architecture, Serge was so obsessed with megacities that he decided to chase them from Sydney to New York. But it was China’s sheer urbanism, he points out, that has grabbed him since 2007. He documents culture, people and inner cities. His photography is the result of a hypnotic fascination with how people live and interact with architecture, from the perfectly manicured US middle-class suburb to the sprawling slums of India. Amid noise and confusion and busy activity, Serge manages to find moments of peace and silence. As he encounters and engages with local residents everywhere, we see deeply personal and fully human stories emerging and making a powerful, mind-opening impression on the viewer – indeed helping them rid themselves of the hidden misconceptions and biases they may hold.

Check out Serge’s website (, Facebook (Serge Horta Photography and Inner City Exploration) and Saatchi Art ( pages. He thinks he is definitely looking for something. He says he will know when he finds it.

Images below used with permission.



















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