travel photography

Park City Mountain

By George Lavender

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Ansel Adams

George Lavender is a designer and art director based in New York who grew up on England's South Coast. Having spent much of his time in cities - both New York and London - over the past few years he finds himself compelled to get away from his desk and head into the wild whenever possible. Many of his adventures revolve around snowboarding and the mountains, which means hiking trips in the Welsh hills or clambers over the boulders of Norway are never far from him mind. A creative at heart, he inevitably finds original ways to capture these daredevil jaunts. 

Find out more about George and his travels here: george-lavender.com

"Snowboarding is such a well documented sport in this day and age, it’s almost impossible to scroll through my Instagram feed without seeing several tweaked grabs or cork spins. However, having just purchased a new (old) 35mm film camera, I wasted no time in booking my own snowboarding escape and snapping away during my trip to Park City Mountain, Utah. I’ve always been fascinated by the moments of pure stillness and tranquility in the mountains, the kind that stop you in your tracks so you can just take a minute to appreciate your surroundings. That’s the quality that shooting rolls of film teaches you, make every shot count and take it all in."

All images shot with Olympus XA2 on Kodak portra 400.

Tom Bunning

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Death Valley - Photographed by Tom Bunning We met Tom Bunning in a coffee shop in South London where he greeted us with coffee and a portfolio. Understandably, we fell instantly in love with his photographed world, made up of etherial landscapes that play with light and scale and intimate portraits that capture the sitter's soul in the most artful way possible. We just had to chat to him about what makes his work so easy to get completely lost within.

What do you love about photography?

Where to start. I think I love a photo’s ability to transport the viewer: be it back to a special memory; forward to a place they’d love to visit, or to give a glimpse into a person’s mind. But in less romantic terms, I’m basically a lazy painter. If I found that wielding a paintbrush gave me as much immediate pleasure as taking a photo does I’d probably be trying to do that now, probably rather badly. For me the greatest pleasure right now is to be able to earn a living doing something that I love. Fingers crossed that continues. I also really enjoy seeing other photographers’ work. I feel part of a community of like-minded souls, all of us trying to create something meaningful or beautiful or interesting, using photography to try to make sense of our world.

Can you remember the first photograph you took?

I don’t think I can remember the first photo I took, but I can definitely remember an early view that inspired me to take pictures. I grew up in a very small village in Suffolk, our home was surrounded by fields and the view from my bedroom window was of a giant oak tree set in the centre of a field. All year round I’d watch the colours of the landscape change and in the summer the old proud oak would stand tall in the centre of a bright yellow square of rapeseed flowers, the small window providing a perfectly framed photograph in my mind’s eye.

What inspires your work?

My inspirations have changed over the years I’ve been growing - both as a photographer and as a person. When I seriously started trying to take pictures for a living I was working at Abbey Road Music Studios (it sounds glamorous but I was mostly in a dark room QCing music videos!) so my early work was definitely inspired by rock and roll. I had several great years of shooting live gigs, taking portraits of musicians and touring with bands, interspersed with fashion work, which I think went hand-in-hand quite naturally. In recent years I think I’ve become earthier, more inspired by the natural world if you like, and I think this change in personal perspective has affected what I’m inspired to shoot professionally. One of my current projects is entitled Crafted and is a series of photos documenting and celebrating those in Britain who make the small, the hand-crafted and the individual. I’ve always been interested in England’s landscape and heritage and I suppose Crafted is an extension of this interest, focusing in closer on the personal aspect of our environment. On the flip-side, as my commercial work increasingly takes me further around the world, I’ve been enjoying capturing foreign landscapes.

Death Valley - Photographed by Tom Bunning

How would you define your style?

I’m still developing as a photographer and my style will continue to change over the years but I like to think it’s honest, clean and simple. I don’t like to over-process or over-edit my shots and I always try to get what’s on the back of the camera as close to how I want it before it gets to the editing stage. Of course some clients know exactly what they’re after in terms of a feel or look of a shot and when that’s the case I think you have to find the balance between your personal style and their needs - always a challenge but a fantastic one. I recently had a great meeting with an agency and they described my work as having a ‘very gentle approach’ which was a lovely thing to hear.

Does travel influence your work in any way?

As I touched on above, it has done much more so recently. My commercial work over the last year or so has taken me around the world to all sorts of incredible places, from Seoul to Islay, from Vietnam to New York, Kuala Lumpur to LA, among others - although I should say that amidst all this excitement I’ve had many shoots in dirty parts of London to keep my feet on the ground! I think the thing about travelling for me is that as a full-time Londoner, living and working in the fast lane, being away gives me an opportunity to expand my view of the world and gives me time to see things I probably miss at home. Something that seems very ordinary to locals can look extraordinary through a foreigner’s eyes.

Death Valley - Photographed by Tom Bunning

Has there been a particularly memorable project either past or present?

I would have to say my ‘Death Valley’ series from earlier this year, wonderfully displayed here by your good selves! One of my current gigs is working with David Beckham and his team for Haig Club Whisky which has been an absolute pleasure. In the grey depths of January I flew to the sunshine state for a promotional shoot for Haig. The shoot was only for the day but it would have been rude not to make the most of it so my assistant Danny and I stayed out there for a week, hired a car and took a road-trip from LA to Vegas via Death Valley where I spent several days shooting a series of landscapes. An absolute dream trip. The colours and expanse of the landscape out there were so rich and photogenic and I’m really pleased with the results.

What is your dream subject?

That’s a tricky one. In terms of humans I love photographing interesting faces, be they young, old or in-between. I’d love to turn my lens on someone like John Hurt or Morgan Freeman but equally so on a sheep-farmer or a dress-maker. Landscape-wise I have a real hankering to go to Iceland. I don’t have much experience of working with such a cold clear environment and, having recently invested in the new PhaseOne IQ250, I’d love to get out there with it and see what I can capture. My ultimate goal is to bring the two main aspects of my work closer together, working on location to take portraits of interesting subjects, set in interesting environments.

Where can we see more of your work?

I’ve recently had my new book made, by Cathy Robert at Delta Design who’s done a wonderful job, so I’m in the process of making appointments with agencies. Much of my recent work is showcased on my site at www.tombunning.com. I plan to exhibit the Crafted series next year in London so look out for that.

Death Valley - Photographed by Tom Bunning

Death Valley - Photographed by Tom Bunning

Death Valley - Photographed by Tom Bunning

“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” ― Ansel Adams

Dordogne

Planning a trip to the Dordogne? We have the ultimate to do list, and a few photos to boot. Catch the sunset at Dommee, preferably while sitting pretty in a cliff-top restaurant.

Accidentally stumble upon a local summer festival/buy a hat at Daglan (but watch out for the sardines).

Canoe down the Dordogne River - worry not, the current does all the work and 23kms will simply sly by!

Feel the Medieval magic of Rocomadour, full of stunning stone structures built into a cliff face. In a nutshell, “houses above the stream, churches above the houses, rocks above the churches and castle on the rock.”

Uncover a subterranean wonderland full of turquoise water and epic stalagmites at Guiffre.

Buy jam and admire the flowers at Loubressac.

See the seven towers of Martel.

Eat dinner in a Belves in a wednesday night when the main square becomes a mass picnic ground.

Catch the sunset and live music in the gardens of Chateau de Marquayssac, which are illuminated by candles on Thursday nights.

Hire a bike and hit the road. Or go off road, even better.

Check out the weekend market at Sarlat, a town with charm and history.

Hit the ‘airparc’ and embrace the brilliance of the flying fox.

Live off cheese, wine and French sun for a week or two.

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Santorini

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For years Santorini has been on the ‘must-eventually-wind-my-way-there’ travel list, becoming on of those places that had to be visited simply because it had to. The result being I kept putting it off, until of course it could be put off no longer. I had to see this caldera hugging icon before my promises of ‘I’ll just go next year’ became a complete and utter joke. And the advise I can now pass on as a result is DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE. Don’t put Santorini on a ‘one day soon’ list, visit it immediately. It’s a vibrant, thriving, impossibly friendly paradise built around an active Volcano and prone to the most picturesque summer sunsets imaginable. It is the sort of place you arrive at and know immediately; so iconicity beautiful, this is the land of myth and legend, the place where it all began.

While I could continue to gush it would be far simpler to leave you with a splattering of blue sky photographs (a thousand words and all that) and a list of Santorini tips, some more sensible than others.

1) Wear shoes with grip, while stone may be stunning but it’s also a tad slippery.

2) Never miss a sunset - especially if you can catch it at Oia or from the grounds on Santo wines. Watching the white and blue town turn yellow, pink and orange is decidedly spectacular.

3) Venture into the caldera, climb a volcano (which is steeper than it looks) and wash off the ash in the iron rich thermal springs, which merge rather seemlessly with the azure sea.

4) Discover that san vinto, Santorini’s local dessert wine, really is the bees knees. Join a Santorini wine tour - the approach to wine making on this arid stretch of land is truly unique, and the experience will leave you suitably tipsy.

5) Stock up on Korres (beauty product lovers take note).

6) Get lost in Atlantis Books, a unique, literature filled venue sure to take your breath away. The local love story and international staff add even more character.

7) Go shopping for Fira - the pottery, jewellery and endless array of beachwear is second to none.

8) Learn about the birth of modern civilisation at The Megaro Gyzi Museum and Akrotiri (and learn just how much further we still have to go).

9) Ride a donkey down to Fira’s Old Port before catching a cable car back up to the town centre, all the time watching the caldera. From almost every angle it is a view capable of inducing rather wobbly knees.

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Ellis O'Connor

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Scotland Photographer Ellis O'Connor has an eye for the dramatic - soaring peaks dotted with snow, valleys that appear endless, gunmetal seas and a grey scale you can't help but adore. So it's rather fitting that she frequently makes dark and dramatic Scotland her subject. We had a chat to Ellis about her work, Hebridean focus and love of travel.

Can you tell me a little about your training and artistic background?

I am a Fine Art graduate with an honours degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. I am currently studying my Masters Degree in Art and Humanities based in Dundee, Scotland, where I grew up. I am a visual artist and specialise in photography, painting and drawing. I have exhibited widely and have recently undertaken artist residencies in the Northern Isles of Scotland, Iceland and was selected for the RSA Scholarship to Florence last year.

How would you define your style?

My style is based on the aesthetics of remote landscapes. It deals with different elements based on the land; the spirit of place, traces of the land and the sublime. All explored through a series of prints, photographs and paintings.

Within certain remote places there is a powerful atmosphere and through my work I invite the viewer to feel the [landscapes] presence ... and the textures and marks that we do not necessarily notice. My process of mark making, the washes and layers explored through my work are a direct way of showing how the unforgiving elements wear away the land. It all ties together to highlight the underlying meaning of the landscape and elements these vast places are exposed to. I also would say that my style is very bold in terms of capturing the overwhelming presence of the landscape and sublime mountains.

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What inspires your photographs?

My photographs are inspired by travelling, mountains and remote lands. As long as I am travelling and venturing out to places that are unknown to me and far away from cities, then I will constantly be inspired. The intricate detail of the land, the atmosphere of the remote places and the feeling of being surrounded by nature and the wild environment is the main motivator that fuels and enriches my work.

What do you love about your job?

I love being able to go out to new places and capture them. It is a great thing being able to connect new people to a place just by the visual imagery that I put across in my work.

There is a certain drama to your work - is this intentional and where does this come from?

Is this intentional? Yes and no. I aim to capture the drama found within overwhelming landscapes, being out there surrounded by the mountains I feel a sense of heightened intensity and powerful atmosphere so I aim to put this across to the viewer. Also because these places are so staggeringly beautiful and present, it happens naturally that the photos end up with such drama; the place overall determines the outcome of the photograph.

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Does travel influence your work in any way?

Travel is the only thing that influences my work. Without travel I cannot capture. As my studio is in the city, I find that every now and then I go on a road trip of Scotland here and there, to get new images, a new perspective free from the constant stimulation of being connected in a city and create new work! The wonderful thing about Scotland is that most of it is still very much untamed land up North, you don't need to travel far to get away from a city or even civilisation.

You've shot quite a lot of work around Scotland - is there something special about the scenery here?

Yes there is definitely something special about the scenery here. I was lucky enough to grow up in Scotland and with it's dramatic peaks and mountain ranges, layers of dramatic history embedded within the places and the magnificent lochs and valleys, it is simply stunning. I travel a lot to other countries and parts of the world and find a lot of inspiration to make work there but I am very much connected to Scotland.

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Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

I've been involved in a lot of amazing and inspiring projects but one of the best projects I've enjoyed recently being a part of was working on the Isle of Eigg (one of Scotland's remote small Isles) as Artist in residence with The Bothy Project at the very start of January. You can read my article and find out more about the Bothy Project on the blog here.

I found this very engaging and an amazing place to work. I was located in a beautiful bothy right on the North tip of the Island surrounded by cliffs and looking out to the magnificent peaks of Rum, I made a lot of new work there and most of my new photographs have come from being within that place. The thing I found most important was being off grid. As I had no distractions, it gave me the chance to just fully explore and connect with the island and make a brand new body of work. Also as it was right at the very start of this year, right in the middle of Scotland's winter, the weather was wild and there was not much light so it really pushed me out of my comfort zone in engaging with a place. Simply stunning.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?

My advise for aspiring photographers is to find your niche. Find what it really is you are passionate and inspired by and create a new voice for that. Capture what it important to you and find your own style so people will be able to recognise the work. It is also very important to have a level of depth and meaning to the work, find what the calling is. I have come to realise that work with a significant meaning connects and resonates more with the viewer. Lastly, never give up on something you are truly passionate about!

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India

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One of the biggest thrills of Lodestars Anthology is picking the next destination - that beautiful, enchanting, must-experience-right-now country that will be the subject of a future issue. We plan a little far in advance, years in fact (research takes time ... as does excessive travelling), so when we saw the stunning photos Josh Glass captured in India last month, we immediately went into planning overdrive. The colour, romance and drama - India needs to be the focus of issue 5! For now though we must get on with the task in hand. Sending our dark, stormy and wild Scotland issue off to the printers. Here's to Indian dreaming.

Taj Mahal in the rain

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Interview: Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia We had a lovely chat with Italian-raised, London-based photographer Claudia Guariglia about her love of the lens, her subjects and the general power of photography. You can see more of Claudia's stunning shots in issue 2 of Lodestars Anthology, due out in March next year.

What do you love about photography?

I like capturing instants. I love how photography makes it possible to freeze something as a picture and keep it forever. It’s just an image, but still whenever I look at it, it will tell me something about that particular moment of my life, what I was feeling, maybe bring to my mind something I forgot. Time scares me a little, somehow, and with photography I feel like I can stop it every now and then, and get to keep memories, both of important steps in my life or just those everyday little things that maybe made me smile, or simply stop and think.

Digital or film - which do you prefer and why?

Definitely film. I do like digital of course, it’s convenient and quick, and allows you to do all sorts of things that I cannot do with film (considering I don’t develop it by myself).

Still, the feeling with film is completely different. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. I've tried many times but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m just so much happier and satisfied with my film pictures as opposed to when I shoot digital, I feel like they convey better my own vision of things. There’s something romantic to it, like film could actually really capture the atmosphere of every different moment, and this is actually particularly obvious with polaroids, as the colors tend to change depending on the temperature in which the pics develop. So, if for example you’re shooting outside and it’s winter, you’ll get colder colours, and that’s such a nice touch to it. It just adds some more value to the picture.

Claudia Guariglia

Can you remember the first photograph you took?

Not really, but I remember that when I finally got my own first camera, I was about 12. I used to take a lot of pictures of clouds. And the sea. Not very original, for sure, but I was born and grew up by the sea so I always felt some sort of connection with it.

Before that, I used to steal my dad’s camera whenever we went out just to look through the lens and play a bit with it, but it was so heavy and I was so little. I don’t think I ever did more than just that.

What inspires your work?

It depend. What I like most is taking simple, natural pictures, true depictions of what surrounds me, so I’d say I’m inspired by everyday life. I love capturing light, and I like interiors, so I’m inspired by new places - other people’s houses and the different way natural light acts in different environments or times of the year.

I also like fashion, so sometimes I’m inspired by that. New clothes, shops windows, something catches my eye and I either just want to capture it or feel the urge to create something out of it. I don’t always follow the same pattern.

Claudia Guariglia

How would you define your style?

True, I guess. I like taking care of composition, I like looking for the perfect framing and the perfect light, but at the same time I want my pictures to look real, true. The pictures I usually like the most (which are not necessarily the ones other people prefer, it goes without saying) are the ones I didn’t even plan to take, and they’re usually film, so there’s no post production.

I like taking self portraits, so those are important to me as well, but I have a different approach when it comes to taking pictures of myself. I still try to convey what’s going on through my mind and in my life, but they’re, obviously, less spontaneous, there’s more work behind them. Still, what I always try to have in my images is simplicity.

What do you love to photograph most?

I like taking pictures of whatever catches my eye. What I love are details, tiny little things that would maybe normally go unnoticed. So whether it be a portrait, still life, or whatever, I try to focus on those little things: hand gestures, maybe the particular way someone sits, details in the window of a shop or house, that tiny crack on a mug. Photography makes me focus more on what surrounds me, and I always had the weird habit of noticing apparently useless things. Capturing them in an image makes the picture alive, it helps telling a story.

Claudia Guariglia

How does travelling influence your work?

I’d ask “how does my work influences travelling”, actually. I probably give too much importance to taking pictures while visiting a new place, some people might think I don’t really enjoy myself, that I’m too focused on photographing everything rather than living an experience, and maybe they’re right, who knows. But I think photography helps me take in everything I see when I’m travelling, especially if I’m alone. I love taking my time to observe everything, slowing down when I want to, shoot some maybe useless, maybe not, pics, and so on.

Travelling is so inspiring, you get to see places that look nothing like the ones you’re used to, meet different people, generally take in something that’s new and exciting, and that somehow changes and enriches you. If I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world non stop, and possibly I’ll be doing so sometime in the future.

Have you taken a particularly memorable photograph while travelling?

All the photos I take while travelling are memorable for me as they obviously remind me of a beautiful and exciting experience. The most memorable ones though usually have little or nothing to do with the place I was visiting, rather they focus on what I was doing or who I was with.

This photo (click here) for example, is a pic I shot in Seville, and even if it was a couple of years ago I still like it and find it an important and memorable picture as it reminds me of a certain, not necessarily amazing but still important moment in my life. Yet, I could have shot the same picture anywhere. Same goes for other pictures I took in England, Scotland, or other places I’ve been traveling to. It’s totally subjective, completely personal.

Claudia Guariglia

What is your dream subject?

When I say 'if I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world' I mean it, so I guess my dream subject would be the whole world? I know it sounds silly and very generic, but as I like taking pictures of real life. I’d love to be able to travel the world, meet people, visit their houses, maybe taking portraits of them in their personal spaces. Seeing something new everyday, stop every now and then in a cafè or a small restaurant, capturing and making mine everything around me, carrying around just a film camera. That would be simply amazing.

Where can we see more of your work?

I have tonnes of pics on my Flickr page, even very old ones no one would probably want to see. You can find them here. I also have a tumblr, that I try to update as regularly as possible and a small portfolio on cargocollective.

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

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Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia