Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Conde Nast Traveller Writers and Photographers Masterclass #travellermasterclass at Vogue House 25-26 January 2014

I attended this weekend's #travellermasterclass because I have begun to enjoy writing and thought that adding words to a travel or editorial photography assignment could both be fun and profitable. Conde Nast were running this event for the 1st time and we were treated royally, with the big guns being rolled out to speak to us including: Nicholas Coleridge, President of Conde Nast International, Simon Leadsford - Publisher;  Melinda Stevens - Editor; Tony Cross - Executive Editor; Caroline Metcalf - Director of Photography all of Conde Nast Traveller plus Giles Foden - Travel Writer, Will Cheung - Photographer at the Nikon School, and Martin Morell - travel photographer. This combined with excellent breakfasts and lunches, all the speakers and other staff being accessible and chatty and in a way most important of all, 30 odd people from all over the UK and Europe, Lebanon and Florida, made up of 6 guys and 25 ladies aged from 18 to 65 years of age, made for some dynamic discussions and learning experiences.

After a morning's series of lectures on travel writing we were set a challenge to write 250 words on Carnaby Street. Our brief included: A real sense of place and London in particular, varied aspects of the street, focusing on things no one else has seen, street life, thinking about the structure of the piece, bringing the street alive, avoiding cliches and long sentences and making it dynamic! So no pressure!!

Whilst concentrating on the looking, hearing the street chat and interviewing shop and business owners as I had an article to write!, I finshed off the on-street session with a brief photography walk about, using my Sony Xperia Z phone, which produces detail packed files and gorgeous panoramas, later processed in Lightroom and added them on impulse to my article which I set out below:

Blustery wind, cobbled streets, coppers on the beat, blondes in black tights, fleeting glances, dudes in £300 trainers, snippets of dialogue, "later at the club, no not now!, yes pour away!, I'm sure he means this one, or the one on the corner? If you hold it for us for an hour we'll come and get it" That's, ace but oops, look at the price!" 

Shop signs that talk: Pitt Cue & Co a tiny bar full of happy sounds, tinkling glasses, Lazy Oaf "childish clothes, but for adults"' Mother Mash "3 steps 2 Mash heaven", "before anyone did anything Evisu did everything", Bag of Nails "Paul McCartney met Linda Eastman 15/5/67, Drop Dead "where young music dresses" Students 20%off "die slow, over it,  bittersweet"' Grazing Plates "let
there be light", The Rum Kitchen "salt fish fritters"' Walk in Back Rub,
It's Something Hell's "the devil made me do it", Choccywoccydoodah "love is like a wild flower it grows in the most unusual places", The Cowshed "indulge in sociable grooming", Peckham Rye Incorporating Messrs Tommy & Charlie McCarthy Tailors since 1813, Flying Horse "denims inspired by Einstein"' #StanSmith Est. 1973, Carnaby Burgers are Green! & in a brioche! Aloha! Hawaiian Mahi Mahi and the hiss of Kona beer, Lomography "the future is analogue", Onitsuka Tiger "Trainers since 1949".
Where am I? It has to be Carnaby Street which swung in the sixties and has kept its va va voom going till now with no signs of stopping.

In the feedback session at the end of the the weekend, at the Fumoir in Claridges, no less! Whilst sipping champagne, my piece was critiqued and given ticks for keeping to and interpreting the brief, an idea well executed, flair/original turn of phrase, facts vs detail driven colour and observation skills but crosses for structure, uefulness and communications skilss and grammear and use of English. They really liked my opening paragraph and the stream of consciousness approach. So all in all a good result for a humble scribe's first efforts, but quite a lot of technique and craft left to work on!

During the two days and especially on the second and at the Fumoir, I took informal pictures with my Nikon D800 and 85mm F1.4 lens and was seen doing so and was later asked to submit them to the website editor and am pleased to say one of them was used in an online article about the masterclass on Conde Nast Traveller website: 

I took notes on my new Aspinal of london Conde Nast traveller Journalist 2014 leather bound note book, found in our goodie bag and now look forwrd to applying my new found knowledge to any work I do in future whether commissioned or not.

Thank you Conde Nast for a truly superb, learning and networking experience which I am sure will bear a wide variety of fruit.

To finish here are some links to a range of my travel, editorial and luxury sector photography:

I welcome any comments and am happy to quote for photography or photography plus writing assignments, in London, UK, Europe and the rest of the world. The Moon and Mars might be taking it a bit too far .... but who knows!?? Anything outside the galaxy will require special rates and Net Jets transfers!

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posted by stefan lubo at Tuesday, January 28, 2014


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