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Sunday, 21 April 2019 12:16 am

Capital’s people are much more beautiful than its buildings

Fernando on The day tripper project

BUS STUDIO: Fernando Ramirez on a shoot.

WELLINGTONIANS are more beautiful than their architecture, says a Chilean photographer who is capturing the melting pot of people found on the capital’s buses.

The architecture and the harbour are beautiful, says Fernando Ramirez, but it is really the kind, friendly people who make the city truly beautiful.

His Day Tripper Project started after he bought a pass by the same name and rode the buses all over Wellington.

2ndsubject“It turns out if you buy a Day Tripper ticket you get to know the whole city and you get to talk to the people on the buses,” says the 27-year-old from Santiago. “That’s pretty cool and pretty cheap.”

After talking to commuters and taking a few pictures, the photographer/journalist realised that the bus was the perfect place to capture the essence of Wellington.

He puts his pictures, each with a small story, on photo-sharing website Flickr and recently on

He finds all passengers – including himself – have their own destination and Wellington story to tell.

He arrived in Wellington four months ago, after being unable to find work in Auckland and after another job on a kiwifruit farm in Tauranga fell through.

Lisa & Kate“I found a job as a waiter. Then I started to do photos at The Four Kings and at Electric Avenue, and then I started to do the day tripper project – and I fell in love with this city.”

When he is out to take pictures for the project, there is no strict plan or destination.

He selects a bus randomly, preferably one he has not been on, and just sees what happens.

He starts at the back, because most people at the back tend to get off at a later stop.

Passengers are often bored, so are willing to have their pictures taken and talk a little bit about their lives.

Fernando asks subjects some general questions, like:Another Wellington story on Bus number 14

  • where they are going,
  • where they are from,
  • how long they have been in Wellington
  • and what they do for work.

He says Wellingtonians are “really nice, really polite. I feel safe here in Wellington. I can go with my camera everywhere. Nothing bad will happen.”

This is in stark contrast to his home country, where people are not so obliging and often really paranoid about being photographed.

Ramirez“People in Chile will freak out.  Why do want to take my picture? You want to kill me.  Are trying to mug me? You want to put my picture on a porn site.”

There is also the danger of being mugged, attacked or abused.

Fernando (left), who has a journalism qualification from Diego Portales University and has been published in a number of newspapers, has spent the last three years as a professional photographer capturing weddings, bands and concerts, fashion models.

He works for the independent research journalism website CIPER (Centro de Investigación e Información Periodística).

Fernando Ramirez’s Day Tripper Project on Flickr Slideshow: (Click on individual Slides to view the text)

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

View The Day Tripper photo essay (PDF) on

View Day Tripper Project Slideshow on Flickr

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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