by John Randle
128 photographs taken during an overland journey to India in 1968 via Romania, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and Ceylon.
Once upon a time it was possible to drive from England to India, in the days when there was a Shah in Persia and a King in Afghanistan, and the Khyber Pass was still negotiable. A succession of Land Rovers, VW Campervans, and in one case a Mercedes bus still advertising its destination in Berlin, made the journey in the sixties and early seventies until revolutions and invasions put an end to such adventures. John Randle made the journey with two friends in a Land Rover over a period of six months in 1968/9, taking with him his newly acquired 35mm Canon SLR camera and returning with some three thousand images taken along the way.
On return he spent many hours in the darkroom enlarging a small selection of them onto 12 x 10 ins. Agfa Brovira paper (the same size that they are printed in this book) and for some forty years they accompanied the Randles, and the Whittington Press, from London to Andoversford to Marston, and were then stored away and largely forgotten.
Cartier-Bresson remarked that our final image is the printed one, and finally the economics and image quality of short-run digital reproduction made possible the publication of these 128 images, recording life as observed in Romania, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Ceylon and elsewhere. They freeze events at what Cartier-Bresson named The Decisive Moment, when subject and composition are in conjunction for a fleeting second, the negative is exposed, and the caravan moves on. Descriptive captions attempt to explain the context and whereabouts of each image, but in the main the images are left to speak for themselves.
275 copies, 12 ½ x 12 ½ ins., the images printed on Tintoretto paper, the text in 14-point Cochin on Hahnemuhle mould-made, as used here.
230 copies half-bound in buckram with paper sides decorated with a pochoir image by Peter Allen, coloured endpapers, in a slipcase. £235 (£195 before publication)
45 copies similarly bound in Oasis leather, and an accompanying portfolio of six original unused photographic prints, in a leather-backed solander box. £550 (£475 before publication)
Due for publication at the end of the year by The Whittington Press in an edition of 275 copies.