Yorkshire-based photographer James Parker and two other friends embarked on the adventurous road trip you’ve always wanted to do.
Riding in a 1972 Morris Minor from Edinburgh, driving it 10,000 miles and over 19 countries armed with nothing but an open mind and 40 rolls of film, 25-year-old Parker was determined to find adventure away from the daily routine of life: “I wanted an adventure: to meet new people and experience new cultures,” Parker explains to Huck Magazine.
“This was the first time I had been ‘travelling’ – if you can call it that – and it turns out that it’s certainly more challenging than relaxing. Driving 10 hours a day for that long really affects you.”
The trip starts out in Edinburgh, Scotland, before hitting the road for the next 53 days in order to reach the outer skirts of Russia and into Mongolia.
Having studied photography at Edinburgh Napier and Ryerson University in Toronto, Parker planned the trip with his friends for a project he entitled Boys, Bikes and Bucket Hats. Across the journey, the photographer found patterns emerging in different areas of the world. Between Romania and Mongolia especially, Parker found varying displays of masculinity, which influence the title of his project.
“Over time I realised that I was focusing on situations that I recognised myself in,” he says. “The project has this air of growing up, boyhood, vulnerability and finding your way.
“The lowest points came when we struggled to find food and fuel; police would constantly stop us. Our lowest bribe was a couple of smokes and a handshake. It wasn’t easy and we had a few arguments and break downs along the way, but never a punctured tyre.”
“I had questioned if gender assumptions and behaviours changed from the West to East before the journey,” he says.
“But from those I met I recognised common themes and feelings: to love, to share and help others, which we rarely get to see [in the West].
“Obviously men don’t have to drive, lift, herd, secure, plant and build… but those I met chose to and that’s okay too.”