Gran rules

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The cover story for September’s N by Norwegian is that old chestnut, modern Spanish cuisine, elBulli and all that. Except it’s not. In a novel twist, Alicante-based writer Trevor Baker (author of the official book of I’m A Celebrity. . .Get Me Out Of Here!) bypasses the chefs and their restaurants in favour of meeting the people who literally gave birth to the phenomenon, the mothers and grandmothers. Photographer Rafa Galan did a series of portraits of the actual ladies interviewed for the interior pages, but the cover was shot in a studio in London by Ink-regular Liz McBurney, art directed by Rickard Westin. The model, Gilly Daniels of Source Models, was obviously totally game – Metropolitan got four covers out of its recent shoot (see previous post) but Norwegian could have had twice as many, as you can see below. A tip of the hat to the client too, Norwegian, for having the courage to put an elderly (and belligerent) woman on its cover.  (Posted by AndrewH)

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The September issue

The forthcoming September issue of Metropolitan is, of course, a fashion special. For the cover and main fashion shoot, art director Adriano Cattini took off to an eerie bit of coast-land down at Denge near Dungeness in Kent where there are the concrete remnants of World War II ‘listening ears’. These were early-warning acoustic mirrors designed to amplify the sound of incoming aircraft. Long abandoned and overgrown, they now look like a set from Doctor Who.

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For more on the background to this weird place, see here.

Anyway, snakes and other alarmingly wild wildlife notwithstanding, the shoot was excellent, providing not one, not two, not three, but four different covers, all of which will be available on a Eurostar train near you throughout the month of September.

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The last two covers form a pair:

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And below are the interior pages.

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The photographer was Ben Knight; stylist Hope Lawrie; hair & make-up Marlene Andersson; model Honey at Elite; and sci-fi consultant Alison Cattini. (Posted by AndrewH)

J is for (good) journalism

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What I admire about J Magazine, which Ink produces for Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways, is editor Sakhr Al-Makhadhi’s ability to consistently uncover untold stories. Take the current issue: behind that slightly scary cover of the tattooed man from another dimension is the fascinating tale of a martial-arts trainer from the UK who wound up in Marrakech where he turned his hand to making fabulous lanterns and doors sculpted from brass and silver that now sell for tens of thousands of dollars to the house-proud of the Arabian Gulf.

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But there’s more: one of his most recent commissions was to create a silver-and-nickel box intended to hold the sole and only copy of the newest album by legendary hip-hop outfit Wu-Tang Clan. So secret was the project that for a time the silver box was hidden in a cave in the Atlas Mountains. Next, it’s set to be taken off on a world tour of museums and galleries where fans will be charged to see the box and don headphones to listen to the two hours of new music it holds. After which it will be auctioned for what could be millions of dollars. Martial arts. Morocco. Golden doors. Wu-Tang-Clan. Secret recordings. Mountain caves. Million dollar auctions. Huh? To find out how it all fits together you’ll have to read J. (Posted by AndrewH)

Behind the scenes at Smile

If you haven’t seen the latest Smile cover, well, we think it’s a bit a special.

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And no, that is not Photoshop trickery. It’s just what happens when you take a model out on a boat in the Philippines.

Seeing the dolphins in Bais Bay was a planned stop on the itinerary and the only issue (apart from getting up at 4am to make sure we were all in the boat by 6.30am) was the weather. The monsoon season was just starting and it had been raining every day before we got to Dumaguete, which was problematic because dolphins apparently only come up to the surface to catch the sun.

The morning we set out for the bay it was drizzling and the sky was overcast. I thought, well, if we don’t see dolphins we at least get a boat ride, which is always fun. There were other spots we wanted to shoot at, like a well-known sandbar further out. The rain held off and although it took a while the dolphins did show up. Initially they were coy, surfacing quite a distance from us. The boatmen said they take some time to warm up but once they get into it, they start swimming alongside the boat. I knew from a previous dolphin-watching trip that they respond to cheers and applause, so we all set up making a racket. And what do you know, it worked! The rain did come down later but by then we’d got everything we wanted, including wildlife. (Posted by Tara Sering, Smile editor)

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Off on the shoot

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Out on the boat

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Our cover stars make an appearance

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Dolphin outtake