TRAVELLER ZOO – Puberta insatiata

Puberta

Identifiable by a shuffling gait, designer sneakers, rhythmic hiss escaping from earplugs and fingers tapping at phone screen. Pubertae may appear solitary, though closer inspection often reveals related adults walking ten paces ahead.

Identifying call: ‘Why did you bring us here, Dad? What’s so good about Florence?’

Illustration by Simon Letch. First published, Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age 2015.

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FESTIVAL DER AA – Drente rocks!

Amarins. An eclectic collection of instruments, intelligent lyrics, engaging presentation.

Amarins. An eclectic collection of instruments, intelligent lyrics, engaging presentation.

This is the fifth edition of the annual arts festival in the nature area Drentsche Aa, in the northern Dutch province Drente.

It’s my first crack at photographing bands. Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM TO HAARLEM – with bike and smartphone

Bring it on! Trucks and planes are no bother.   I have my own cycle path.

Bring it on! Trucks and planes will not bother me. I have my own cycle path.

The joys of living in Amsterdam. It’s a fine day, I need some exercise and I have the afternoon free. One of the most beautiful small towns in the world is an hour away by bike.

I don’t need a helmet, I’m not wearing lycra and this time I’m not even taking a camera. The phone in my pocket will do the job. Continue reading

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TRAVELLER ZOO – Expertus supercilius

Expertus supercilius

Like a leopard stalking a young antelope, he lurks, lip curled in a knowing sneer, as novice campers take three tries to back their caravan into a parking spot, consult the tent assembly manual and futilely twiddle knobs on the gas BBQ. Then he pounces.

Identifying call: ‘You need a hand with that?’

Illustration by Simon Letch, and thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age for continuing to publish our contributions each week.

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FOOD PHOTO TIPS – no, not from me, from a pro

Kyonne Leyser shows us how it's done.

Kyonne Leyser shows us how it’s done.

Put a plate of food in front of the modern diner and before the presentation is disturbed, out comes the smartphone and the meal is shared with the world. With a few simple changes, most of those shots could be a whole lot better.

At the fabulous Food Unplugged event in Ede*, Nederland’s ‘City of Taste’, a workshop on smartphone photography with professional food shooter Kyonne Leyser was possibly the most popular event.

I picked up some tips and tried to put them into practice immediately. Continue reading

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BERGERAC – the town with the big fake nose

Cyrano - Australian readers may notice a striking resemblance to John Bell playing the role at Sydney Theatre Company.

Australian readers may notice a striking resemblance to John Bell playing Cyrano for Sydney Theatre Company many years ago. And is that Roxane at the window?


‘How long will it take us to find a statue of Cyrano in Bergerac?’ I ask as we drive into that French town.

Though there was once a real Cyrano de Bergerac who inspired Edmond Rostand’s classic play about the poet with panache and protruding proboscis, there’s no reason to think he ever visited the town in his lifetime.

That doesn’t stop Bergeracians cashing in on his reputation. We park in front of Boulangerie Cyrano, drink café in Café Cyrano, walk a block and find the man himself in front of Maison Cyrano. Continue reading

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TRAVELLER ZOO – Perspectivus hilarius

Perspectivus
Two perspectivi are required to pull off this stunt. One aims the camera while the other props up the Leaning Tower of Pisa or pinches the point of a pyramid. Sure, Instagram may have seen it all before, but great humour must be shared.

Identifying call: ‘A little to the left, up a bit…perfect!’

Lovely work on the illustration, Simon Letch, and thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age for running our efforts each week.

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