I have a lovely spread in the very first edition of this month’s Geo Extra (France) of my work on Kyudo in Japan. Focusing on the connection to Zen and the art of archery it is one of my favourite stories.
I’m delighted that one of my images is featured in a new travel magazine called Renegade. It’s small, beautiful and full of interesting stuff. Here’s my double page – an image The Tree of Life in Iraq.
Here is a recent tearsheet from the wonderful Effilee Magazine for whom I wrote and photographed a really unusual piece about the Ahwas (coffeehouses) of Cairo. I wanted to write about the situation in Egypt without watching people fighting and using the prism of the Ahwas allowed me to examine protest and the way that the Revolution has evolved through them. The piece is an historical look at the heritage of the coffee houses and their resurgence after years of political repression. Under Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak, dissent and free thought were controlled. Networks of informers and secret policemen used cafes as an access point to the Arab Street. Novelists and poets like Naguib Mafouz still patronised them but had to write and speak in metaphor. Despite this coffeehouses had and continue to hold a significant rôle in Arab (and specifically) Egyptian literature and culture.
The Revolution of 2011 was sparked at least in part by the killing of a young man by the security forces outside an Ahwa that was used as an internet cafe. The cafes have become political again and, in this work, I’ve tried to explore the downtown splendour of the Art Nouveau, Cafe Riche that is home to a new generation of political activists, the street cafes of the Bourse (Cairo’s Left Bank during the Revolution) as well as a survey of Ahwas less well known – simple backstreet cafes and those of the Zaballeen (the Christian minority). Interviews include (amongst others) political commentator and Booker Prize nominated novelist Ahdaf Soueif, Arab Booker nominee (also head of Al-Dar publishing house) and flâneur Makkawi Said and Max Rodenbeck, the Economist’s correspondent and author of the encyclopaedic, ‘Cairo, the City Victorious’. Currently, a new Egyptian soap opera called Coffee Shop is attracting very negative attention from Egypt’s secularists about the way women are (or actually not) portrayed within the programme. The debate goes to the heart of what society was being created under the Morsi government.
Here’s the tearsheet:
Here’s a spread from this month’s Monocle Magazine of a story I shot for them a few weeks ago in Pondicherry, the former French territory in southern India. I’ll post a couple of my favourite images from the set in a day or two.
Last week I was on assignment for a magazine in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu photographing the French influence on the place.
As you can see, my presence didn’t go unnoticed… The local newspaper decided that me laying on the floor to get a better angle on a military band was front page news… as was the arrest of the poor chap who, slightly worse for wear on the local hooch, chose that moment to have a little dance in front of me and then squared up to the band leader – presumably for not playing his favourite tune…
In any case, I made a frame and clearly gave the local newsroom a laugh.
Here’s a recent tearsheet for the German Magazine, Effilee of an article that I wrote and photographed about a particular response to non-native invasive (alien) species – Muntjac Deer, Grey Squirrel and American Crayfish… the German headline has it best – something like, “Who is a stranger here is eaten”. Less sensationally, the piece explores the environmental fallout of introduced species and a discussion about both ‘speciesism’ and, the realization that we now live in an age that may come to be known as the Anthrocene.