Art & Photography / In Pictures

A Beguiling Summer Travel Diary You Won't Want to Put Down

Beleaguered by harsh Berlin winters, Arturo Bamboo – partners in life and creativity – embarked on an intimate getaway scheme, camera in hand

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Photography by Arturo Bamboo

There is only one thing more draining than a rainy, non-existent summer: the constant ranting about it. Well, what else is there to do, critical voices respond. Quit your job, pack your bag and open up an ice-cream stall under the sun? Tempting... Or alternatively, you could get lost in this dreamy summer travel journal, newly self-published by Arturo Bamboo AKA Arthur Groeneveld and Bamboo van Kampen, partners in life and creative endeavours.

The Dutch duo both enjoyed simple childhoods by the sea, and although they’ve since settled in the urban landscape of Berlin, when it comes to summer holidays, they still favour the unostentatious pleasures of their formative years. The ingredients? Days spent under a hot sun, eating good food and conversing with strangers, and most importantly, indulging in the luxury of doing nothing at all.

It all started five years ago, when van Kampen found an old Olympus camera, which the young lovers took with them on their first holiday to Ibiza. The pair loved the results that the expired film roll, left forgotten in the analogue camera, yielded, and thereafter scoured eBay and local markets for vintage photo equipment with which to document their future travels. Various trips along the Mediterranean sea – “we have to remember how beautiful Europe is” – and countless rolls of film later, Groeneveld and van Kampen started pinning their snapshots next to their Berlin bed and a curating process began.

To date the self-taught photographers claim that they still “don’t have a clue how to edit or compose photos. We don’t carry any props around and there is no post-edit,” they explain. “The only thing we occasionally achieve is getting the horizon line straight!” But we beg to differ: their resulting photo-book boasts over a hundred pages of beguiling imagery, offering a masterclass in accomplished holiday snapshots. It also doubles up as a catalogue for the pair’s beachwear brand BAMBOO, comprising vintage swimwear pieces sourced on their adventures (the Red Cross in St. Tropez is a veritable treasure trove, they tell us) and timeless but affordable classics like their chic, oversized cotton beach bag – all of which are sold in shops across their favourite vacation destinations, as well as online.

Although their new publication might suggest that they’re currently lying on a sandy beach somewhere, Arturo Bamboo are already hard at work on their next project: an intimate black-and-white, magazine-style publication, featuring solely nudes. Meanwhile, we suggest swapping your computer screen for sun screen, and taking a langurous flick through their glorious journal, here accompanied by tales of their excursions. The perfect remedy for grey August days.

Formentera, 2015 [lead image]
“A quintessential summer shot, taken minutes after Bamboo freshened up from the beach under the outdoor shower at the ‘finca’ belonging to local artist Angelo. The light was so special, especially because it was the end of October.” 

Swimming Lovers, Hydra, 2016
“We found an expired black and white film in Berlin and wanted to save it for something special, so we took it together with our oldest Olympus to Hydra in Greece. Pictured is Bisti, one of our favorite local beaches that is only reachable by taxi boat from the harbour. During the heatwave, which occurred when we were there, all you could hear was crickets and the sound of the sea.”

Formentera, 2016
“We tried to create a photo book that serves not only as an escape for us, but also for the viewer. It should take your mind to a place which, although you haven’t physically been to, you can still feel, smell and be there in your mind. We tried to create that feeling through a collection of memories, whether documenting natural beauty or intimacy. This is a shot of Bamboo in an old dress of her mother’s.” 

Filicudi, 2016
“After travelling around the Aeolian Islands, we ended up on the very remote island of Filicudi: there was just one road, one horse and one other tourist. The picture was taken after a long lunch, playing around with an underwater camera.”

Miami, 2013
“This shot is taken at the Banana Bay Resort during a roadtrip from Miami to Key West: a cheesy, tropical hotel which had such a True Romance feel to it. When this photo was taken, we had just been together for a year.”

Formentera, 2015
“There is no bigger freedom than being naked outdoors in nature – this picture says it all: the beauty of simple things, showering outside, hearing the crickets and seeing the colours change. All these things form the perfect foundation for reconnecting with yourself.”

Visicari, 2016
“In Sicily we stayed at Gini’s house: a mountain-top artist’s getaway from the 1700s, with no attention to detail spared. Every single chair, desk and wall was hand painted with colourful Sicilian motifs and the outside area felt like a botanical garden with over 100 different plants.” 

Hydra, 2016
“Whenever we see this image we think of Leonard Cohen’s quote about his years in Hydra: ‘I remember Marianne and I were in a hotel in Piraeus, some inexpensive hotel and we were both about 25, and we had to catch the boat back to Hydra, and we got up and I guess we had a cup of coffee or something and got a taxi, and I’ve never forgotten this. Nothing happened, just sitting in the back of the taxi with Marianne, I lit a cigarette, a Greek cigarette that had that delicious deep flavour of a Greek cigarette, that has a lot of Turkish tobacco in it, and I’m thinking, I have a life of my own, I’m an adult, I’m with this beautiful woman, we have a little money in our pocket, we’re going back to Hydra, we’re passing these painted walls. That feeling I think I’ve tried to recreate it hundreds of times unsuccessfully. Just that feeling of being grown up, with somebody beautiful that you’re happy to be beside and all the world is in front of you.’” 

Agrigento, 2016
“Rural life is much slower and more social than city life; people take more time for simple pleasures such as eating, drinking or just conversing with a stranger. This picture was taken on a boiling hot day at Scala del Turchi, the white stone beach in Sicily.” 

Hydra, 2016
“No matter what is happening in the world, life under the sun is still about basic delights and that hasn’t changed much over the decades. Swimming, sex, coffee and a cigarette, and taking a nap – whenever you want.” 

Formentera, 2015
“To get to the best spots, you have to put in a little bit of effort: just choose one of the dirty roads and keep on driving. We were lucky enough to find one of our now-favourite chiringuitos (or beach bars) at the end of this one.” 

Hydra, 2016
“We went up by horse to Moni Agias Triadas, one of Hydra’s monasteries. We met the nuns, bought some sweets and gazed over the neighbouring abandoned monastery.” 

Arturo Bamboo’s Travel Diary is available now.

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