John Lamkin Award-win­ning Jour­nal­ist and Pho­tog­ra­pher

Luxe Beat Magazine - - Contents - By Mar­a­lyn D. Hill

Alit­tle over ten years ago, I was for­tu­nate to meet award –win­ning jour­nal­ist and pho­tog­ra­pher John Lamkin. I clearly re­mem­ber how happy I was when he agreed to serve on the board of the In­ter­na­tional Food Wine & Travel Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, when I was pres­i­dent.

If you ask John how he started travel writ­ing, he will be the first to re­ply, “It was an es­cape from the drudgery of be­ing an aero­space en­gi­neer—dropped the engi­neer­ing, kept the writ­ing.” John went on to study at the San Francisco Art In­sti­tute and then dis­cov­ered the now fa­mous San Francisco Cam­er­a­work. John is quick to say you might find him horse­back rid­ing through the jun­gle to ex­plore an an­cient Maya ruin, or sit­ting on the bal­cony of a five-star plus re­sort, sip­ping an ex­otic drink, or in­ter­view­ing a fash­ion celebrity, or some­where in be­tween.

John is the Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor of FWT Mag­a­zine: food wine travel. He be­longs to sev­eral pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing the In­ter­na­tional Food Wine and Travel Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion where he serves as a Board Mem­ber and as Pub­li­ca­tions Chair.

His re­cent book (co-au­thored with Su­sanna Starr—text: Su­sanna, pho­to­graphs: John) about the Zapotec weavers of Mex­ico’s Oax­aca Val­ley is reap­ing crit­i­cal ac­claim. Su­sanna’s words and John’s pho­tos cap­ture the sense of life of the peo­ple. I asked John to share how Our In­ter­wo­ven Lives with the Zapotec Weavers: An Odyssey of the Heart evolved. Here it is: “We both lived in the same small town, Taos, but didn’t know each other. We met at Su­sanna’s small eco-re­sort, Ran­cho En­can­tado, in the southern Yu­catan Penin­sula of Mex­ico and this year we cel­e­brate our 18th an­niver­sary. I had started a small pub­lish­ing com­pany, mostly to serve as a con­sul­tant for peo­ple in­ter­ested in self-pub­lish­ing. When we met, Su­sanna was work­ing on her first book, Fifty and Be­yond: New Beginnings in Health and Well-be­ing, which we pub­lished to­gether. We trav­eled to­gether ex­ten­sively and ended up co-au­thor­ing the lat­est book, Our In­ter­wo­ven Lives with the Zapotec Weavers: An Odyssey of the Heart, Su­sanna did the writ­ing and I the pho­tog­ra­phy. I pub­lished the book through my com­pany, Paloma Blanca Press. We have very the same likes in travel and other things which makes us an ideal trav­el­ing/writ­ing team.”

John will go any­where for a story and be­lieves as Is­abelle Eber­hardt once said, “A no­mad I will re­main for life, in love with dis­tant and un­charted places.”

Mar­a­lyn D. Hill: John, how did you dis­cover your love for travel? John Lamkin: My love for trav­el­ing came early on, va­ca­tion­ing with my grand­par­ents and with my par­ents. The writ­ing came later.

MDH: Which are you more pas­sion­ate about, writ­ing or pho­tog­ra­phy? JL: I’m equally pas­sion­ate about my writ­ing and my pho­tog­ra­phy. I use them to sup­ple­ment each other. As far as en­joy­ing the process, the pho­tog­ra­phy comes first.

MDH: What is your writ­ing process? JL: I don’t have a set process. Un­for­tu­nately, like many other writ­ers, I wait un­til close to dead­lines to dive in.

MDH: When you have the op­por­tu­nity to pick your travel des­ti­na­tion, where do you go? JL: Prefer­ably, where I haven’t been be­fore and where there is a new cul­ture to ex­plore.

MDH: What mo­ti­vates you to be a lux­ury jour­nal­ist? JL: The life­style. Be­com­ing a lux­ury

writer was syn­chronic­ity. I had been writ­ing a lot about Mex­ico and when the ed­i­tor of a lux­ury mag­a­zine in Lon­don needed some­one to do a lux­ury piece in Can­cun, she picked me. It just took off from there.

MDH: What is it about the ex­pe­ri­ence of travel that you find so invit­ing? JL: My fa­vorite ex­pe­ri­ence in trav­el­ing has al­ways been find­ing some­thing new—a new cul­ture, lan­guage, cui­sine, and so on.

MDH: Do you have any hob­bies? JL:

My work is so sat­is­fy­ing that I don’t need hob­bies.

MDH: Where do you see the lux­ury mar­ket trend­ing? JL:

I see the trend go­ing to­ward more ex­pe­ri­en­tial, es­pe­cially in travel –lux­ury sa­faris, treks, ad­ven­ture, and the like. To me, this is a very agree­able trend.

MDH: If you were stranded on an is­land, name one per­son and three items you would bring? JL: My part­ner, pen and note­book, and Swiss army knife.

MDH: What are three ne­ces­si­ties you won’t travel with­out? JL:

Nexus 7 tablet, cam­era and good walk­ing shoes.

MDH: What does Luxe Beat Mag­a­zine mean to you? JL:

Luxe Beat Mag­a­zine is the per­fect venue for my lux­ury writ­ing and that of many oth­ers. The mag­a­zine has a very dy­namic pub­lisher and ed­i­to­rial staff which brings it along very rapidly to­wards be­ing one of the top mag­a­zines for dis­cern­ing lux­ury buffs.

It was a plea­sure to in­ter­view John and learn more about him. I’ve read many of his sto­ries and his lat­est book and at­test to his tal­ent. You can check out his web­site at

Trav­el­writin­gand­pho­tog­ra­phy. com john@ Trav­el­writin­gand­pho­tog­ra­phy. com.

and con­tact him at Thank you John for more insight into your sto­ries and you.

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