Friday, February 29, 2008


We all agreed this loaf was a winner and earned its place on the cheeseboard. Savoury bread with gruyere cheese, herbs and sultanas is a very tasty flavour combination.
Knowing that you can't go to the supermarket and buy a loaf that resembles your own, makes breadmaking worthwhile. If you take the easy route and use a breadmaker to prepare the dough then the whole process doesn't take very long.
The recipes in this book are for making bread by hand, but if you have had a bread machine for a while you soon get used to making small adjustments to the list of ingredients.

As you can see, I chose to bake the bread on a non-stick sheet which was then placed onto a heavy baking tray. Sometimes the thoughts of bread sticking to the tray and not budging is nothing short of frustrating. As a rule I don't have any problems but somehow when I looked at the dough it said 'trouble'!
Step-by-Step Baking was printed in 1999 and when you flip through the pages it really is a book that seems to be almost timeless. The contents include everything from pies and savoury flans, sweet yeast breads to small cakes and pastries.
An example of some of the recipes are Lemon and Lime Pavlova Pie, Italian Easter Tart, Baked Cheesecake with Exotic Fruits or how about Pistachio Angel Cake?
Leek and Mascarpone Tart, Baked Garlic and Goats Cheese Parcels, Spiced Fig and Ricotta Bread or Taleggio Pizzette with Pancetta and Red Onion - have I tempted you yet?


ISBN 0091865794 - Page 123

MAKES: 2 loaves (will freeze - simply refresh in the oven or microwave)

You will need:

450g strong plain white flour, 1 tsp salt, ½ x 7g sachet fast-action yeast, 1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence, 2 tsp sugar, 25g finely grated gruyere cheese, 250ml warm water, 30ml olive oil, 50g sultanas, 2 fresh rosemary sprigs (to decorate).

1. Place all of the ingredients except the sultanas and the 2 fresh rosemary sprigs in the bread machine, on the raisin dough setting, in the order as specified in your instruction book.
2. When your machine bleeps add the sultanas.
3. Remove the dough from the machine.
4. Knock back the dough and divide into two. Shape each piece into a baton. Place on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with flour. Slash along the length of each baton and top with the rosemary sprigs. Cover loosely and leave to rise for 30 minutes (or until double in size).
5. Bake at 220°C/210°C Fan/Gas Mark 7 for about 25 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Nikon: New Website & Blog

Image © Dave Black-All Rights Reserved

Although I'm a Canon kind of guy, I am pleased to see that Nikon has re-entered the competition with new cameras and now an updated website.

Perhaps this will awaken Canon out of its website torpor by providing its users an exciting experience instead of its current ho-hum effort.

Nikon USA website

Nikon's Your Shot blog

NY Times: Salvador da Bahia

Image © Lalo de Almeida for NY Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times recently featured the work of photographer Lalo de Almeida in a slideshow accompanying a travel article on Salvador da Bahia, the legendary Brazilian city described by the writer Jorge Amado as “the most mysterious and beautiful of the world’s cities” and “the most languid of women.”

The informative article by Larry Rohter tells us that Salvador da Bahia is reputed to have 365 churches, one for every day of the year, however it is also home for Candomblé, the African-derived religion and Brazil’s equivalent to voodoo. The Candomblé worship ceremonies are held in open-air sanctuaries known as terreiros in the poor neighborhoods of the city. I expect these would be fascinating venues for photography!

I very much like the lovely photograph by de Almeida of this equally lovely (and languid?) Bahian's exactly how I would've photographed her, against the backdrop of a cobblestoned street and looking away from the center of the the impression to the viewer that there's something else in the scene beyond the reach of the lens.

The NY Times' Jorge Amado's Salvador

NGM: Bhutan's Enlightened Experiment

Image © Lynsey Addario -All Rights Reserved

The National Geographic Magazine brings us a photo essay by Lynsey Addario on Bhutan in its efforts to join the modern world without losing its Buddhist soul. Reading the accompanying article, I was saddened by the inexorable march of the so-called progress fueled by globalism which is now threatening this delightful Himalayan enclave. You will see that the article mentions youngsters who are enamored with hip-hop and American wrestling...a photograph by Lynsey showing a trio of Bhutanese girls (near one of the top Thimpu hotels) dressed in jeans and colorful tops...but the most disturbing of the photographs was the one of 12-year-old Jigme Lhendup and his sister Sonam, 9, showing off their hip-hop moves at their mother's bar in Thimpu.

Although Bhutan's countryside remains relatively untouched by this 'progress', it may be only a matter of time until it too will be affected. I am certainly glad that my Bhutan photo-expedition is scheduled for October 2008...its members will still see Bhutan as I've seen it over the years.

National Geographic's Bhutan's Enlightened Experiment

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Win luxury Easter eggs from Hotel Chocolat

Easter is coming around the corner very quickly and everyone wants that extra special Easter Egg!

Kitchen Delights has teamed up with Hotel Chocolat to offer you a chance to win some of Hotel Chocolat’s extra special, extra thick Easter Eggs.

To enter, click here and simply answer six questions which will take you on an Easter egg hunt to find the secret code. Once you have answered each question, use the first letter of each answer to reveal the secret code. If you have found the right answer you stand a chance to win one of Hotel Chocolat’s stunning Extra Thick Easter Eggs!

NOTE: Only UK residents are eligible to enter this competition.
The competition commences 00.00 am on 25/02/08.
Closing date for entries is 11.59 pm 18/03/08.



VII is announcing the grand opening of its new location in New York on Friday February 29th (3-6:30pm) .

Photographers Lauren Greenfield, Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv, Christopher Morris and Jessica Dimmock will attend the opening, and will be available to sign their books.

From VII's press release:

"What is VII DUMBO? First of all, it is the new location of VII’s NY office. In addition, we will operate a street level gallery space and a bookstore for photojournalism. Visitors will be able to see printed works by the VII photographers hanging on the walls (selected by Hasted Hunt), as well as buy books by VII photographers and other noted photojournalists. We plan to use the space for events such as panel discussions, book signings, lectures and workshops. The simple idea is that we want to create a physical place in NY, where we can support and promote photojournalism.

We look forward to seeing you in VII DUMBO, starting February 29th at 3pm. We will also be open on weekends, to accommodate weekend visitors. The address is 28 Jay Street in the DUMBO district (2 blocks west of the YORK STREET stop on the F line)."

Back From Oaxaca!

Image © Tewfic El-Sawy -All Rights Reserved

I've enjoyed the wonderful city of Oaxaca during the past week, and although I haven't devoted much time to personal photo projects, I did manage to fill a couple of flash cards during that time.

Not only is Oaxaca a wonderful city with excellent weather and food, but its people are charming, courteous and generous, with a fascinating culture and history. I will expand on all of this when I have time to review my photographs and my notes.

In the meantime, here's a photograph I took of Guelaguetza dancers. This is a Zapotec term for a collection of dances from the state of Oaxaca, and signifies "offering". Guelaguetza was the term used to describe the Oaxacan ceremony and celebration held each year to propitiate the gods in return for sufficient rain and a bountiful harvest.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

VII Seminar In DUMBO (NY)

VII Photo Agency has announced its seminar in Dumbo for May 16, 17 and 18th 2008 coinciding with its 7th anniversary of its founding. The tickets are for $50 each, and the 3-day event will include panel discussions, keynote presentations and book signings.

I'm currently in Oaxaca, so this post is somehwat rushed but the VII event promises to be an extraordinary opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with (and learn from) VII photographers.

All details are found at VII Dumbo Event

Monday, February 18, 2008

Updated Websites For TTP

I've announced this through my monthly newsletter, but I've finally updated my websites, including 16 photo galleries. I used an overall design that is simpler and easier to navigate.

The short cut for the photo galleries is Tewfic El-Sawy, The Travel Photographer

The main portal page is The Travel Photographer, and leads to my 2008 photo expeditions, previous itineraries, the 16 photo galleries, the slideshows and the TTP blog.

I will be in Oaxaca, Mexico for about 10 days...and will intermittently post from there.

TTP Recap

For your convenience, here's the past week's (February 10-17, 2008) most read posts on TTP:

NY Times: A Genocide In Slow Motion
WP: Tokyo Panoramas
Airy Mac Book Air

Bas Uterwijk: Burma

Image © Bas Uterwijk -All Rights Reserved

Bas Uterwijk lives in Amsterdam, and has just returned from Burma with wonderful photographs made during his travels. Although he recently got interested in photography, he's been telling stories with images for most of his career as a computer graphics artist for a video game company.

His Burma portfolio contains lovely photographs of Burmese novices, monks as well as depictions of everyday Burmese life. The photograph I chose for this post and the rest of his gallery are proof that we'll hear more of Bas.

Video games and photography...what else could anyone want in life?

Bas Uterwijk's Burma

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Vanity Fair: Junger & Hetherington

Image ©Tim Hetherington -All Rights Reserved

Vanity Fair recently featured a video interview with author and journalist Sebastian Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington, discussing the former's article "In the Valley of Death".

The article recounts the men's experiences when joining a US platoon while its soldiers make painfully slow advance in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley; a strategic passage but among the deadliest pieces of terrain in the world for U.S. forces.

Tim Hetherington was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year 2007 for one of his photographs which appeared in the accompanying article.

Video Interview


Saturday, February 16, 2008

WP: Tokyo Panoramas

The Washington Post brings us a many faceted mutimedia feature titled Tokyo Stories. It includes videos and panoramic photographs of various Tokyo's cultural and religious sites, including of the Sensō-ji, the ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, and the adjacent Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Jinja.

It's an extremely well done feature, and although perhaps a bit jerky for those who don't have a super-fast internet connection, it's well worth one's time. I haven't been to Japan yet, but this is really a good place to start.

The Washington Post's Tokyo's Panoramics

Friday, February 15, 2008

MSF: Spencer Platt

Image © Spencer Platt/Getty Images -All Rights Reserved

Medecins Sans Frontieres brings us an audio slideshow of photographs by Spencer Platt, a staff photographer with Getty Images, who spent two weeks in December 2007 with MSF in the Central African Republic.

Spencer Platt won last year's World Press Photo of the Year prize for his excellent photograph of a group of five cavalier Beirut residents cruising in a red Mini convertible through a neighborhood that has been reduced to rubble by Israeli bombs.

This MSF slideshow is very well narrated by Spencer. I chose the above photograph because it made me wonder whether this sign prohibiting an automatic rifle makes a difference.

MSF's Through The Lens: Central African Republic

NY Times: "A Genocide In Slow Motion"

Image ©Jan Grarup for NY Times-All Rights Reserved

Jan Grarup is an award-winning Danish photographer who traveled the world documenting many historical events. From the fall of the communist regime in Romania to the current occupation of Iraq, he has covered numerous wars and conflicts, including the genocide in Rwanda. He's a member of the Noor agency-collective.

Here's his latest work out of Africa, which The New York Times chose to title as "A Genocide In Slow Motion". The feature is in slideshow motion, with Jan Grarup narrating.

A Genocide In Slow Motion

Thursday, February 14, 2008

1 on 1: Justin Mott

Image © Justin Mott -All Rights Reserved

The Travel Photographer blog will occasionally post interviews with both travel and editorial working photographers. This interview is with Justin Mott, a photojournalist working in South East Asia, currently living in Hanoi. His work is seen in the New York Times and Time magazine, among others, and he recently published photo essays on mysticism in Indonesia and Vietnamese orphanages. He's represented by World Picture News.

1) TTP: When did you decide to become a photographer? Who or what influenced your decision?

A: I used to be a bartender in the financial district of San Francisco for 7 years. I was taking some journalism classes at SF State and I just kind of fell into a photography class when I was registering for classes. I was really into Kerouac at the time and I use to escape the city life with little weekend road trips by myself. I started bringing my camera with me and I never really put it down since.

2) TTP: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?

A: I studied under Ken Kobre at San Francisco State University and participated in a few workshops that have had great influence on my life as a photographer. I didn't learn anything in school about being a freelancer or working in a foreign country: that process is ongoing, and from every assignment I learn something new about myself and about being a working professional.

3) TTP : If you had the choice, where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the world and why?

A: I personally felt I had a choice so I'm living and working exactly where I want to be: Hanoi, Vietnam. I love the smiling faces, the adventures, the landscapes, and the cost of living is helpful.

4) TTP: Describe your own favorite image, and describe how you went about creating it.

A: My favorite image is a really simple image that I took one day wandering near the Red River of Hanoi. I slowly approached a child standing in the frame of his new house being built next to the tiny tent he was currently living in. He was just standing in the doorway of this shell of a house and I had to be stealthy approaching it (needing to get close because I had a fixed 35mm). Most of my personal projects are related to children's issues and about children living in isolation for a variety of reasons. That image represents a lot of my stories and has the lonely feeling to it that my stories have. Not many people compliment the image and some have even suggested that I remove it from my portfolio, but I dig it and I open my web portfolio with it.

5) TTP: Describe a day in your professional life.

A: It depends on whether it's an assignment or a personal project. I'll give you an example of a typical day of a personal project I recently finished up in the outskirts of Hanoi. I would get up at my shanty hotel before sunrise and untangle myself out of my mosquito net. I manke sure I have my battery off the charger and my memory cards, then I pack my Domke. Slam a coffee and then wait for my moto taxi to the orphanage. Wave at the random people on the sides of the streets wondering why an American is way out there. I would spend the entire day at the orphanage observing and photographing. In the afternoon I look for any quiet place to take a nap, unused office, tree, etc. I would typically leave when the orphanage closed down for bedtime and head back to my hotel. After dinner I backup my work on my tiny portable hard drive and go through the days take. The following day I will do the same exact thing.

6) TTP: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photoshoot!

A: The funniest thing that ever happened to me came in Jamesport, Missouri while attending the University of Missouri Photo Workshop. My story was about an Amish teenager and his coming to age as an adult. His father was quite liberal and had allowed me to follow his 16 year old son for the week. On my last day while exchanging pleasantries with Pops I asked him one final question about his son John. I said "Jacob, what do you want for John" meaning for his future. Jacob glanced over at his son working away building furniture and without a smile on his face said" Justin, I'm not really interested in selling any of my children." I couldn't help but laugh out loud and rephrase my question.

7) TTP: What types of assignments are you most attracted to?

A: The last few weeks I have been to Indonesia and Malaysia for the NY Times working on a variety of stories ranging from palm oil, mysticism, feuding princes, and the death of the former Indonesian president Suharto. Each story fascinated me and each story presented problems that needed to be solved to tell the writers story with visuals. I love the challenge of solving those problems.

8) TTP: How would you describe your photographic style?

A: I shoot very loose and I love empty space. At the Eddie Adams workshop Magnum Photographer Eli Reed cropped my whole portfolio really tight and I got a good laugh out of it watching him mutilating my images. I respect his style and obviously he is a legend, but I like shooting with my fixed 35mm and I struggle with a 50mm.

9) TTP: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven't already?

A: I want to expand to shoot in a studio more and learn how to work lighting equipment better. I want to learn on my own creative freedom and just have fun with portraits.

10) TTP: Describe the photo gear, as well as (if digital) your computer hardware and software you use.

A: I have a simple setup. One 5D (best purchase I ever made), Macbook Pro, a Canon G9, 35mm 1.4, 24mm 1.4, and a 100 F2, 580 Flash(never really use it because I shoot at 1.4 a lot). I love my fixed lenses even though it can be scary sometimes on one day breaking news assignments.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Traditionally, Cottage Pie is made with minced beef, and Shepherd's Pie with minced lamb. The meat and vegetables are then topped with mashed potatoes.

I like to make Cottage Pie with lean minced steak or lean minced beef, chopped celery, carrots and onion. I'm not a fan of Shepherd's Pie. The minced lamb, even after removing all of the fat, still tastes too fatty for me.

This recipe evolved from a Cottage Pie base in the freezer. I simply cooked some new potatoes, crushed them, popped them on top of the defrosted pie base, drizzled some olive oil over the potatoes and cooked the Cottage Pie in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Some grated cheddar cheese was sprinkled over the potatoes and a few cherry tomatoes tumbled on the top. Freshly ground black pepper was then sprinkled over. Return to the oven until the base is bubbling and the cherry tomatoes start to burst their skins.

I haven't given a recipe for the Cottage Pie base as most of us have our own personal favourite. The recipe I use is one from a Mary Berry book that I have used for years!

Sarah Caron: Alliance Française-NYC

Image © Sarah Caron-All Rights Reserved

The French Institute in New York City is hosting a couple of events for Sarah Caron's work. An exhibition of her photographs, a documentary film on her by Patrick Chauvel and a panel discussion.

Sarah Caron is a French photographer, who travels the world, working both in journalism and on projects. Her assignments have taken her to Thailand, Cuba, Burma, and Mexico. In 2006, she received a Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography to complete The Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades– The Balata Sentinels, a series exploring the martyrdom culture in Palestine. Her work has been published in international publications, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and Elle.

Sarah Caron has also photographed the Indian widows in Vrindavan, titling her gallery "Les Veuves Blanches" or "The Widows In White". The gallery is of black & white photographs, and seems to have been photographed very recently. In fact, I believe I recognize a few faces amongst the widows which I photographed for my own work White Shadows.

The French Institute's events on Sarah Caron

Sarah Caron's Veuves Blanches

UPDATE: I dropped by the French Institute/Alliance Française today (February 14), and I must say that the exhibit was disappointing. Three of Sarah Caron's photographs were large enough, but the remainder of the exhibit were of photographs not much larger than 8x10 at most. The three large photographs were intelligently chosen. Since there were no captions, I'll describe the photographs as best I can. One was of was I believe is of 3 men and a woman carrying rifles and handguns...probably belonging to some sort of militia in Arizona which patrols the border between the US and Mexico. The middle one was of Pakistani mustachioed bodyguards (possibly those of Benazir Bhutto) holding Kalashnikovs, and the third is of a masked Palestinian insurgent loading a RPG unto a rifle. The juxtaposition of these three photographs was obviously done on purpose.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joakim Eskildsen: The Roma People

Image © Joakim Eskildsen -All Rights Reserved

Joakim Eskildsen is a Danish photographer who trained with the Royal Court photographer Rigmor Mydtskov. Moving to Finland, he learnt the craft of photographic book making and graduated with an MA degree in photography in 1998.

To complete "The Roma Journeys", a book which he and writer Cia Rinne recently published, they traveled in seven different countries to photograph and document the life of the Roma and their living conditions.

According to Joakim, "these Roma journeys were by no means meticulously planned, and instead the product of a number of coincidences that enabled us to come into contact with the Roma."

Joakim's photographs are wonderful...and give us an insight into the lives of the Roma, or Romani, an ethnic group widely known through folklore and literature. I started off this post by describing them as gypsies, but discovered that it's sometimes considered pejorative, based on a mistaken belief of an origin in Egypt.

The Roma have their origins in India, with genetic studies showing that they came from a small population that emerged from ancestors in India around 1000 years ago. Joakim's photographs of the Indian Roma feature the Sapera who are known to be snake charmers in Rajasthan. I came across a band of wandering Sapera when I traveled in Rajasthan, who were quite distinctive in their dress and demeanor.

I encourage you to explore his web site beyond The Roma's well worth your time.

Joakim Eskildsen's India's Roma

Monday, February 11, 2008

Like Hope, But Different

WP: Pakistan On The Brink

Here's an interesting video compilation by The Washington Post's Travis Fox on the current situation; political, religious and military in Pakistan...a country that is critical and vital to the national interests of the United States.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the upcoming elections, and our media's recent reports on the "Talibanization" of the country, make it a timely feature to watch. Particularly interesting is the chapter on the Pakistani military, and how it controls much of the country's industrial and financial infrastructure.

The Washington Post's Pakistan on the Brink

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Music & Slideshows!!!

David Schonauer, Editor of American Photo magazine, hit the jackpot with his recent post of the State of the Art blog. His post "When Music Ruins the Picture Show" is a timely diatribe of how he's had enough of slide shows accompanied by music.

He writes: "Here’s my advice to anyone who wants their photo presentations to stand out: Leave out the music and simply show your images. Let silence work for you: In the absence of Irish harps, digereedoos, and atonal chants, audiences will really gaze at your work. (Especially if you show them one image at a time and offer interesting background information.).

The funniest line (but it's true!) in the post is this: "With photojournalists it’s invariably world music—a sure sign of the international and cultural dimensions of the work."

He's absolutely right. Enough already. Less is more as they say.

David Schonauer's When Music Ruins the Picture Show

Airy Mac Book Air

Just to confirm what everyone knows or heard...the Macbook Air is spectacularly light. I dropped by Apple's West Village store yesterday, and they had Airs all over the place, The first thing everyone does is lift's really a machine of unbelievable (unbearable?) lightness. There was a crowd surrounding the table where the Airs were displayed....however I saw a couple of these people then move over to another table to order MacBook Pros. Does this observation mean anything? No.

Apart from its anorexic features, the Air seemed to me (a user of an older PowerBook) to be flimsy and delicate...but with an enormous sex appeal. I'm certain that the flimsiness is a mistaken perception and that the Air is as sturdy as any other of its siblings, but I would be really nervous packing it in a backpack and using it as a travel laptop....and yet, that's exactly the Air's niche market!

Sunday Update: Having to drop by the Apple store, I was told that the Air was sold out yesterday.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Outdoor Photography Interview

I was pleased to see that Outdoor Photography published its interview of me in its February 2008 issue. The interview was conducted by Nick Smith, and features three of my photographs. The large photograph of Buddhist novices in Sikkim is amongst my favorites.

I just returned from London, where I was interviewed again for a much lengthier feature...hopefully to be published in summer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hotel Chocolat - Valentine's Day Chocolate

My name is rather naughty, I'm called a 'Peepster Box' - 'The Love Selection'.
I come in a beautiful black box with a rope handle and bright pink label with the words Season of Love.
The wonderful people at Hotel Chocolat sent me by post, to an address in the West Midlands. Unfortunately for me, I've now been eaten up rather greedily by Mr Him and Mrs Her.

Now Mr Him and Mrs Her had a wonderful time with the chocolate love slabs, tasting them on your behalf. They started with the MILK LOVE SLAB - this has a pink cherry coloured ripple, crispy feuillentine (fo-yer-TEEN) praline textured with small pieces of crispy, oven baked pancakes (crepes dentelles), decorated with sour cherries and engraved with a chocolate heart. The pink chocolate is a softer texture than the milk chocolate. Fabulous.
Next they moved onto the MILK CHOCOLATE AND WHITE PRALINE FUSION, which is milk chocolate swirled with white chocolate hazelnut praline and this just melted in the mouth.
Now it was the turn of the DARK LOVE SLAB - how beautiful this slab of mini chocolate was. It's a thick slab of dark chocolate and tinted white chocolate swirled together with feuilletine and decorated with dried sour cherries and a dark chocolate heart. Their hearts melted when they looked at this and I think it was trying to seduce them!
CROSTINI FRUIT AND NUT - this is a milk chocolate slab with cranberries, sultanas, almonds, crostini biscuit and hazelnuts. They loved the chocolate, fruit and nut combination and definitely left the best until last.
This Love Selection is perfect for sharing and a wonderful way to introduce the love of your life to the pleasures of eating exceptional chocolate.

Now Mr Him, have you thought about what Mrs Her might like on Valentine's Day?

51st World Press Photo Awards

The international jury of the 51st annual World Press Photo Contest selected a color image by UK photographer Tim Hetherington as World Press Photo of the Year 2007. The image shows a American soldier resting at a bunker near Korengal Valley, Afghanistan.

The annual World Press Photo contest is at the core of the organization's activities. It offers an overview of how press photographers tackle their work worldwide and how the press gives us the news, bringing together pictures from all parts of the globe to reflect trends and developments in photojournalism. The contest is open to all professional press photographers. There is no entry fee.

World Press Photo Contest Results

PDN's World In Focus 2008

PDN's World In Focus is described as "The Ultimate Travel Photography Contest:, and was contest was judged in six categories: Human Condition, Extreme Exploration, Urban Landscapes, Snapshots, Wilderness and Open Series.

PDN has announced the winners in each of the categories, along with additional photographs that received Merit awards. I'm somewhat puzzled by the Snapshots category and what differentiates its entries over the rest, but it works.

Although most of the photographs submitted were well chosen and showcased travel photography at its best, I preferred Charles Meacham's work on the Sikh Nihang warriors which won in the Open Series.

I've already featured Meacham's work earlier on TTP, and I'm glad that his series was awarded this deserved recognition.

Here's is PDN's World In Focues 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

NY Times: Offering of Cleanliness

Image ©Nicole Bengiveno/NY Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times features a multimedia slideshow of photographs by Nicole Bengiveno of the cleansing ceremonies at the American Society of Buddhist Studies on Center Street in Chinatown, on occasion of Chinese New Year...the Year of the Rat.

The accompanying article by Ann Farmer has an interesting paragraph:

"One of the nuns, Sing Yeh See, 45, was born in Vietnam and worked as a nurse in California before deciding to move to New York. As a nurse, Ms. Yeh See said that encountering sickness and death made her more aware of how temporary life can be.

Two years ago, following Buddhist tradition, she had incense burned into the top of her scalp to create nine permanent bald spots. “It hurt,” she said, but added that it was an expression of her devotion."

The audio of the feature is of Buddhist chants...but they should have thought of also recording the voices of the many nuns working feverishly at the temple.

To my Chinese readers: Xin nian kuai le!

The New York Times' Offering of Cleanliness

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Evelyn Hockstein: Ethiopia

Image © Evelyn Hockstein-All Rights Reserved

I'm in the "fermenting" phase for my upcoming 2009 photo expeditions (yes, it's starts that early with me), and one of the destinations I'm interested in is Ethiopia. I've been in 2004, and provided that its political situation remains stable, it'll be shortlisted.

In such a frame of mind, I thought that featuring Evelyn Hockstein's work on Ethiopia would be appropriate, and may fuel my enthusiasm for the possibility.

Evelyn Hockstein is a photojournalist based in Nairobi, from where she covers the continent as well as other international assignments. Her award winning photography work has been published in various international publications including The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, Stern, L'Express, and U.S. News and World Report.

This is the second time that TTP features Evelyn's work. An earlier post featured her photographs of Yemen.

Here's her recent work on Ethiopia courtesy of Budget Travel's blog. I particularly like the photograph of the Ethiopian girl holding an injera cover on her head on the street in Lalibela. By the way, and at the risk of offending many Ethiopians...I found injera to be unpalatable. I was told it's an acquired taste, so I'll give it another try if Ethiopia is indeed a 2009 destination for me.

Evelyn Hockstein's Ethiopia

Nick Cobbing: Tibet

Image © Nick Cobbing-All Rights Reserved

Nick Cobbing is a photojournalist based in the UK, whose work focuses on the landscape, people’s relationship to it and to each other. His continuing association with Greenpeace International has had him sailing the seas and oceans, as part of a team that has become the keen eye of this global organization.

Cobbing’s work has been exhibited widely over the years. Amongst regular editorial users of his work are Time Magazine, Newsweek, Fortune, Figaro, all the UK press and several European daily Newspapers. He has also worked with many NGOs including WWF Worldwide, Actionaid, Christian Aid and UK Government agencies.

For TTP, I chose Cobbing's work in Tibet. His story "The Tibetans" show how China's policies of sinofication has impacted its culture and way of life. Exploiting Tibet's resources for its industrialization is a strategic and economic priority for China's government, which usually puts down manifestations of Tibetan identity with blunt force. I think that the above photograph speaks volumes as to the commercialization of Lhasa's Potala Square.

I haven't been to Tibet, but over the years I've seen how Tibetan culture and traditions are thriving in Dharamasala...may it continue to do so.

Nick Cobbing's The Tibetans

Monday, February 4, 2008

Breakfast at the Wolseley

Yes - that was me! Did you see me in there a couple of Saturday's ago?
I chose the one decent Saturday in January when the sun shone all day, to take a trip to London from the West Midlands.
Every year in late January I go to London for the day and have a mother and son day.
Our birthdays are just four days apart, in what must be one of the most miserable months of the year.
This year our plan was foodie experiences.
We started the day at The Wolseley for breakfast . Neither of us are fans of 'The English Breakfast' and so we opted for Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs and Toasted Brioche. This was beautifully presented, although as you can imagine it was quite rich. Fruit juice and then one of the Wolseley's fabulous coffees. We decided at this point that neither of us were feeling full but as the breakfast had been quite rich, that it would be sensible not to order any more food, but to stop off a little later for further sustenance!
If you click here and here you will be able to savour a little more about The Wolseley.
A few years ago, I went with my daughter and her new baby for Afternoon Tea at the Wolseley and I can highly recommend that too.
As we were in Piccadilly, we then walked along to see the revamped Fortnum & Mason.
I have been to this store a few times and have always felt in awe of this beautiful department store. We both felt sad at how clinical it felt. My son commented that there wasn't any love in the store. For me, it had lost its soul. Perhaps you would like to read this article by Guardian Unlimited on the Fortnum and Mason revamp.
The revamped sweeping staircases are breathtakingly beautiful as is the decor. I would love to revisit Fortnum & Mason again, now that I have overcome my shock at the revamp. After having had time to reflect, maybe the time had come for them to move on. Change is never easy and it just takes a little getting used to.
A sustenance break and then onto Divertimenti on the Brompton Road. We were both a little disappointed with the shop, I guess that's where sometimes you expect too much after looking at the online store. That said, where I live all of the kitchen equipment shops have disappeared and it was, therefore, a real treat looking at all the kitchen goodies.
Along the road we stopped at Patisserie Valerie to see all of the wonderful cakes that were on display in the window. Incidentally, there is also a shop more or less next to the Wolseley at Piccadilly.
We then came to Harrods (I've been a few times before). It was ridiculously busy and so we decided to move on!
Next stop was WholeFoods Market. By now we were very very weary and thought we would be able to get a decent meal here. Unfortunately, that wasn't our experience.
It was so busy, we found it difficult to get around the store to have a look at the food on the shelves. I guess next time, we would need to go first thing in the morning.
After all this, I said a fond farewell to my son and headed home, happy but worn out!
Now what shall we do for our Mum and Son day next year? Any suggestions anyone?

Sunday Times Magazine: Mirella Ricciardi

Image © Mirella Ricciardi-All Rights Reserved

This week, The Sunday Times Magazine warmed this travel photographer's heart by featuring 10 magnificent black & white photographs of Africa by Mirella Ricciardi. The feature, Untouched Africa, showcases these photographs which are part of an exhibit of Ms Ricciardi's platinum prints at the Michael Hoppen gallery in London (February 22 to April 5, 2008).

It appears that the photographs had lain in a box in a family cellar for 40 years, and have now surfaced showing tribal life uncorrupted by the 20th century. Photographs of women of the Turkana tribe in Kenya, of Masai warriors, and women of the Rendille and Boran tribes will be shown at what promises to be a spectacular exhibit.

Having no idea who was this wonderful photographer, i discovered that Mirella Ricciardi is one of the giants of African tribal photography. Forty years ago, she traveled through Kenya and Sudan to photograph some of the unspoilt tribes of Africa and returned with a unique collection of instinctive photographs that appeared in her book Vanishing Africa in 1971, which eventually became an international bestseller.

She drove around Kenya in a second hand Toyota land cruiser, and spent two years instinctively capturing the simple rhythms of life and death, the joy, ceremony and beauty of African people.

A reviewer wrote that Mirella was "fuelled by an insatiable curiosity and by a hunter's thirst for images, she traversed the length and breadth of the African continent. She has traveled on foot and in canoes, on local buses and in Landrovers, in single-engine light aircraft, in hot air balloons and on the backs of camels and elephants in search of the images and the adventures that have shaped the life and work of this unique photographer.

The BBC website also informs us "that when she was in her 60s, photographer Mirella Ricciardi was dropped by light aircraft into the Amazon jungle armed only with her camera. Despite not speaking any local languages, she was able to gain the trust of three different Amazon tribes, the Kampa, the Maruba and the Yanomami and the photographs she took of them give an intimate insight into their daily life, ceremonial preparations and family duties."

This issue of The Sunday Times is certainly a keeper!

TTP Recap

For your convenience, here's the past week's (January 28-February 3, 2008) most read posts on TTP:

Leica M8 Forever?
Kash & Shabana
1 on 1: Jenny Jozwiak

Sunday, February 3, 2008

NY Times: Samba In Brazil

Image © Lalo de Almeida/NY Times-All Rights Reserved

The New York Times brings us a slideshow of photographs by Lalo de Almeida of the preparations that go into the forthcoming carnival in Rio de Janeiro. It's a shame that there's no accompanying audio...really a shame.

The article is by Alexie Barrionuevo, and this sentence in it caught my eye: “They say Brazilians all have some samba in their feet,” Ms. Guimarães, a 23-year-old native of Minas Gerais, said. “I didn’t have much in mine. I know it has to improve, and I’m practicing hard.”. The speaker? Miss Brazil 2007 in the above photograph.

I guess I don't need to add anything to this post.

NY Times' Training for Carnival slideshow.

Yamaha POCKETRAK 2G Audio-Recorder

Yamaha has recently announced the Yamaha POCKETRAK 2G Pocket Recorder. It claims that despite its diminutive size, this audio recorder contains a large 2-gigabyte memory plus advanced digital audio technology that "lets you record and playback with outstanding quality." The audio recorder weighs only 1.7 ounces including battery, and is only a half-inch thick.

In addition to a linear PCM recording mode that allows the recording of up to 3 hours of music, there are a number of MP3 modes that Yamaha claims provide significantly longer recording times. The supplied rechargeable battery can keep the POCKETRAK 2G running for up to 9 hours continuously when recording in MP3 mode. It also has a built-in USB connector that allows a direct connection to a computer for file transfer. The CUBASE AI digital audio workstation software is bundled with the audio recorder.

The estimated price is $449, and a bit more expensive than other similar products.

Is it time to retire my Micro Track audio-recorder? Compared to the Yamaha PocketTrak, it's really clunky.

More information from the website: Synthotopia

Sunday Rant VII

It's difficult to rant in London, while the sky is so blue and the sun is shining (albeit feebly) and where everyone is outwardly stoic, civilized and "stiff-upper-lipped", but here's a short one.

When I plan my photo expeditions, I thoroughly research my itineraries and discuss them with the local agents to ensure they are feasible, interesting and exciting. The feedback from these agents is invaluable, and I insist that they give me their honest feedback and their own ideas (the more off the wall the better), since cookie-cutter itineraries are not what I get excited about.

After circulating the itinerary to people on my mailing list, and filling most -if not all- of the spaces in the expedition, I then post the photo expedition's details on my website, without the detailed itinerary. In time, I get additional expressions of interest to join the expedition and requests for the full itinerary.

The itinerary is promptly emailed to them, and then....silence. No feedback, no replies, no reactions. By the way, the cost of the expedition is made public...the only added information they need is the day to day itinerary

Now, I realize that people change their minds, may not like the itinerary, they may find it too strenuous, they may find it too easy...a myriad of very valid reasons....that is not the issue. The issue is that these people seem to think that it's appropriate to email me a request for an itinerary, claiming to be a "world pilgrim", a "seasoned traveler", a "keen student of Asia"...and so on, but don't seem to understand that they should -out of civility- advise me that they are no longer interested. No, this behavior is both inappropriate and rude.

Is it an "itinerary grab"? Possibly...but why not grab the itinerary and email me saying that they changed their minds. Even if they're thieves they can be polite and courteous....that may even keep them in my good books. Heck, I might even send them future itineraries. Incidentally, if it's an itinerary 'grab'...good luck on getting the same price from the travel agents.

Quoting George Bush: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Independent: Travel Photography

Image Copyright © Kal Khogali -All Rights Reserved

I usually read The Independent while in London, and it published today the results of a competition for the best travel photographs of 2007, as chosen jointly by Wanderlust magazine and The Independent.

The photographs appear in the Independent's Traveller supplement, printed on a newspaperish non-glossy paper, which doesn't help to enhance the quality of the winning submissions. Nevertheless, these are fine examples of travel photography which include Zoltan Balogh's powerful image of the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Helen Pugh-Cook's picture from the Yushu Horse Festival in eastern Tibet, Don Jacklin's photograph at the town of Shigatse, Howard Angus' monochrome photograph of Makarora, but my clear favorite was Kal Khogali's winning picture from Yangshuo in China (above).

Unfortunately, The Independent online prefers small images and elementary slideshows despite a recent make-over of its website, so the photographs are not as impressive as on the newsprint supplement. Why can't they buy a copy of Soundslides or a similar product?

The Independent's Winning Visions

A Leica M8 forever?

Gizmodo reports that Leica is offering substantial upgrades to the M8's mechanical and digital components, ensuring a gradual and progressive evolution which would allow it to adopt technological innovations as they occur. This approach is instead of introducing subsequent new models every few years.

It's not cheap by any means...with the first package consisting of a non-scratch sapphire LCD screen and an improved shutter, at a cost of around $1,800.

This can be a brilliant move or a bad one, depending on a lot of factors. The price of the upgrades and the length of time to install the upgrades are two of the more obvious downsides, and having a fountain-of-youth Leica is the upside. It'll be a matter of debate amongst Leica aficionados for a while.

Gizmodo's Leica For Life

New York Times: Cairo

Image Copyright © Shawn Baldwin/NY Times -All Rights Reserved

I haven't visited Cairo for more than 4-5 days since 1988, so I'm always interested to see recent photographs of its neighborhoods. Cultural, political, societal and economic upheavals have reshaped the character of this ancient city from a hub of Mediterranean influences to an amalgam of Islamic traditions and Arab culture mixed in with a hefty dose of Americanisms. Neighborhoods with Greek, Italian, French and British characteristics have now been "Egyptianized", with new gated communities springing up looking more like those of Scottsdale, Arizona than anything else.

As recently as 1988, few women in the posh neighborhoods of Cairo wore veils but now, it's the norm rather than the exception. One thing hasn't changed though: the photograph of a man riding a bicycle navigating Cairo's traffic with a ladder-sized tray of baladi bread balanced on his head, is a scene that will last forever. What if he falls or drops a few loaves of bread you ask? Ah, well...he puts them back on the tray and continues his delivery as if nothing happened.

The slideshow of photographs by Shawn Baldwin is worthwhile seeing to appreciate the "older" Cairo...the Cairo I recall. For instance, one of the photographs is of the famed El-Feshawi cafe where I had my very first (and probably the last) sheesha or water-pipe.

The NY Times' Weekend In Cairo

The accompanying article.

Friday, February 1, 2008

1 on 1: Jenny Jozwiak

(Images Copyright © Jenny Jozwiak-All Rights Reserved)

The Travel Photographer blog will occasionally post interviews with both travel and editorial working photographers. This interview is with Jenny Jozwiak, a freelance award-winning travel and culture photographer, whose work in photojournalism and spontaneous portraiture has taken her to 37 countries, where she has shown a unique gift for capturing the intimate lives of people and their environment. She is also the organizer and curator for the photo documentary contest and exhibition "Diversity of Devotion: Celebrating New York's Spiritual Harmony".

1) TTP: When did you decide to become a photographer? Who or what influenced your decision?

When I was 18 years old I came to New York to pursue acting -- but wisely gave that up a few years later. I had learned dark room techniques from a New York fashion photographer in San Diego after I graduated from high school and decided to buy a Minolta X700 and take some classes at City College. My teacher and mentor, Professor Bruce Habegger decided I had talent after seeing my first assignment and encouraged me from then on. He exposed me to the greats: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Diane Arbus, Eugene Smith, to name a few. I also love the work of Sally Mann, Phil Borges and Mary Ellen Mark. Their wonderful black and white images, perfect composition and intense personal point of view, changed they way I looked at photography and the world.

2) TTP: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?

Other than that one class at City College and a weekend workshop at ICP with Eugene Richards -- I sort of learned as I went.

3) TTP : if you had the choice, where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the world and why?

Well, one of my favorite places in general is Ireland. I have a strange attraction to the history, the people, the landscape and the "vibe" there. I could also imagine myself living in Southeast Asia -- possibly Indonesia or Thailand or Vietnam. I am very attracted to Buddhist countries.

4) TTP: Describe your own favorite image, and describe how you went about creating it.

One of my top favorite images is entitled "Boys with Bicycle". For me it represents the perfect "decisive moment' shot. I was meandering through the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal when I saw this lovely doorway and blue bike leaning against the wall. As I framed the simple shot, the little door inside the big door opened up - and there stood these 4 beautiful young boys --who were smiling at me! It was perfect. I spent the next year of my travels hoping that image had come out because I would not trust any local labs to develop the film.

5) TTP: Describe a day in your professional life.

When I am traveling, I pretty much go where I want and shoot what I want as I am not an assignment photographer (though I would consider doing that!). I go for many months and photograph my experiences and encounters. More recently, I have become interested in curating. In 2006, I developed and curated a photo-documentary project and competition in New York entitled "Diversity of Devotion" which is currently being exhibited in the Brooklyn Public Library gallery. I was recently offered a commission to shoot a similar theme for the Queens Museum of Art. These projects have been taking up most of my time for the past year. I hope to get on a plane again very soon!

6) TTP: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!

I have definitely had some adventures as I travel the world, however, one of the most special encounters I had was in Calcutta. I was staying with Indian royalty, (the grandson of the princess of Jaipur and his family). They had their driver take me to the Sisters Of Mercy Mission. I brought a lotus flower and some rupees to donate. At 5:00pm, barefoot and complaining of an eye infection, Mother Teresa came out to greet us. It was the day after her 84th birthday. I had brought my FM2 Nikon, loaded with Tri-X and only one shot left. (What was I thinking???) She came up to me and I gave her the flower and offered her some rupees while apologizing for not bringing more. She then grabbed me by the wrist, (she had some grip) and looked into my eyes and with her Albanian accent said , "The amount you give does not matter -- what matters, is how much love you give it with -- and I can see you give with a lot of love". Right then, I thought I would cry. I was actually quite surprised by my own reaction being that I was raised Jewish and for many reasons, felt very distant from the Catholic faith. But this amazing power emitted from her. She then put her hand on my head and blessed me! I was nervous and shaking, but I weakly asked if I could take her picture with my final frame. I found out much later that she almost never allows photos during the mission visits.

7) TTP: What types of assignments are you most attracted to?

My "assignments" are self-determined so far. I love the unknown and unexpected which travel presents in large doses. I am attracted to the unique, bizarre, mysterious and untouched. If I had my way, I would be given an assignment where I could visit a country and simple shoot it as I see it and have that work published as is!

8) TTP: How would you describe your photographic style?

For many years I only used a 50mm lens, a totally manual camera (Nikon FM2) and B&W film. I believed that helped me a great deal with full frame composition, lighting, and texture -- not relying on the seduction of color to carry me through. When I made the transition to color slide film, my B&W experience and techniques came into play automatically. I almost shoot color like I was shooting black and white film.

Some people have compared my work to Steve McCurry's! I aim for the perfect full frame composition and I do love vibrant colors. When shooting people I want to get close and personal with them and draw out the love, humor, and connectedness between us. That is what I enjoy most -- the connection with another person from a totally different country, background, race or religion. When I take that picture, I feel as though I am meeting them in a place where in that moment, disparity disappears, and is only recognized through the camera lens.

I must admit I held out as long as I could in buying the digital camera. It does have it's learning curve and advantages. I do love film and will continue to shoot with it for some situations such as double exposures.

9) TTP: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven't already?

I would have to say I have not photographed the hardcore stuff yet -- war, famine, death. When I began photography, I had really wanted to be a war photographer, and bring to light the terrible things that occur in the world using my camera. But time passed and that did not happen. I deeply admire the work of James Nachtwey -- he is a hero of mine. But the way it worked out, I ended up shooting the opposite. There are so many places I have not yet been and I hope to travel to them all someday: Mongolia, China, Japan, South America. Another one of my dreams is to work with and photograph the great apes in Africa and Indonesia.

10) TTP: Describe the photo gear, as well as (if digital) your computer hardware and software you use.

My equipment is pretty basic. When I shoot film I use Fuji Velvia slide film 50 or 100 ASA, known to be saturated, and fine grained. I still have my 2 old Nikon FM2's cameras, and the lenses: 105, 28, 50 and 200. I also use Photoshop CS3 and the Nikon Coolscan 5 slide scanner. I just sold my Canon XTI Rebel which was an awesome camera and recently purchased a Nikon D80 with a 18mm - 135mm lens.