HAMPI: The city of stone by Nogani Moore

The doors of our overnight bus open and we are flooded by a sea of tuk tuk drivers. Men with strange names like 'black widow' fight over us like fresh meat among a pack of vultures. It's 5am, I'm exhausted from staying awake all night & feel too disoriented to deal with this. Lucky I have Marley, she's ahead of Jake and I doing all the negotiations. She grabs me and leads me away before I get swallowed in the pit of bodies.

As we drive through a maze of palm trees, rice fields and Coca-Cola signs I tune in and out of listening to our driver, Shiva. His saying something about the type of tours he offers, there to places I've ever heard of nor care for. Right now I'm too fixated on feeling the wind hit my face, putting much needed life back into my body. 

In the distance I can see large alien like formations, I tune back in long enough to hear Shiva explain these are the mysterious balancing rocks Hampi is famous for. The sun is breaking over the horizon and spilling light over them, painting the stones in a warm ocean of hues. My eyes have locked onto the golden heat wave and I allow its hypnotic beauty to carry me away to a state of bliss. I already know that this memory will stick forever so I take a moment to savour it, I breath in natures perfection through all my senses. I get butterflies in the pit of my belly and immediately decide this place is special. 

By the time we find ourselves a place to rest it's around 7am and I can feel the heat slowly melting my excitement. By twelve, I'm completely depleted and decide the only way to stay cool is a mixture of drinking my body weight of icy water and cold showers. Neither of which help for very long. I start looking forward to nighttime, though it means being eaten alive by bugs its still favourable. 

After a few days of this I finally start to climatise and I'm able to revive the magic I felt apon arriving. This place has awoken something in me, I could be delusional from the heat but I feel the need to explore. We hire bikes and feel invincible as we ride through rocky deserts, finding fresh watering holes to swim in and small villages hidden away in shady valleys.

Each evening we find a new, even better, spot to smoke a little hash and watch the sun melt back under the horizon. Then spend our nights making friends to include in tomorrow's adventures. 

Eventually our body's fill with strength again and our creative juices start flowing. Over a few day period we can't contain our creative urges. I'm not sure what happened, but without speaking a word about it we start to make something we can keep forever. A collection of thoughts and ideas stream out of us. Our way to express all our feelings and show the magic of this place. The film evolves each day until we cant express any more, before we even know what we have done it's completed.

We finish filming and embrace each other, proud to have been able to share this experience with such beautiful souls. We decide on the name 'elemental'. High on life we spend our last night sitting high up on a temple, sipping beer, giggling uncontrollably and reflecting on the adventure we just shared and the magic that we captured.

Feeling a little buzzed the feeling hits me that this is exactly where I'm meant to be, with the people Im meant with. We made Elemental with love and for nothing else but love. Press play.

LOVE STORY, INDIA. Me, Myself & Everyone Else by Nogani Moore

Another morning and another fly lands on my face to let me know its time to get up. Not the nicest alarm to wake to but for the first time in my life I actually get up the first time it goes off. Marley says "They should be called ‘lands’; all they seem to do is land on our faces, always". As if we have a sign that say’s 'land here, we love it'. Reality is I don’t love it but have grown accustom to it, like many other things in India.

I’m now accustom to old ladies handling cow poo mid conversation, having some one watching over my shoulder every time I pull out my phone or the necessity of having 10 people to do one job. I have learnt to accept the craziness, I enjoy that I always have some thing interesting going on around me.

It’s great entertainment but nothing really surprises me here anymore. An afternoon of people watching consists of a guy with a cow that has a half developed leg growing out its back. He claims the cow to be god and seems to truly believe it. A dog that has his balls growing from his abdomen, that I wish I could unsee, and a bunch of man that are homophobic but stand for hours with there fingers interlaced and arms around each other, hands in each others pockets. The things that shocked me in my first few weeks have come apart of the norm. I’ve learnt that with a population of 1.3 billion anything goes and while it seems crazy and out of control, much of the chaos is organised.

The funny thing is that, in this world full of colour and wild antics, I'm apparently the crazy one. Every time I tell some one where I’m from the response is always the same. “Australian? You guys are crazy!” with an expression that suggests they must have seen Australians do some seriously crazy shit! No one seems to get our sarcasm, I’m often left laughing alone at my jokes, which normally makes me laugh even harder or repeating it as if they’ve just missed the punch line.

Some times these interactions lead nowhere but more often they lead too other interesting topics to connect through other then humour. I've shared and heard stories that have highlighted we are all the same. Regardless of culture, we all face the same problems, we all feel the same emotions and we all know pain & love.

It’s like I’ve been sent here to ignore all the backwardness. To find some patience so I can see the magic and feel the love that’s on offer. Time again and again India takes what I need to learn and throws it in my face. I feel I’m here to learn about love, in all forms. Through the madness and the noises, through all the doubt and fear, I’m slowly learning to feel the love around me.

I have a tattoo that’s now faded and shy with regret.
“love is all around you.
People are only human.”

I got it when I was 17, at that time I felt this was a good reminder I could carry with me forever. Over the years, the meaning faded and I find myself wincing with embarrassment when some one asks me what it says. I always respected why I got it and wanted to feel what I once did but the meaning was lost, until recently. Being able to connect with all these wonderful, interesting, imperfect people, seeing their just like me brought back meaning to the words that permeate my skin. 

Love is all around you; I feel connections with strangers and realise that love isn’t only at home, it’s everywhere. With the man from the jewelry store that happily offered me his chia, the stray on the street that almost did a back flip with joy at any human interaction and the French girl that invited me over to eat with her, all the love I need is around me.

People are only human; We are all crazy bundles of energy doing what we think is right, acting on impulses. Making mistakes and get hurt by others mistakes. We are only human and doing the best we can- so not to be so hard on others or ourselves.

I got this tattoo before life got too real, before it felt too heavy. All this times it’s been here and only now I can see the meaning again, almost 10 years on, it stands as a reminder of who I was and want to be.

Full of love for the moment, not always thinking about my past or my future. I found the greatest gift in myself but I have this place to thank for it. India you make me live in the present & have opened my eyes to what’s always been in front of me, you are my greatest love story.

 
 

Chapter one, Love stories. by Nogani Moore

INDIA

And my story begins,

Wrapped up in excitement, my belly full of knots. I let go of any expectations and booked it. Three months away from work, from home and another frosty Melbourne winter. I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing, but the universe seems to be telling me I am.

Everything feels like its falling into place, even the two days travel it took me to get to India were easy. I'm no Psychic but I can see the signs that are in front of me. The ones that are hidden in the details; like every time I reached the rotation belt after a flight my luggage would be sitting pretty or just when I think I'm lost, someone leads be to where I am supposed to be. Maybe its just luck, but from where I am standing its reinsurance that this is where I'm supposed to be. 

My new environment is vibrate, dull, rich, poor, cultured, futuristic, dated, It's everything I think it is and the opposite too. The diversity has sparked some thing in me and its obvious why the signs have lead me here. LOVE! 

Life was full in Melbourne, I found it hard to find my balance. I would often tell myself I wanted to work more creatively, to work for love, but my reality was that I was consumed by working for money. 

Like many other creatives, I’m most happy when I’m shooting for love. Also, like many other creatives, I forgot to make the time for the personal projects that I find so fulfilling. I was lacking the most important thing, balance. 

I remember now that I wanted to be a story teller, an author with out words, I hoped for my images to touch people. But as time passed, I put this part of myself in a smaller box to allow more room to make more money. Until one day I realised that the last time I shot for love was that of a distance memory, it hit me hard. 

How can I take photos every day & feel so distant?
I realised the need to reconnect, to regain the balance that I've lost. To find my love, bring it back, hold on to it tightly and ever loose it again. 

Suddenly I could see that if nothing changes then nothing changes, so now I’m in India. This is where I'll find some balance and my stories are those only of love. 

With that being said, welcome to my space, this is where I'll be sharing weekly & welcome you to join in my journey. Images of what I think make the world beautiful, stories of all the things that make me feel something.  

This space is where ‘My love stories’ begin…