Archive for June, 2015

Tearsheet – Le Monde Magazine

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

 

My agency, Panos Pictures just sent through a recent tearsheet from the magazine of Le Monde – M that featured five stock images of mine on a piece about the Cafe Riche in Cairo. Sadly however, I just learned that the café is currently closed – perhaps permanently – because the manager and co-owner Magdy Abdel-Malak passed away on 2 May.

I made my original story – about the Cairo Ahwas a couple of years ago (the original tearsheet from the German Effilee Magazine is here) writing about the changing political significance of these cafés during the recent uprisings.

Always nice to have something like this re-used, especially in the context of somewhere as historically significant as the Riche – but that is tempered by the uncertainty of its future.

 

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Nek Chand and the secret statues of Chandigarh

Friday, June 12th, 2015

In 1996 I was assigned by the Independent on Sunday Magazine to photograph and write a story about Chandigarh, a city in India’s Punjab that had been entirely designed and planned along Modernist lines by the architect and planner, Le Corbusier. I first wrote about that assignment on this blog in 2010 – see here.

During that assignment, my driver recommended that I go and visit a rather dubious sounding rock garden that had been created. Bored and irritable under the blazing sun I turned up asking for a chap called Nick – responsible for what I believed was a inconvenience between me and my hotel room. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nek Chand, the charming elderly man that met me had, in his spare time – in secret – over the last two decades, built the most extraordinary statue kingdom out of waste materials. By the time the authorities had discovered it, it had grown into a 13-acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals. It was extraordinary. The garden had been embroiled in a fantastic tale of urban corruption, vandalism and official obfuscation but like all good Indian fables, right had triumphed and the forces of destruction had been defeated. The garden would become one of the most iconic sights in that city and Chandigarh would become proud of its amateur artist and his bizarre dream. This morning I learned that Nek Chand, one of the world’s dreamers had passed away at the grand old age of 90. What a sad loss.

 

India - Chandigarh - Nek Chand in his Rock Garden.

India – Chandigarh – Nek Chand in his Rock Garden.

 

Tearsheet – UnCommon London

Monday, June 1st, 2015

 

I’m delighted that my writing about London’s eel and pie tradition is included in the new UnCommon London book.

UnCommon is a compendium of guide and travel writing “and is more of a ‘companion’ for the traveller before, during and after the journey.” UnCommon London joins editions on Malta, Stockholm and Dubai.

Commissioned by my old friend Mike Fordham, my words are illustrated by May Van Millingen.

Here are a couple of pages to give you an idea…

 

 

 

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