16 International Photographers Capture the Essence of Their Hometowns
Jooney Woodward / London
This was taken in Angel, the area of Islington where I’ve lived for the past twelve years. The man jumping into the canal often swims in this stretch of water. That’s his son in the superhero cape. This is one of my favorite places to sit and watch the world go by. I find it so peaceful, even though it’s just steps from the busy streets of London. The canal is especially beautiful in the spring, when all the ducklings hatch.
I really love the traditional parts of the city. Chapel Market (77-78 Chapel Market, Islington) and Leather Lane Market (Leather Lane, Holborn) are two of the oldest street markets in the city. Kensal Green Cemetery is also an incredible piece of history, with guided tours throughout the day. The walk from the cemetery along Regent’s Canal all the way up
to King’s Cross is beautiful. My favorite place to drink is the Hemingford Arms, in Islington. It’s one of the oldest pubs in London. Also, I like to walk along the canal in Angel Islington (where I took my photo). I always buy myself a good old English cup of tea from a traditional café called Nibbles (38 St. Peter’s St; 44-20-7354- 5607) to take with me.
Michal Chelbin / Tel Aviv, Israel
Go to Charles Clore Beach (a.k.a. Alma Beach), which is close to Jaffa and near where the shot was taken. Rent a bike and ride along the wide avenues, like Rothschild and Ben Gurion. I love to eat at chef Eyal Shani’s Miznon (23 Ibn Gabriol Street, 03-726-8977). The name means buffet or snack bar, and the place specializes in gourmet food in pita bread. Tel Aviv also has a great dance scene. There is Batsheva Dance Company, led by choreographer Ohad Naharin, and the great Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company. For art, go to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for the more established scene and Artportfor the young and avant-garde.
Mahesh Shantaram / Bangalore, India
This picture was taken at the College of Fine Arts. That’s my niece, Trishna, who was visiting me from San Jose, California. She’s about to turn seven. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she replied, ‘Leaves, seeds, and flowers.’ Trishna is most comfortable in nature. Bangalore is known as the ‘Garden City of India.’ I wanted to take her to the classical parts of the city, the parts where I grew up, which are still leafy green and do justice to Bangalore’s reputation. Unlike cities in most developing countries, public trees here are allowed to grow as they please, which gives the feeling of being in a natural park.
I’ve taken a fancy to Toast & Tonic (entrées $6–$12), a restaurant by the star chef Manu Chandra, who kicked off the gastropub scene in Bangalore. Their gin and tonics are the best, and the food is always a deep pleasure—order the udon with house-cured chorizo and clams. If you’re looking to drink more and spend less on an evening out with the buddies, I’d recommend Murphy’s Brewhouse, an underrated pub at the Paul Hotel that is a good example of the craft-brewery circuit Bangalore is famous for. Have a stout with coconut beef fry—it’s my go-to. Take a stroll down Indiranagar 100 Feet Road (between Old Madras Rd. and Old Airport Rd.). It was once a residential area mostly inhabited by retired military, but today many of the large houses have given way to commercial establishments. The road itself has become a kind of strip mall on a leafy boulevard.
Jeffrey Milstein / New York City
As a kid growing up in L.A., I used to fly around in a little Cessna and take pictures. I got my pilot’s license when I was sixteen. I’ve always been interested in how things looked from the air. This image came from a dream I had where the tops of these buildings were bathed in a golden color. So I hired a helicopter and shot Manhattan late in the day, when the sun was low and there were these long shadows. You get a real sense of the grid, and the rooftops are awash in colors that you don’t normally see.
For me, a perfect day in Manhattan would start with a walk down the High Line to the art galleries in Chelsea between 10th and 11th Avenues. Next, I’d stop by the tiny restaurant Tia Pol (tapas $4–$14) for some traditional Spanish tapas. Later on, for an unplanned dinner, I’d try to secure a spot at the bar at ABC Kitchen (entrées $24-$42). The food is great, but for a table you’d need to plan way ahead. Another restaurant I like is the Stella 34 Trattoria (entrées $23-$29), in Macy’s. If you need a place to relax, the garden at MoMA is always a good place to rest your feet.
Maroesjka Lavigne / Ghent, Belgium
Definitely check out Jiggers for the best cocktails in town in a friendly, cozy place. For food, I would recommend De Superette (entrees $13-$22). Both of these places use local ingredients and put a lot of effort into their products. We have some nice museums too. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, or SMAK and the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, or MSK, are located next to each other, so it's very convenient to visit both.
Catherine Opie / Los Angeles
Through the years I’ve lived in southern California, a special feeling has always come over me when I hit the Pacific Coast Highway and see the surfers just hovering in the water, waiting for waves. It’s a scene I will never grow tired of.
After some time on the Santa Monica beach, drive up the Pacific Coast Highway for a seafood lunch at Neptune's Net (entrées $10–$21). The fish-and-chips, steamed clams, and crab are to die for.
Joaquin Trujillo / Jerez, Mexico
I was born in L.A., but my parents left for Mexico when I was little. I was raised, to be specific, in Ermita de Guadalupe, a small ranch town on the outskirts of the city of Jerez, in the state of Zacatecas. That’s the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad through the window. I shot this picture from a building I’ve known my whole life—if you come into Jerez by taxi or bus, you stop in front of this building. It used to be a general store, a place to buy materials to make clothes, hats, embroidery, that sort of thing. It was up for sale that day, and I ended up getting a tour. When I opened the window, I saw the cathedral, and I took this picture.
First, head to the Mercado Benito Juarez (3 Los Libres). The market’s food section has the best menudo, picadillo, and asado de Boda Jerezano you’ll ever taste. There’s also a small stand selling delicious tostadas de ceviche. If you’re looking for coffee, try La Botica del Café (3 Calle del Espejo). Dulce and Erika, the two sisters running the shop, serve amazing brews, and the food is pretty great. Jerez is a walking town, and there are multiple gardens to explore. Don’t visit on Saturday, as the parks will be closed. Sundays, on the other hand, are filled with activity. Many people from other small towns come in for the day, and it’s typical to see three to six mariachi bands playing in the streets.
Takashi Yasumura / Tokyo, Japan
I recommend the Kanda and Nihonbashi River Cruise. This tour by sightseeing ship will show you another side of this city that can’t be seen from the streets. It is interesting to see the stone walls from the Edo Period and the various prewar and post-war historic sites.
Martin Parr / Bristol, England
I moved to Bristol twenty-eight years ago, when my wife got a job here. I liked it then, but it has since gotten better and better. It’s close to London, there’s this fantastic countryside, and you get a real sense of independence. It has a very lively food scene, probably the most sophisticated outside of London, with many food festivals. This one, which takes place in early May, is called Food Connections. You can order your organic vegetable box and taste local specialties. The kids have their own entertainment in the form of the bubble man.
Soukitchen (entrées $15–$22) is a delicious Mediterranean restaurant with two locations in Bristol. Also, North Street, the dividing line between the city’s Southville and Bedminster neighborhoods, is a great place to explore. There’s an awesome food scene, and the fantastic countryside will leave you with a real sense of independence.
Gohar Dashti / Mashhad, Iran
We moved to Mashhad when I was sixteen years old. I have very complicated feelings about the city. I don’t love it, but I have a lot of important memories of it. It is where I bought my first camera, and where I started to become a photographer. Millions of pilgrims come to Mashhad to visit the Imam Reza shrine, where the eighth Imam of Twelver Shiites was entombed in the ninth century. There are these booths close to the Imam Reza Bazaar where pilgrims can have their portrait taken by shrine photographers. Usually, it is a family portrait, like this one.
In my opinion, the best food in Mashhad is the lamb and rice from Pesaran Karim (entrées $6–$15).
For coffee, I frequent Café 81 (Hamed 9; 98-937-861-6368), a small shop near both Mellat Park and Malek Abad Garden. You’ll also want to walk through the Imam Reza Bazaar (between Sheikh Toosi and Soleiman Khater), a massive indoor shop- ping mall spread over 25,000 square feet and two floors. I wouldn’t shop there, but it’s definitely a place to experience.
Note: The U.S. State Department currently warns against all unnecessary travel to Iran.
Derek Henderson / Sydney, Australia
In town, I love Porch and Parlour (entrées $13-$22) in Bondi Beach for breakfast. Nearby, Bill’s Restaurant (entrées $16-$30) and Icebergs ($20-$73) are great for lunch or dinner. Go swiming at Bondi and Tamara Beach. And be sure to drive to Garie Beach in the Royal National Park, about an hour south of central Sydney. It’s an amazing surf beach that isn’t crowded. Then go to the Figure Eight Pools, an amazing series of naturally occurring rock pools a bit further down the coast.
Harf Zimmermann / Berlin
I wasn’t born in Berlin, but it is my hometown. My family moved to East Berlin in 1961. Berlin was a city of the Cold War then—the Iron Curtain went right through it. The TV Tower was finished in 1969 for the East German state’s twentieth birthday. It became an icon—and since it was so ideological we had to love it. This was one of the symbols of socialism being superior to capitalism. Now the tower stands for the reunification of Berlin, and it’s the only symbol we have besides the Brandenburg Gate. It is not easy to photograph. It’s like a shoelace dangling from the sky—hard to fit into any format.
Katherine Wolkoff / Block Island, Rhode Island
I grew up north of Boston, and I’ve been spending summers on Block Island since I was a kid. It’s a tiny summer town with Victorian hotels, clam chowder, and lots of ice cream. What I love most is when I walk alone through the greenway of protected land. I can see and hear migrating birds. I can find deer beds, which are the impressions in the grass where the deer have slept the night before. And I can smell the honeysuckle and the beach roses.
Stop for lunch at Pots & Kettles (entrées $6–$11), a food truck across from Scotch Beach. They have the best fish tacos on the island. Also, you won’t want to miss cocktails and shrimp on the lawn of the Atlantic Inn or dinner at Three Sisters (443 Old Town Rd., 401-466-9661; entrées $9). The seafood is served fresh on picnic tables with white tablecloths. End the day with a relaxing walk through Rodman’s Hollow. It’s protected by the Nature Conservancy and has panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Massimo Vitali / Lucca, Italy
My favorite restaurant is L’Imbuto (tasting menus from $56), in the basement of a modern art museum. You choose the number of courses (very small plates) and they do the rest. The last time I went there was an amazing sheep’s milk ricotta gelato with chamomile essence. I loved it. Every morning I have coffee at Buccelatto Taddeucciin Piazza San Michele. They have fantastic pastries and the famous traditional Lucchese sweet-and-salty buccellato. In my opinion, the best gelato in all of Italy is from De Coltelli. I especially like the granitas, which are better than what you get in Sicily. I love the Lucca Film Festival held every spring, especially the lectures from the directors. And though it’s a cliche, my favorite thing to do is bike around the city walls.
Matthew Pillsbury / Brooklyn, New York
I was born and brought up in Paris, until I left for college in Connecticut. I used to go to the Jardin du Luxembourg and ride the famous carousel there. The carousel in this picture is right down the hill from where I now live, in Brooklyn. I love the contrast between the restored wooden parts, made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, and the modern Jean Nouvel–designed glass cube around it. I’m fascinated by how the glass mirrors the city, the sky—you can see both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge reflected in it.
I love Speedy Romeo (entrées $15–$38), in Clinton Hill, for their pizzas and grilled octopus, and the porchetta sandwich around the corner at Mekelburg’s (entrées $9–$17) is delicious. In Red Hook, Fort Defiance (entrées $16–$27) is a good choice for brunch with a cocktail, and the Red Hook Food Vendors that gather around the soccer field in the summer are great. Try the crab BLT at Crabby Shack (entrées $5–$40), in Crown Heights, or the famous burger at Emily, in Clinton Hill. For drinks, Weather Up is a nice cocktail bar with a lovely back garden in Prospect Heights. If you have a day to spare, bike out to Coney Island through Prospect Park and then on a dedicated path on Ocean Parkway all the way to the beach. It’s an awesome ride, and you can reward yourself with the chorizo torta at Doña Zita (entrées $3–$10) once you arrive.
Ambroise Tézenas / Paris
I took this with a long exposure, maybe thirty minutes. You mostly see water but also a lot of landmarks—the Musée d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. It’s not a very deep picture. It’s just me as a Parisian taking touristic pictures. It’s very sad what has happened in France recently, but we are trying to understand why. I don’t think we’re afraid. We know that we have to live together.
Start your morning at Chez Jeanette (47 Rue du Faubourg St.-Denis; 33-1-47-70-30-89). It’s a great place for coffee and a croissant at breakfast. Next, walk through the Palais Royal Gardens. Personally, I think it’s the most beautiful garden in Paris. It’s peaceful and great for reading by the fountain. You’ll also want to visit the Musée Gustave Moreau. It’s a beautiful small museum installed in the family home, where you can feel the painter at work. Nearby, you’ll find Musée de la Vie Romantique. The exhibits are devoted to French Romanticism, and it’s a great stop for tea in the garden. For dinner, try Edgar (entrées $20–$25) in the Edgar Hôtel for home-style French food.