As you walked through the door at Grandpa’s house you’d literally be force-fed some sort of foreign delightyour mouth full of a curling, briny mess on top of a cracker. At first, your eight year-old senses would freak out at the molding cheeses, pâtéd meats or anchovies as big as whales but, as with any good journey, you’d be better for it by the end. Grandpa took us around the world from his linoleum kitchen. He had the adventure bug and he wanted us to catch the same. In his day, Grandpa had dodged terrorist attacks, dropped bombs on the Nazis and negotiated jewelry deals in foreign lands. He was Captain Bligh, Christopher Columbus and Robinson Crusoe all in one. At the time, I had no idea.

Many years later, while cleaning out Grandpa’s house we discovered the first clues. Grandpa had recently been moved into a nursing home. Hiding in the back of a cupboard was a box of slides. They were Grandpa’s untold adventures. Beautiful photos that resembled Europe, Asia, America but the exact locations were all foreign to us in Australia. The composition, exposure, and craft of each photo was perfect. Grandpa had a passion, an eye for photography but never said a word about it. The photos made me realize that I knew very little about Grandpa. We’d spent all our time together talking about the Grandson and not the Grandpa. Now, he was stuck in a nursing home, deflated. ‘Captain Bligh’ marooned in a bed, focused on catheter bags and test results. The photos would be a perfect way to get him talking about something more than what was wrong with his failing body and back to talking about foreign adventures.

Propped up in the nursing home bed, I showed Grandpa the photos. I had a thousand questions.

“Where is this?”
“Where did you go?”
“What happened?”
“Grandpa, these photos are amazing, do you know you’re a great photographer?”

There weren’t any answers. He couldn’t quite remember much about them and he wasn’t interested in being called a brilliant photographer. Humility was far more important to him.

On the long trip home, a new plan was devised to convince Grandpa he was a genius. The idea for was born. A website of Grandpa’s best photos, asking everyone if they might know where Grandpa took each photo. Maybe, if we could tell him where he took a photo it might jog his memory? Then the Grandpa stories would flow, he’d forget the catheter bags and yet again, take us all on a journey.

This website needed to happen, fast.

But, before any website was made and Grandpa convinced that he was a brilliant photographer, the worst happened. My wonderful Grandpa, Stephen Clarke, passed away. Captain Bligh, James Cook and Grandpa were gone.

To put his photos back in the cupboard and not talk about his adventures, not talk about him, to let him die, felt like the wrong thing to do.

Grandpa grief was channeled into a website.

His stunning photos were finally out in the world.

(Photos above by Stephen Clarke)

The response was overwhelming. People from around the globe admired Grandpa’s photos in the hundreds of thousands. Of these, thousands reached out with clues and Grandpa praise. The emails were so kind, so thoughtful, so helpful. The website has 50 of Grandpa’s best photos, in one week 45 were found. If you’ve seen them you’ll know that’s no easy task. The internet had been activated and there was no off button.

With the locations of almost all of the photos identified it was too tempting not to go on a Grandpa style adventure, to stand where Grandpa stood and retake his photos. ‘The Trip’ on the website is the journey to find all the photos. In a few short months, 48 of the photos were found. Grandpa’s original beauties next to the new versions of what each location looks like today. It was such an amazing way to travel. A mini, Grandpa-style treasure hunt, guided by people from around the world. If you get a chance to travel with a purpose like this, do it. Drop everything and go, right now.

Grandpa went to many of the tourist landmarks and places in guidebooks but the photos created an original map and a story to tell locals along the way. People were always so eager to help once they heard about Grandpa. Traveling has always been a marvel but if you can add this sort of layer, the experiences and learnings are tenfold.

It was like Grandpa was there with me pointing at things I’d normally miss and encouraging me to make friends with strangers. They always have the best local knowledge. By talking about him constantly and imagining him, charming his way through Venice, New York, Zurich, Hong Kong and so many other cities, was in a weird way, keeping him ‘alive’. People shared stories about their Grandpas, their Grandmas and Great Uncles. His adventures and skills as a photographer were helping to reawaken more people. It seemed that the photos were doing exactly what Grandpa wantedwhat he did by forcing hairy, foreign anchovies into our mouths all those years agoto experience everything, to go for an adventure, to live.

He would have been so chuffed if he knew. He’d be up, on top of that bed in the nursing home, swinging the catheter bag above his head. The Grandpa stories would flow and we’d all be better for it.

Please take a look at the website, please keep sending emails about the photos and please, call your Grandpa.

(Photos above by Stephen Clarke)





在漫長的回家路程中,一個新的計劃在孕育之中,為了讓爺爺相信他是一個天才, 的概念誕生了。它是用來展示爺爺拍得最好的照片,同時向大家詢問是否知道每一張照片的所在地。或許通過告訴他每一張照片的拍攝地能夠喚起他的記憶?這樣爺爺的故事就能流動起來,他將忘記那些醫用導管包,再一次帶領我們踏上旅程。


可是,就在網站還沒做出來,爺爺還沒被說服相信他是一個出色的攝影師之前,最壞的事情發生了。我的好爺爺,Stephen Clarke,過世了。像布利船長和詹姆斯·庫克(英國航海家、探測家)的爺爺離開了我們。



(Photos above by David Tomkins)


隨著大部分照片的地址被指認出來,來一場像爺爺一樣的探險:站在他曾到過的地方,以他的角度再重新拍一張照片就變得非常誘人。網站上的 “The Trip” 一欄就是一場尋找所有照片所在地的旅程。在接下來短短的數月,48張照片的拍攝地被找到。爺爺的原照旁邊是新版照片,展示著同一個地方在今天的樣子。這樣的旅行方式太妙了。它就是一場迷你版爺爺式尋寶,由全世界的人指引。如果你有機會以這樣的目的去旅行,那麽就去吧。放下一切,現在就出發。

(Photos above by David Tomkins)





David Tomkins is the Grandson of the photographer, Stephen Clarke. Dave grew up in Australia and is currently working on ways to keep talking about Grandpa and his beautiful photos from New York. When he’s not talking about Grandpa he works as an Art Director, usually in advertising. All of the photos, including the new versions and missing photos, can be seen at New clues, questions, and general Grandpa appreciation is welcome at .

David Tomkins 是摄影师 Stephen Clarke 的孙子。他在澳大利亚长大,目前在纽约工作,工作内容是关于讲述爷爷和他的照片;除此他还任职广告公司的艺术指导。所有的照片,包含新版的以及仍然找不到地址的都可以在 看到。如果你有新的线索、问题、或对爷爷的评价,欢迎邮件至 。