Monthly Archives: July 2011
Anoek Steketee has spent the past four years documenting some of the world’s most bizarre amusement parks, resulting in the fantastically creepy series Dream City. The search for subject matter led her to places such as Iraq (Dream City), Lebanon (Beirut Lunapark), Israel (Superland), the Palestinian Territories (Funland), Rwanda (Bambino Supercity), Colombia (Hacienda Napoles& Jaime Duque), Indonesia (Dunia Fantasia), China (Nanhu&Shimlong), Turkmenistan (Turkmenbashi’s World of Fairy Tales) and the USA (Dollywood).
From her artists statement:
Although the cultural, sociological and political context of each place differs greatly, the parks’ uniform appearance forms the universally recognisable backdrop. With their sparkling lights, fairy-tale scenery and perfectly maintained gardens, the parks all derive their value from the universal and timeless human need to escape from daily reality in a communal constructed space, surrounded by a fence.
During our travels, it became increasingly apparent to us that an amusement park is more than just a place to have fun; it often also plays a highly symbolic role. The origin, location and chosen theme of the amusement park offer meaningful insights into the socio-political situation of the country in which it is situated. Behind the subject’s innocent, light-hearted exterior lurks a darker, staged core, which raises questions about the way different realities can be depicted.
The full series has just been published in a beautiful 168-page book with text by Eefje Blankevoort. Buy it here.
We all know that the Tour de France is as well-known for its scenery as it is for its cycling, but you you may not have seen it quite like this.
Le Tour is the result of a long-term project for the Texan photographer Brent Humphreys, who began documenting the race and its spectators in 2005. It goes without saying that these are not average travel snaps – they are highly planned, researched and in some cases artificially lit (with Profoto studio lights, no less) fine art photographs. Formidable!
The ongoing search for a practical, good looking and discreet camera bag recently led me to this nifty number from the very smart folks at Think Tank. The Retrospective bag is specifically designed to blend in with the crowd and remain inconspicuous in any situation – perfect for travel. But just because it looks basic doesn’t mean it isn’t full of features. It can fit a DSLR with a couple of lenses or a Micro Four Thirds system (like the Olympus Pen pictured here) and has heaps of other space for bits and pieces. Think Tank are rapidly encroaching on the professional camera bag market too – keep an eye on them!
A while ago I featured some very charming ‘See America’ illustrated tourism posters from the 1930′s, with the promise to see what modern-day examples I could later dig up. Illustration is something that isn’t too common in tourism advertising these days, especially for the mainstream market. Even so, I managed to find a few great examples.
This Taiwan branding campaign by Winkreative features the illustrations of Japanese artist Satoshi Hashimoto. I like it a lot, but I don’t know if I can see many other countries taking a cartoon-style approach like this for their nation-wide tourism identity. I mean, Australia never would!
But, having said that, here’s another ‘cartoon-style’ approach for the city of Montreal in Canada, albeit with a very different personality. This campaign (by agency Sid Lee) focuses on the 106 festivals that take place in the city each year, and features a motley collection of imaginary hybrid animal mascots. I don’t think I like it much visually, but apparently it got a lot of attention at the time, and even scored an article in the NY Times. Here, the creative director of Sid Lee made the interesting observation that “in the overcrowded tourism advertising category all the destinations are marketed in the same way” using photographs of “pretty people in a restaurant or skyline shots.” She went on to say that “The language in the tourism industry is ‘a hardware city’ versus ‘a software city,’ and destinations like Paris and New York, with well-known buildings and attractions, are “hardware cities” while Montreal, which is sold on “more of a vibe,” is a “software city.” Good on them for trying something different, I guess!
*images via Tailored
So those are a couple of highly-visible campaigns directed at the general public, but if you dig a little deeper you start to find some wonderful, more boutique, tourism illustrations. Monocle in particular is brilliant at commissioning artists to create illustrations for their destination coverage. Interestingly, they often have an old-style look about them, recalling the ‘golden age’ of travel from the 1960′s and earlier, and taking us back full-circle to the vintage tourism posters that originally caught my eye!
*Illustration for Star Alliance and Monocle by Satoshi Hashimoto, via Frog & Princess.
1. Hand painted map of America on wood with pins from You and me, the Royal We.
2. Gorgeous photographs from The Cherry Blossom Girl’s recent trip to Kenya.
3. Amazing Maske series by artist Phyllis Galembo, featuring African masquerade costumes.
4. Your new favourite minimalist getaway bag, from Draught Dry Goods.
5. Practical holiday photo tips from Scott Kelby.
6. Handy packing zip bags from Baggu.
7. Adventures in Paradise, a sailing charter along New Guinea’s coastline (my new must-do!)
We’re big believers that when you’re traveling you should always carry your camera. Shot out the window of commercial flight from New York to San Fransisco, this simple but so effective series by Paul Octavious is a perfect example of this philosophy. Mile-high magic.
As I mentioned last week, on our way to Hokkaido in August we’ll also be making a stop-over in Seoul. It’s going to be oh so hot, so I’m keen to try ‘Patbingsu’, described by good old wikipedia as a very elaborate summer dessert, often topped with ice cream or frozen yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, fruit syrups, various fruits such as strawberries, kiwifruit, and bananas, small pieces of tteok (rice cake), chewy jelly bits, and cereal flakes. Even through it sounds a little sickly, the strangeness of it just makes me more curious!
Tell me, what else should I try in Seoul – food and otherwise?
*Image courtesy Roboppy
The road is void of stop lights and stop signs. Void of crossroads and shortcuts. There are no mailboxes or power lines.
No fast food. No coffee shops. Only north or south. Advancing or retreating. At the end, always oil.
The road in question is the Dalton Highway in Alaska, the northernmost road in America. In 2005, Ben Huff moved to Alaska, a place he describes as ‘complicated’, and began taking photographs as a way of understanding his new surroundings. The Dalton Highway soon drew his interest due to its extreme location, but it was the layers and complexities of the road and its inhabitants that kept him coming back for more. ‘The Last Road North’ is the result of several journeys along this lonely route. This summer, Ben plans to make one last trip in order to complete the series, and is seeking support though Kickstarter to fund a full book mock up, portfolio and exhibition prints.
Here’s a small selection of night-time shots taken in Deadhorse – the end of the road.
Lucky me, right? If you’re interested in the details of the images from yesterday, check out my new Pinterest board. I don’t expect to see even a fraction of the places featured (we’re only there for a week) but will try! Got any other suggestions? We’re also making a stop in Seoul on the way over, which is a whole other story!