Your Secret Cities: Master Class

Our Travel Photography Competition Culminates with Leading Judges’ Own Private Vistas

To mark the closing of NOWNESS’ latest reader competition, a collaboration with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the five luminary contributors making up our jury reveal their intimate urban insights and hidden gems. After readers were invited to photograph and share a personal visual guide to a ‘secret city’ they know and love, 1100 entries were submitted over 14 days, coming from remote corners such as Iguazu Falls, Argentina, and Easter Island, Chile, as well as the metropolitan hubs of Singapore, Istanbul and Copenhagen. Following a nine day public vote, ten top entries were selected via Twitter and Sina Weibo. “It's interesting to see how differing cultures view their own cities, some focusing on nature and others on man-made structures,” says James W. Mataitis Bailey, author of cult image blog Yimmy's Yayo and one of our expert judges. Here, using personal cameras and apps on their travels, Bailey, I Love You magazine’s Marcus Gaab, photographer Brigitte Lacombe, fashion animator Quentin Jones and filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes share their own treasured spots.

James W. Mataitis Bailey
Tuileries Garden, Paris, France
"I've always romanticized Paris in my mind, for as long as I can remember. On my most recent trip I feel like I finally unlocked it. You have to give yourself over completely, you have to curse at traffic, enjoy the rainy nights and give up sleep. Paris is a unique city, and to find the real beauty in her, you have to breathe her in like no other."

Marcus Gaab
Berlin, Germany
"If you leave the city, which is mainly experienced as bohemian Disneyland - by boat in summer you will find a lot of hidden spots that explain why romanticism is such a German term. It’s great for a swim, too."

Brigitte Lacombe
Huxinting Tea House, Shanghai, China
"This is one of my favorite travel images. Every time I go to Shanghai, I return to this teahouse, the oldest in Shanghai. The group of men could be from the 1920s, or the 1940s, but actually I took this picture in 1993.”

Zoe Cassavetes
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
"The fact that a narrow straight of sea separates Istanbul between Europe and Asia is so exotic and curious, and you can actually distinguish the two feelings. I love the call to prayer and the city's mosques, which are so beautiful and magical. The Hagia Sophia was a Christian church before becoming a mosque and they have uncovered ancient paintings of Jesus and other religious icons - another example of East meeting West with grace and symmetry."

Quentin Jones
Mumbai, India
"Peeling posters in Mumbai, India are intoxicating to me. My most memorable trip started with landing in Mumbai at 4am. We started to explore the city as the sun was rising. The orange light of the early morning was hitting the city's walls and illuminating years of torn Bollywood posters, vibrant hand-painted signs, and make-shift homes. The city is covered in unintentional collages."

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Conversations (1)

  • kirkwood
    Beautiful picture of the Hoover Dam in my original "time zone", my home state of Arizona!! Congratulations to picking a winner.
    • Posted By kirkwood
    • October 01, 2012 at 4:21PM
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