Travel ~ 35. Hungry for History in Hungary.

Since I was little girl, I have loved history. Learning about the Austro-Hungarian empire at school, I was inspired to visit Hungary one day. This summer, I managed to fulfill that dream and explore a new area of the world. For a long time, I admired the photographer, Brassaï who embraced European culture and captured the beauty of city streets.  These days, I am doing the same. Enjoy below my shots of beautiful Budapest!

 

Travel ~ Represent Cuba!

Since diplomatic relations relaxed between the U.S. and Cuba, leisure and business travelers (remember the Rihanna cover story in Vanity Fair) have been traveling to the Caribbean.

Known for white sandy beaches, cohibas and rum, Cuba has a variety of historical culture to offer surrounding the beautifully preserved Spanish colonial architecture.

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Crocodile shaped since Christopher Columbus landed in 1942, this warm and welcoming country has changed over time. From Fulgencio Batista‘s dictatorship to Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara overthrowing the government, fearless Fidel Castro led the nation to a prominent place. Now President, Raúl Castro is maintaining the Communist rule of the sovereign state with style. Hopefully, the country will keep its creative charm while the infrastructure is transitioning its marketplace from foreign investment interests. You notice the little things here.

Leaving Jose Martí International Airport, where will you stay? Well “hello Havana” or should we say, “Hola”. For accommodation, Hotel Florida is a cosy colonial casa featuring a cute courtyard with authentic Cuban cuisine in Old Havana. Hotel Saratoga which I know from my first visit is a great location for exploring on foot and by eye at their rooftop bar that has numerous cocktails and excellent service.

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El Malecon. My favourite memory of Cuba. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Then Hotel Nacional de Cuba, where I previously stayed on my second visit is a lovely luxury gem over 90 years old in the middle of Vedado. Amazing art deco, beautiful blue skies, exclusive eats, seaside views, a gorgeous garden, a cool cabaret room and celebrities strutting through the lobby are what got me. This is the place to be! Taking a walk along the magical Malecón, you’ll find the Museo de la Revolución, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana and Museo Nacional de Historia de Cuba where one can learn about the art, culture and history of Cuba.

When looking for a casual lunch, support the locals by going to a paladar (family-run restaurant). La Galería (moderate) has amazing fresh fish or Atelier (splurge) offers Cuban continental cuisine, both in Vedado. For the art lovers, you will admire every inch of this island. From the classic vintage cars to locals painting portraits on the cobblestone streets, there is something for everyone. Business is also flourishing more now and I’m rooting for Cuban entrepreneurs. Fashionistas are even in town for Chanel‘s Cruise 2017 collection runway. Follow on Instagram for updates. Who knows you may even brush shoulders with the master of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld or Brasilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, rumoured to be walking the show by the Paseo del Prado promenade claims Harper’s Bazaar.

Two blocks away, El Capitolio designed by Eugenio Rayneri Piedra stands grandiose with neoclassical architecture. Often a friendly guy, Miguel is hanging out on the steps who will take your photo with an old fashioned camera which I loved since photography is one of my passions. Say queso and smile as you’re taken back to the 1950s. Local music can be found in numerous neighbourhoods. Soon enough, the Latina in you will come out as you hear different beats and sounds around the city. Prepare your Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC, local currency) for drinks at El Floridita to delve into the era of Ernest Hemingway and sip the best daiquiri in the world.

Dinner at the popular eatery, El Aljibe is the best. It’s the pollo (chicken)! Also the open concept and again this is a family run restaurant. I love it. And of course, you get a special treat at the end of your meal. Can you say Cuba Libre y cigarro? I think yes! Dance the night away at Café Cantante Mi Habana with a range of artists representing real rumba, heavy hip-hop, rock and sassy salsa in a mixed crowd of locals and tourists aged early 20s to late 40s. For that midnight bite, stop by Cafe de los Artistas. Lastly, I would be recommend venturing to Varadero in the northeast Matanzas Province, Trinidad in the midwest Sancti Spíritus Province and the second largest city in the southeast, Santiago de Cuba to enjoy the ocean coastline.

Today marked an emotional moment as well. According to Reuters, it was the first time in decades that a U.S. cruise ship entered the Havana Bay area. Get ready to travel. Check flights and peruse hotels. Dare to discover colourful Cuba.

 

 

Arts ~ Stones at Saatchi

Captivating 50 years of history, an international exhibition featuring rock music legends will debut tomorrow in London.

‘Exhibitionism’ unveils the life and career of The Rolling Stones at the Saatchi Gallery.

Over 500 artifacts are on display to engage the public. From 1962 to present day, personal diaries present an account of the band’s global journey. The days of youth and rebellion return to entertain. Creative cinema and media allows viewers to explore for interactive technologies. Never before seen photos depict how The Rolling Stones shaped popular culture. Original costumes are presented for fashion and design admirers. Also rare audio tracks will definitely get you in the rock and blues groove. The two floor exhibition offers an impressive insight of the cultural icons’ musical heritage.

RS

 

 

 

Photography ~Age Progression

My most recent project series entitled, Age Progression celebrates youth during their transition into adulthood.

From interviewing and photographing subjects, it was important to convey how our interests change as we grow older using everyday objects. Through that, I came up with themes for each photo, located settings for scenes and took stills of each person naturally as they continued activities according to their lifestyle.

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Candy to Cigarettes, London. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Set in London after university days, the photo Candy to Cigarettes represents how interests can alter as one grows older. Instead of sucking on lollies, it became cigarettes. Things change over time. There are always moments of nostalgia. Still, the taste of strawberry and peach flavoured Chupa Chups alone brings back memories of childhood.

Andrei Valentin Adam, 25 from Romania highlighted in Soda to Alcohol said, “To drink or not to drink, that is the question?” This was a night out in Dublin with friends which went from a birthday dinner to a pub crawl through Temple Bar. When younger soda was always the exciting choice. Then as a young adult, your selection varies as we explore the different beverages at social engagements.

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Andrei Valentin Adam in Soda to Alcohol, Dublin. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Ever notice everyone around you is always on the go normally with their mobile in hand. It can be annoying if you’re one of those people who likes to look up and around as you pace the city blocks. Standing still sometimes can be nice though since we’re constantly on the go. Krzysztof, 25 from Poland photographed in Phones to Cars recalled his childhood saying, “As long as I can remember I wanted to be faster than anyone. What else is better to experience than speed?” The photo was brought to life to portray the element of movement. He took a minute to have a go at someone on the phone instead of rushing off in his Mercedes. This is a moment before the rush hour, taken in the Flatiron/Gramercy district of New York.

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Krzystzof Dvszka in Phones to Cars, New York. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Bilal Elsayed, 25 from Egypt featured in Playground to Sports is a moment most can relate to during the spring. That familiar place, a playground where you feel comfortable to walk, run, hide, seek before other hobbies develop. Bilal believes that, “Football allows a person to find their inner strengths and weaknesses as they build character on the pitch but it depends.” The idea was to display the transformation from youth to young adult. The fact that he has moved on but the playground will always linger there in the background. It was fun taking this picture because I had to time the frames right to avoid including small children running around at Twenty-Four Sycamores Park in New York.

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Bilal El-Sayed in Playground to Sports, New York. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

As a child, we make friends from different walks of life. Most of us when younger believe it’s about the quantity and try to communicate with everyone. My great-grandmother, Elease Austin once told me, “if but one have a friend” while she held out her left hand to show a handful was enough. It’s over time that we learn it’s quality not quantity. Some friendships we maintain, others come and go as they are needed in our lives. Often the people meant to be there find a way to remain. Eventually those relationships over time can lead to love. Luckily, that’s what I found with my Australian boyfriend, James Andrews. The photo below was taken an hour before the London Underground was closing. It took about 17 minutes to set up the camera/tripod, wait until the station emptied and time the train’s arrival at Waterloo tube station in London.

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James Andrews and Niya Sinckler in Friendship to Love, London. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

This idea came about as a way to express how I felt about the current times, the way in which millennials are growing and moving towards certain things in life. Every photo has the themes presented such as time and speed around moments in life. Also notice that none of the subjects are making eye contact. This was done purposefully to make the viewer decide the level of emotion in the photo instead of what the subject was saying through their eyes. Each subject tells a story. The photos are meant to amuse and evoke thought for viewers to explore the possibility of what other parallels or transitions we make in life. At times, this even happens without us realizing. In all, the project represents age progression with key objects and close friends becoming characters of their own lives to depict what we all encounter, endure and escape.