24 October 2015

Curing a mild case of city envy

If you switch back to the rear-facing camera, step backwards, a bit more, you might catch in the frame something as pretty, sprightly, and maybe wiser than you are — the city. Those skyscrapers you pass by every day, they have stood there long before you were born. They have learned to dance with earthquakes and confuse the winds.

“I feel it is important to document the best designs and architecture in each city because they can change its entire landscape,” said Herschel Supply co-founder Lyndon Cormack, who acted more like the avid traveler and photographer at heart that he is during the Herschel #CityLimitless campaign launch on Oct. 22 at A_Space, Makati. “Design is everywhere. City Limitless and photography allow us to capture special moments and the details that show the heartbeat of a city.”

The Instagram hashtag, which began making noise earlier this year, now has close to a hundred thousand posts. It’s a quick way to travel around the world, see the city through the eyes of someone like you — not a professional photographer or travel writer, but someone who’s simply curious. A fair warning, though. If you’re not careful, going through the stream can also stir a mild case of city envy.

We pressed Cormack to cite his favorite photos but he only shared a fascination with the amount of modern architecture as well as the extent people have gone through to get amazing shots, like climbing the top of the tallest buildings.

A photo posted by Lyndon Cormack (@lyndon) on

The entry above is by Cormack. It’s cool to find something you see — and ride — every day in the mix of all these photos around the world. And it’s charming how it stands out.

Cormack stayed for a short time in Manila, to him not enough to get to know the city. What stuck to his memory? The Manila American Cemetery and hand-painted typography. “It’s so easy today to take a font from the computer and print a sign. Everybody is lazy nowadays. I saw a little sign in the jeepney that just said ‘family use,’ but it’s hand-drawn. This is not normal, it’s very special,” he shared as if he had discovered a relic.

With his sense of wonder, we thought he would make a great travel companion. Not to those faraway cities featured in #CityLimitless, but here, in Manila. Much has been said about seeing the same things with fresh eyes, but maybe you do need another set of eyes to appreciate what you have. So an assignment: walk the city with someone, discover, document, and do it all over again. While at it, keep Cormack’s words in mind: “Cities are not just tourist destinations. They have secrets. Hidden gems.”

—Originally published on GIST

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