The India Magazine

Our India magazine is now available through our online store (you can nab a copy here) and will be with stockists in the next few days (UK) and weeks (rest of the world we’re afraid).

In the mean time, here is a sneak peak of the new issue, featuring the Editor’s Letter from Liz and the images of a few of our contributors. Embrace the wanderlust!

Creating these magazines is joyous, a chance to see the world in extraordinary detail and share the work of contributors driven by awe, curiosity and a need to create. The process is both inspiring and unpredictable, with each issue taking on a life of its own, but I can’t think of any as delightfully eccentric or lively as India.

Or as demanding for that matter – for how do you capture a country this diverse? I considered producing two magazines – North and South – or focusing on a single state, yet ultimately decided not to meddle with the Lodestars’ status quo. We would, as always, offer vignettes, snapshots of India’s attractions, culture and communities, its myriad of ever-shifting personalities. For even if our focus had been narrowed, you simply can’t do India’s immensity justice.

Understandably, selecting this issue’s featured locations proved challenging. Our best hope was to offer a geographical spread, a window into worlds which, whilst they might seem remote, are still kith and kin to Mother India. But I also made some personal choices. For me it was vital that Darjeeling be featured. The gateway to the Himalayas, this is an India far removed from the sun-baked Rajasthan I’d explored – a place where great snows fall and time seems to slow. My grandfather, Alan, spent his childhood in Darjeeling, on Nagri Farm, a working tea plantation to this day, where he remained until Partition, a time of heartbreak and violence seared into his memory yet rarely discussed. You can only imagine the horror and pain this period caused for Indians. Alan had grown up looking at the mountains, too young to be aware of the political and social ramifications of his family’s presence, yet absolutely alive to the magnificence of the world around him.

I wasn’t sure how appropriate it was to share this story, especially when on the ground, but what’s surprising about India is how open everyone is when it comes to discussing history and how willing people are to share their stories and listen to those of others.

This country is generous to travellers. It is bewitching, tumultuous, electrifying, maddening and addictive. You will adore or despair of it, whatever emotion it draws out guaranteed to be extreme. Travelling here you nd that life’s nuances, its highs and lows, are on full display. There will be moments when it all feels too much, when your mind yearns for calm, but then you’ll see something that takes your breath away. India will sweep you up, envelop you, and leave you enraptured. Then you depart and all those experiences seem like a distant dream, so at odds with the ordinariness of your everyday. People ask me what I thought of India and I have to take a moment to remind myself I was even there. And then it all comes flooding back.

Alive as it is, this issue is slightly different. We’ve published something particularly photo-heavy; a magazine that will take you on a journey you feel rather than understand – one I hope allows you to respond to its pages the way you would to scenes on the ground. You’ll find within images of Holi in Varanasi, a lesser-known Goa, reclaimed fortresses, architectural marvels, beaches by the Arabian Sea, cosmopolitan madness, rural artisans, temple-dotted mountains and wilderness.

I feel even now, trying to describe a magazine that describes an impossible country, I’m failing somewhat, because India is beyond words. It is changing, harrowing, rousing, radiant and unparalleled. It is all things at once – constantly, unendingly – and more than I could ever say.

 

Songlines of the Here + Now

Words & Photographs by Tanya Houghton

Songlines; ancient Aboriginal maps passed on through song, story or dance. When sung, they describe landmarks along a journey, enabling the user to navigate their way across vast distances of the Australian landscape. In doing so, they keep the sacred land alive.

I have always been in awe of the vast range of ancient landscapes within Australia and the comparisons between stories of the past and the present, the indigenous and the modern and the connections formed to those landscapes. It was upon learning about Aboriginal Songlines that the idea to take on a project going walkabout alone across the Australian landscape was affirmed.

Over the course of the summer, I set off to explore the deep-rooted connections of Australians’ to the landscape they call home. Weaving my way across the country, I spent five weeks working out of a make shift studio in the back of my car and spent my nights camping in a tent, in the country’s national parks.

Covering a total of 10,500 km, I collected scattered stories and imprinted memories strewn over the landscape. I gained a deeper understanding of the Country’s past and of the Aboriginals’ deep-rooted connection to the land that has been their home for thousands of years. What emerged were two conflicting devotions to the Landscape. That of the Aboriginals’ sacred connection and that of the newer generations commercialisation of space through modern land tourism. Despite the tenuous past of the nation, there is a shared love of the land, both past and present.

Giving no weight to any one persons, physical representations of individuals I encountered were removed. The stories that were shared are represented through the landscape in which they were created. The resulting body of work is a collection of landscapes and still-lifes, stories and natural interventions that explore human experience through listening to the language of the Australian landscape.

Songlines of the Here+Now, will be exhibited at The Argentea Gallery in Birmingham 13th September – 27th October 2018. To learn more about Tanya’s work, click here

Another Place, The Lake

Words & Photographs by Renae Smith

Around 20 minutes after leaving the train station I felt our taxi turn down a long driveway. My husband and I were in the heart of the Lake District and my eyes were instantly drawn to the blue waters of Ullswater – until we came to a complete stop in front of the doors to Another Place, The Lake.

With a few guests to check in before us we took a seat, admiring the central part of the original Georgian house. We’d passed by a collection of wellington boots by the entrance, ranging in size and shades of mud, and I spotted a bundle of wood in the corner of the library room, hinting at the presence of a fireplace, and a restaurant off to the right. As couples, a young family and dogs filtered through, it felt less like the reception area of a hotel and more like a large family house full of warmth and charm.

A smiling face caught my eye from behind the reception desk and as we were shown to our room in the hotel’s new extension, passing the Living Space and a casual restaurant/bar area and terrace, followed by the pool, sauna and treatment rooms. With the team from the Watergate Bay Hotel behind its creation, there are significant similarities in design and overall feel throughout – however, its place amongst the vast national parkland on the second largest lake in England ensures Another Place, The Lake stands on its own.

I lingered by the entrance to the indoor pool, struck by the view through the wall to ceiling windows. With a complete rundown of the hotel facilities and outdoor activities – from canoeing and paddle boarding, to tramping along the area’s many trails – I could foresee the challenge of indecision about what to do beyond the itinerary we had already booked in. Why do holidays never come with quite enough time?!

Our room was light and welcoming, with a view out over the lake and on to the snow-capped mountains in the distance (it had been an unseasonably long winter). I opened the balcony door and welcomed the crisp air into my lungs, the weight of the city now far behind me.

The next morning, the cloud that had rolled in over the lake in the early hours having long since burnt off, we went for breakfast at the Rampsbeck Restaurant, and it felt like the sun and the blue skies were competing for brightness.

As my husband had a paddle boarding lesson arranged, I opted for indulgence and made my way towards the treatment rooms for a pedicure. Although, having passed the Library with the sun streaming in, the thought of grabbing a book and curling up on one of the couches in front of the fire for the day certainly appealed.

With my feet thoroughly pampered I was tempted to give in to my relaxed state and head back to the room as I still had some time before my husband was to return, but then I remembered the three-course dinner we had planned that evening, so instead grabbed a map and selected a hiking trail. The map had a great selection of walks ranging in length and difficulty, but with limited time I decided on a short amble, saving a longer trek for the both of us to do the next day.

On my walk back to the hotel I spotted my husband’s paddle boarding group out on the water and decided to watch them come in from the terrace while I enjoyed something to eat from the Living Space menu. I felt deliciously calm and thought about when we would return; it was easy to imagine spending many types of holidays here throughout the year, each of the season’s offering up a different backdrop and range of adventrues.

Whatever the reason for making a trip to Another Place, The Lakes, you are assured of a view that will overtake the desire to curl back under the covers, no matter the weather.

Captured Contrasts

Japan - Tom Bunning Photography Limited

Layered in meaning and as diverse as they come, attempts to photograph Japan can lead to quite an adventure.

Photographs by Tom Bunning; Words as told to Jen Harrison Bunning

Being a photographer can give you access to things that most people could only dream of seeing. It can be a key to a world of possibilities, a passport behind the scenes of other people’s lives or a ticket to secret spaces. However (with apologies to any budding image-makers certain that every day is a veritable dream), after ten years on the job, it can be dull: there are studio shoots where the day passes without a whiff of sunlight; tellings off from benighted bookkeepers when you fail to produce a crucial receipt; and hours spent in airports praying your kit clears customs. But then there are days when you get a phone call that makes your heart sing, and in this case it went like this: “Tom, how’s the first week of October looking? … Good, you’re off to Japan.”

There are a number of my esteemed fellow photographers who, as soon as they know they’re off somewhere new, jump online and begin to research: where they’re going, what kit they should pack, which perfect shot they’ll seek. Not me. I know I should be doing these things but there’s something wonderfully freeing about foregoing research, over-packing and being carried along on a wave of juvenile excitement, hoping my instincts, eyes and camera will deliver the goods. And this system hasn’t failed me yet. I never come home disappointed that I didn’t get that ‘perfect shot’.

Instead, I return with a treasure trove of images and associated memories of human stories and wild places. But Japan? From what I’d happened to soak up from books and films, I was diving in to a world of blazing neon, dangerous culinary delicacies, vast swathes of protected parkland and complicated social etiquette. Was my usual blasé attitude going to work in this most respectful and mannered of countries? We would have to see.

Tom Bunning, Tokyo

First stop: Tokyo. From touch-down it was a short, wide-eyed transfer from Haneda Airport to Palace Hotel Tokyo where, after a quick freshen-up in the luxurious Evian Spa, I was off on a crash course in the art and architecture of Aoyama, courtesy of the hotel. With the wild child fashion district of Harajuku to its west and Chiyoda with its stately brick station and imposing Imperial Palace to its north, it would be easy to forgive Aoyama an identity crisis – but there’s no need, for it has a brilliantly bonkers inner life all of its own. Here, huge brushed-concrete walls nestle against towers of twisted glass and locals take matcha tea and Taiwanese pineapple cake in the playful wooden lattice structure of the SunnyHills cake shop. Prada, Mui Mui and similarly high-end brands vie for first place in the ‘Most Impressive Architecture of a Retail Store’ competition (designed by the likes of Herzog & De Meuron and Gehry, no less), whilst the Nezu Museum (by the architect of the 2020 Olympic Stadium, Kengo Kuma) sits serenely behind its bamboo grove cloisters.

Despite its tranquil corners, there is an overriding sense of impermanence and newness in Aoyama which, as our guide Professor Matsuda explained, is partly due to earthquake fears as buildings are constantly torn down and rebuilt to the latest quake-proof technology, but also to the nation’s long-term obsession with the new, the disposable and the consumable. It’s a fascinating area and I could have spent hours there but Japanese trains wait for no man (and especially for no man slowed down by an abundance of camera bags), so it was all aboard the great green dragon of a bullet train for a silent and speedy 700 kilometre journey north to Aomori and on to Towada-Hachimantai National Park.

Tom Bunning, 320kph, Japan
Tom Bunning, 320kph, Japan

Some places in the world make you feel like you’re the first person to ever stand there. Even if you’re with a guide and gaggle of fellow travellers, everything is turned down a notch and all you know is what’s directly in front of you. If you visit Towada-Hachimantai National Park on a rainy October day, this is what might happen: your eyes may feast upon the towers of light casting through the clouds, the lush green wall of conifers, the mist hanging on the horizon. Your ears may delight in the silence, punctuated only by the creaking of branches and the odd birdsong. You may look out over the lake and feel a deep sense of freedom. But if you do visit and you don’t experience any of this then don’t despair, as you’ll still be treated to a spectacular view.

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From the ever-changing urban landscape of Tokyo in the south to the ancient arboreal backdrops of the north, next I was off to a city that had no choice but to start again. Despite my lack of planning, the one place I had intended to photograph was Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, a city that thrived on commercial fishing before it was devastated by the 2011 tsunami. I’d read about the effects of the disaster at the time; the dead, the missing, the school children and teachers swept away on the bridge, the port and buildings swallowed up by the water. I’d planned to shoot the wasteland, the reconstruction, the decimated waterfront, to take portraits of the people I met and to tell their stories. But when it came to it I couldn’t hide behind my lens. I felt I had to be entirely present, to listen and keep what I witnessed in my mind’s eye and not commit it to memory cards and print. I can’t tell you exactly why I felt like that. Perhaps it was the only way I knew how to honour Japanese culture’s acceptance of impermanence and insubstantiality, of mono no aware. Perhaps I’ll go back someday and it will feel right to capture it then, perhaps not.

Luckily, I did manage to photograph a little more of Japan than Tokyo and Towada. I rode the Gonō Line along the shore of the Sea of Japan with the Shirakami mountain range looming overhead.

I saw leaves fired up by golden light in Ginzan Onsen and followed in the 1,000 or so steps of one of Japan’s most famous poets, Matsuo Bashō, up a winding mountain path to Yamadera (mountain temple) perched high in its craggy nest. It’s a long and arduous climb but when I reached the top I was able to catch my breath in Godaido Hall, an observation deck dating back to the 1700s that juts out from the mountain.

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Here, as the sun set, I was rewarded with a view of rolling pastel hills and golden cedar trees. If I was poetically inclined I might have recited Bashō’s famous haiku penned here in 1689,

“the stillness / penetrating the rock / a cicada’s cry”

– words that felt pretty spot on, even for a non-poetic type.

On my way home, back on urban turf for the night in Sendai ‘City of Trees’, I began backing up my images and gazed out of a high hotel window. With the twinkling towers of the city growing out of the concrete-covered earth in front, and my photos of mist-shrouded woodland and ancient temples on the screen behind, Japan’s new and old – its man-made glass towers and natural wonders, its thriving capital and tsunami-devastated coast – seemed at once intrinsically linked and yet miles apart. This wouldn’t do. I would have to make a plan to come back, and go deeper.

Purobeach Barcelona

Words by Vivienne Day

In a city known for its good weather, good food and laid-back lifestyle, you might come to Barcelona seeking a break but you will leave invigorated and energised. Long days wandering down picturesque streets, late nights sampling tapas and cava (the local wine) and dancing ‘til the sun comes up: the city’s vibrancy draws you in and the whole place really comes alive after dark. Be ready to adopt a more Spanish schedule to get the most out of your visit. Start later and spend your days strolling around the city, soaking up the magnificent Gaudí architecture and stopping regularly at cafes to unwind with a coffee and observe daily life. Locals eat late so head out for dinner after 9 or 10 and then – if you fancy – check out one of the city’s lively nightclubs after midnight.

But when you’re looking for a real break from the buzz of Barca, make for the waterfront Hilton Hotel in the city’s newer eastern district. Inside, the hotel’s glamorous new Purobeach Barcelona offers you endless hours day of lazing by the pool and pure indulgence in a quieter part of town. Book a luxurious sun bed by the pool, lie back and you really don’t have to move for the rest of day. Staff will tend to your every need, bringing whatever you desire to sip or nibble to your day bed. Between glasses of Moet and plates of salad and sashimi you can sit back and watch the glamorous crowds. If you feel like a more substantial meal then wander over to the adjoining restaurant where I tucked into fresh fish, giant salads and piping hot patatas bravas. When you’ve had enough of lounging and eating, pop into the pool for a dip. Or indulge in the ultimate Barcelonan ritual: the siesta. After a day here, you’ll be relaxed, recharged and ready to head back into the crowds and addictive energy of Barcelona.

 

Que Sera Sera

Shedding a little light on what our contributors get up to outside the magazine. 

Que  Sera  Sera  documents  a  year  long  FA  Cup  campaign  across  England  with  full  access  to  the  stadiums  throughout  the  competition,  providing  a  looking  glass  in  which  to  view  the  modern  game  beyond  the  glitz  and  glamour.  The  series  is  now  being  turned  into  a  photo-book  with  a  kickstarter  campaign  in  collaboration  with  renowned  documentary  publishers  Bluecoat  Press.  It’s  currently  live  with  only  a  days  to  go  to  make  it  a  reality    kickstarter.com/projects/queserasera/que-sera-sera/

The  FA  Cup  is  one  of  Britain’s  greatest  sporting  institutions. With  a  history  stretching  back  to  1871,  it  is  the  oldest  football  competition  in  the  world  and  still  possesses  huge  cachet  for  players  and  supporters  alike. Photographers  Joseph  Fox  and  Orlando  Gili  saw  the  FA  Cup  as  an  opportunity  to  reverse  the  camera  and  capture  fan  culture  from  the  top  teams  down  to  the  grassroots,  taking  you  on  a  footballing  right  of  passage from  the  perspective  of  the  fans.

Que  Sera  Sera  tracks  the  campaign  beginning  in  mid  August  during  the  extra  preliminary  rounds,  a  few  miles  down  the  road  from  Wembley  stadium.  Following  each  winner  into  the  next  round,  the  two  photographers  travelled  a  combined  total  of  more  than  3,000  miles  over  10  months,  taking  in  13  rounds  and  15  games  (including  two  replays), returning  full  circle  back  to  Wembley  for  the  final. Uniting  every  fan  across the  country  during  each  round  you  can  hear  a  hopeful  yet  resigned  chant  reverberating  around  the  terraces  ‘Que  sera,  sera,  whatever  will  be,  will  be,  the  future’s  not  ours  to  see.’

The  series  of  images  build  up  to  provide  an  anthropological  look  into  Britain’s  obsession  with  football, at  every  level  of  the  game. It  questions  whether  the  country’s  preeminent  domestic  cup  competition  still  retains  it’s  magic,  in  the  light  of  competition  from  top  flight  football  leagues  and  the  European  cup competitions.

France Unseen

Within these pages you will find all things archetypically French, from snow-covered chalets, mighty châteaux and fromage, to every variety of wine a connoisseur could desire. But you’ll also encounter the unexpected – food- inspired jaunts through the Pyrénées-Orientales, journeys across the Alps in the footsteps of literary giants and a coastal road trip that pays homage to the elegance of yesteryear. This is a country of jasmine harvests, market splendour, Parisian decadence, fairy tale islands and adventure; a place to chase light and history and appreciate the marvels of terroir and creative daring. Full of the singular, serendipitous and spectacular, France, je t’aime.

Every issue our talented-beyond-words contributors share with us the most outstanding work. However, being limited by pages we simply can’t print it all. So, we wanted to share with you just a few of the spectacular French images we didn’t have space for – these come from Sarah Arnould, Arturo Bamboo, Tom Bunning, Mary Gaudin, Jim Johnston, Georgina Skinner, Renae Smith, Beth Squire and Angela Terrell.

To buy a copy of our France magazine (or invest in a few back issues) click here.

 

The Old Clare Hotel

Sydney has changed since I left for London seven years ago. It’s still an utterly glorious harbour-side oasis adored for its coffee and cafes, and it still has beaches I yearn for on cold English mornings. But it has become noticeably cooler in my absence. The galleries that were little more than tiny, unknown establishments in my early 20s have flourished and spread, architects are taking greater risks, food is increasingly daring and festivals of light and creativity seem to be on everybody’s minds. This may be the distance speaking, but I love what Sydney has become.

 

This change is most noticeable when booking into the city’s hotels – and Chippendale’s The Old Clare Hotel in particular. Constructed from two heritage-listed buildings (the original Clare Hotel pub and the Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building), this 62 room property, part of the Design Hotels collection, is the warm, light-filled definition of industrial chic. A place that honours its history, embraces Australiana and makes leaving its welcoming, elegant interior very difficult indeed

 

 

Within the hotel’s walls natural tones abound, with each room (all subtly different in design) boasting high ceilings and massive windows. There’s polished wood, exposed brick, marble tiling and gleaming concrete, with glass used in communal areas to invite the outside world in and draw attention to the bones of the original buildings – metal external stairwells transformed into pieces of art and brick walls mirroring the streets beyond. There are pendant lights and vintage furnishings (the dentist chair by reception sets to tone immediately), all of which nod the Chippendale’s industrial past. Colour is added with the use of soft furnishings, which include cushions inspired by Australia’s wildlife and wildflowers and throws you long to secret away. 

 

 

Once a lesser-known haunt coveted by locals and uni students (music posters from its earlier incarnation have survived, which look rather glorious beside the brilliantly retro central bar), the revamped Clare Bar is open to all, with many of the cocktails made from spirits produced by the local distilleries popping up across the city. A rooftop pool beckons on warmer days – the chaos of the city seeming particularly far away – while the attached Kensington Street Social restaurant is the ideal breakfast haunt. Those unwilling to leave the lushness of their rooms are able to sample the fare as part of the in-room dining service. The hotel is also right beside Spice Alley, perfect if you have a hankering for something Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese … I could go on. This is Sydney street food and accommodation done right. Here’s hoping my hometown continues to thrive.

 

theoldclarehotel.com.au

 

São Tomé e Príncipe

Words & Images by Miguel Neves

The sense of stillness is palpable, the scene before me otherworldly. In the archipelago of São Tomé e Príncipe the world is put on hold and time has no need to move forwards; the only real motion is the swaying of the banana trees and the Atlantic Ocean’s gentle waves that roll upon seemingly empty beaches.

This feeling of timelessness – of a land forgotten – is also present in the island’s colonial architecture. The tropical rainfalls of October to May leave their mark on São Tomé e Príncipe. They blemish the facades of the old Portuguese era buildings, leaving room for mould and vegetation to form between their cracks and tiles, blending the work of man and nature. 

Perhaps the residents of São Tomé describe this sensation best with the islands’ motto of ‘leve, leve’, which translates to ‘lightly, lightly’. This seems to capture the idea that life here should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and that one should not trouble themselves with mundane problems that really do have no place among these parts.

It’s in this communion between man, nature and time that sets São Tomé e Príncipe apart and allows this place to consume you. You can get lost in thought here, free from worry, totally absorbed in a collage of green. You breath, hike up mountains, wander through villages and float in turquoise water, free from time’s constraints.  

Miguel Neves is a travel photographer and videographer from Lisbon, Portugal who imbues his landscapes and portraits with genuine emotion, hoping to not only tell stories but shed light on the deeper connections that bind us to the world and to others.

Follow his work on Instagram @thedeserts and Tumblr

 

Paramount House Hotel

Retuning to Sydney on my annual pilgrimage south there are certain things I need to do. Have a scoop of mint chock chip at Messina, indulge in a burger or two at Harpoon Harry, swim in the sea at Camp Cove, wander the Wendy Whitely Gardens, bask in all things Australia at the Unicorn and, because being a bit of a cliché is fun sometimes, be on Bondi for at least one sunrise.

On my most recent journey back to The Great Southern Land however I found a glorious new activity to indulge in – swapping the spare-bedroom-meets-storage-room I normally claim in my childhood home for a Loft room at the newly opened and utterly gorgeous Paramount House Hotel. This brick and copper-adored structure, in ever-trendy Surry Hills and just a short amble from the transport hub that is Central Station, is a destination in it’s own right. Across the road sit Longrain and Chin Chin, restaurants any gourmand would swear by, and within the building you’ll find Golden Age Cinema and Bar (the ideal date location for lovers of all things a little bit retro), long-adored breakfast haunt Paramount Coffee and co-working hub The Office Space

 

Having once been the offices and warehouses of Paramount Picture Studios, the 29 room hotel, which took four years to fully restore, feels like it comes with creative history. The interiors are warm, almost earthy – there are plants throughout and natural tones and textures abound. You’ll find polished concrete, exposed brick, floor to ceiling windows (in the Loft room at least), rich furnishings, a lift with the best wallpaper in town, French linens you long to secret away and a Japanese style bath made for soaking. The artwork has been curated by the nearby China Heights Gallery, while check in within the lofty lobby comes with a welcome drink – I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the the sour beery from Marrickville brewery Wildflower – and plenty of indie reading material. 

Paramount House Hotel is the work of Melbourne-based Breathe Architecture and you can really sense the love and attention that has gone into making it something distinctive – an industrial-chic hideaway you don’t want to leave. And you don’t have to. Check in, admire the set up, catch a film downstairs, listen to the sounds of Surrey Hills, raid the cheese and wine in the mini bar and bask in the brilliance of one of Sydney’s newest additions.  

Rooms from $240 
paramounthousehotel.com

Photos by Sharyn Cairns & Tom Ross