Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vicarious Travel - Dakota D

It's true, these New York girls love their big city, and a big Manhattan cocktail to go with it - but we also appreciate leaving the canyons of gotham to see a bit more of this great planet we spin around on. 

When we can't exactly get on a plane and jet off Hong Kong, we satiate our travel bug with a few trusty methods.  1. Anthony Bourdain No Reservations (obviously), 2. vintage issues of National Geographic (tried and true), 3. our friend, the internet.

On a recent scour through the depths of the interwebs we stumbled upon the travel journal of Dakota D - a Kiwi living in Bordeaux, France.  His photographs are breathtaking - snapshots of vibrant cultures - their people, exquisite architecture, vibrant festivals, and the details of daily life.  When looking at his images it is easy to be transported, you can allllmost taste the pastries and hear the hustle and bustle of local markets.

Although tempted to hop a plane and feign mono for a month or two, we instead sized the opportunity, and reached out to this talented photographer to ask him about his journey:

 G: First of all, we love your travel blog, Dakota D Journal - your photographs are just exquisite!  You must have been to a lot of cities by now, what are some of your favorite places?

DD: Spain in general is one of my favorite countries in Europe, but if I had to name one of my favorite cities, it would be Seville in Southern Spain! It's a city that cultivates a strong art culture and the festivals here are full of inspiring colors. I also really loved Sicily in the South of Italy. The people here left me with some of the best memories and the turquoise-colored coast was beyond breathtaking. 

G: How did you start doing photography?

DD: I started photography whilst traveling through Thailand and Cambodia almost six years ago. Since then, photography is something that has followed me everywhere. Capturing photographs is like having a second set of eyes! For me, it's a way to see and experience things in another way. 

G:  What camera/s do you shoot with?

DD:  I shoot with a variation of Canon cameras and lenses.

G:  You seem to eat extremely well - your photographs of European delicacies have us drooling all over our keyboard.  What was the last amazing thing you ate?

DD:  The last thing that I ate was in Nazaré, Portugal at the house of a local family. The old woman of the household named Valentina, made the most delicious barbecued sardines on a fire, the traditional way! Everything else that she made for us, she made herself... Like the delicious handmade chorizo that was flavored with white wine, paprika, cracked pepper and mediterranean sea salt! The most memorable aspect of this type of cooking though were the ingredients. All of the vegetables used were grown organically in Valentina's garden. She even grew her own gourmet olives! And I'll never forget the coffee that she made with her 20-year-old espresso machine from Italy!

G:  What has been one of your memorable meals during this adventure?

DD:  One of the most memorable meals that I experienced was in Valladolid, Spain. - Underground, in the labyrinth-like wine cellars of Yllera where a restaurant space had been set into rock hollows. The stone walls were decorated with beautiful pictures of Spanish women and painted Ariadna murals, an ancient myth told through imagery. Pepper-infused lamb here was delicious!! Not to mention the various glasses of wine from the estate that I savored, too. 

G:  Do you have a favorite food memory from your homeland, New Zealand?

DD:  My favorite memories of cuisine are during the summer months in my hometown: Whaingaroa - Raglan. We spend sunny days on the balcony of my house, overlooking a harbor named Moonlight Bay! Sunsets and dinner here are like no other! What I love the most is the fresh South Pacific seafood and organic produce. Not to mention the delicious New Zealand wines that taste lush and fruity.

G:  Have you learned to cook differently while living in Bordeaux?  If so, what's your new favorite dish - and how do you prepare it?

DD:  I love the style of cooking in the Southwest region of France. The food here is rustic, with an interesting gourmet flair. I like the way that you can indulge here, but still eat healthy. Magret de Canard is my new favorite dish in Bordeaux at the moment! The rich flavors of duck complimented by vegetables are particularly delicious. 

G:  We love your attention to detail - from a city's water fountains, the markets, festivals, the lamp posts, to the opulent architecture of days gone by.  You're obviously into excess.  What's your favorite thing to photograph and why? 

DD:  My favorite things to photograph are snippets of life, culture and detail. I focus on things that people might notice less. In a city I like to wander through it's alleys, to get a taste of the people and the way of life. And I always love to photograph the local faces and festivals of a place. 

G:  Of all the places in the world, where do you want to travel to the most? 

DD:  I want to travel everywhere. But right now my heart is aching again for South East Asia! My family lived in Thailand for many years so I've been brushed with a taste for South East Asia's color, spirituality and varied lifestyle. At the moment I have Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam on my mind...

G:  When you're in New York, you must let us take you out for a proper New York evening, will you join us? (Say yes)
DD:  I'll definitely join you ladies for a proper New York evening! Just let me know: when, where and what time!

For more of Dakota D's photography, visit his website

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